Sofie Bird Møller 2014

Sofie Bird Møller
22 May - 28 June 2014

The use of the body as a paintbrush has been known throughout the history of art – especially as practiced by the French artist Yves Klein, who throughout the 1960s held performances where he painted women in his well known ‘Klein Blue’ shade and rolled them around on a canvas which was spread out on the floor – but at a distance from the canvas, as his own body was not used. Sofie Bird Møller is far more physical, more present, and seduces the viewer in her new dark paintings that consist of innumerable layers of thick paint. The most important thing in Bird Møller’s works is that the body and the expression are the artist’s own – she deliberately uses her own body as a paintbrush and occupies the canvas in a performance. Smeared in thick paint she twists, turns and presses her body against the restricted space constituted by the two-dimen¬sional surface of the canvas. It is all about having too little room and limiting oneself. The works are less tall but on the other hand far wider than the artist herself. They appear darker, more sombre, and the imprint of the body stands alone, more exposed and revealing against the dark background than has been seen before. In the earlier works from the series INTERACTION posters from public space form the background for Bird Møller’s modifications, so that the logos and posing models are wholly or partially concealed by the imprint of the body.

But in general the works are about an urge to cover something over, hide away and expose something else. After a month drying, the dark paintings have been painted over with black alkyd paint mixed with a transparent varnish. Then, with great energy and a dry brush, the artist has scraped part of the painting free.

The paintings involve a wide spectrum of mental states – sombre, dark, mysterious sides are juxtaposed with huge energy and positivity. The female body almost dances on the paper, which is surrounded by steel frames hand¬made by the artist.

Strategy and tactics are absolutely crucial features of politics and chess. 30 political collages form a huge chessboard on one wall of the gallery. 25 collages of found pictures with direct political references to events of the past year involving people struggling for their rights are mounted on either dark or very light textiles. Above, the oversized hands of various politicians are pasted. Hands and recognizable gestures tone down or partially conceal the subject of the picture as a symbol of how the politicians always have the final say. The extra five collages are interference images in the great chess game.

Sofie Bird Møller (b. 1974) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. In 1999 she began her training at the Akademie der Bildende Künste in Munich, took an exchange period at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and finished with a master’s degree in Fine Art at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London in 2007. This is her second solo exhibition at the Martin Asbæk Gallery. The artist has a number of solo and group exhibitions behind her in Germany, France, Denmark and the USA. In February 2015 the Esbjerg Museum of Art will be the setting for her next solo exhibition.