Beginning with taped and graphite letters, Faldbakken’s approach to line gradually become finer until, at the end of the five year period the exhibition surveys, his mark-making dissolves into spare, hyper-minimal lines.
Norway’s most critically acclaimed visual artist and writer, Matias Faldbakken forges unlikely alliances be- tween conceptual usages of language and the more vernacular gestures of vandalism and appropriation. His practice conflates language and opticality and, as the artist himself notes, it’s often difficult to discern whether an idea derives from “a verbal or a visual spark.” Created on unprimed Belgian linen, the works on view possess both a fragile beauty and an aggressive minimal edge. In some of the earliest works in the exhibition, layers of black taped letters form abstract accumulations of language whose recalcitrant illegibility thwarts a visual approach that is otherwise straight forward, declarative even. For Faldbakken, the process of creation is inextricably linked with the force of destruction. An urge to efface, destroy, and vandalize objects or language runs throughout his myriad creative practices—and it is through the imprint of this destruction, an inability to be used or read, that imbues his work with an enigmatic, poetic appeal.