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Exhibitions   /   Jacob Stangerup

Contes à un papillon mouillé – Tales for a wet butterfly

Jacob Stangerup

22nd October – 20th November 2010

A different, sometimes surrealistic love story is played out in the solo exhibition Contes à un papillon mouillé – Tales for a wet butterfly, with the most recent works of the artist Jacob Stangerup (b. 1971). Stangerup’s diaries have functioned as catalysts for the exhibition, and several small French poems and quotations are written directly on the drawings to achieve a poetic aspect and a deeper understanding of their surrealistic character.

The works revolve around an earlier love affair. The woman’s identity is kept anonymous, revealed only by her six initials, S.J.B.AA.L., a phonetic reading of which produces the sentence Gibet ou elle – a gallows or her. A play on words that has become a long poem and was later transformed into a series of works.

The woman in the works changes character as the exhibition unfolds its wings. From innocent expression to femme fatale who seduces men with her irresistibility. Especially in the triptych Trou de plaisir the woman appears as the erotic object of a man’s fantasy.

The viewer is at first presented with a work in a photorealistic idiom, painted with charcoal, where a woman with an innocent, melancholy gaze pulls up her blouse and exposes her naked, marble-like bosom. Like a newly-hatched butterfly that has just left its cocoon, she stands there expecting the further course of events. Already in the next work you sense a transformation from something concrete into a dreaming memory of a women.

A recurrent feature of Stangerup’s works is the way they are built up in several layers where the background consists of a fine, delicate line that is broken by a spontaneous, powerful, black line that almost destroys or cracks the extremely controlled motif, so that the memories are reduced to a gleam behind a broken glass. This change is seen in particular in the two large-format charcoal drawings of 190 x 120 cm.

Jacob Stangerup lives and works in Copenhagen. He has earlier exhibited at among other places Martin Asbæk Gallery (2008) and Sophienholm (2005). In 1996-2000 he was an ‘apprentice’ of the sculptor Jørgen Haugen Sørensen in Pietrasanta, Italy. Nevertheless it is media such as minutely detailed pen and charcoal drawings and photogravure that are typical of his career and the exhibition in Martin Asbæk Gallery.