press release

The exhibition presents the Norwegian artist and writer Matias Faldbakken (b. 1973). It will be the first museum presentation of Faldbakken's work and the largest to date. Strong emphasis will be put on new works specifically made/created for this exhibition but they will also be set in dialogue with major works from the last five years.

Faldbakken has a strong presence among the young, emerging artists of the 2000's, both in Norway and internationally. He is arguably one of the most interesting, talked about and discussed artists of his generation in Norway. He graduated from Bergen National Academy of the Arts in 1998. His education includes one year at Staatliche Hoch­schule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt. Since then he has had several solo exhibitions, among others at Fotogalleriet (Oslo, 2003), STANDARD (OSLO) (Oslo, 2005, 2007), Simon Lee Gallery (London, 2008), Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch (Berlin, 2008) and Reena Spaulings Fine Art (New York, 2009). He has participated in biennials and group shows like The Sydney Biennial (2004), The Venice Biennial (2005), "Populism" Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2005, a.o.), "Down by Law", Whitney Biennial 2006 / The Wrong Gallery (New York 2006) and "Possibilities of an Island", MoCA Miami (Florida, 2008).

Post-medium artist
Faldbakken has been described as a "post-medium" artist, working in a wide range of mediums and strategies. His works show a strong preoccupation with the historical avant-garde and movements such as Dada and Surrealism, as well as the Situationist and the 'anti-visual' field of conceptual art of the 1960's. Thus, he has often been described as part of a broader neo-conceptual field.

Counter-cultural phenomena 
The current decade has given prominence to a number of young artists whose works have been closely associated with counter-cultural phenomena - positions and strategies formulated in opposition to society's norms and conventions. These include politically rebellious activities, more or less banned underground cultures, or - the historical avant-garde. With a mixture of fascination and mourning, these artists have addressed the way these oppositional and corrective positions have over the years become part of the established culture industry. Faldbakken's creative activities can be categorized within this field. Since the beginning of the decade he has been making a name for himself in the field of contemporary art with works that frequently display a radically reduced negational aesthetic. "No" is a word that does not seem out of place in this context.

In connection with the exhibition, a book will be published by IKON, containing essays by Peter Osborne (Professor at Middelsex University, UK), Jennifer Allen (independent art critic), Andrea Kroksnes (Senior Curator, NM) and Øystein Ustvedt (Curator, NM).

The project is a collaboration between The National Museum and IKON Gallery in Birmingham where it will be on view late autumn 2009.

Curators: Helen Legg / Øystein Ustvedt

Matias Faldbakken. Shocked into Abstraction. Selected Works 2005-2009
Kuratoren: Helen Legg, Oystein Ustvedt
The Museum of Contemporary Art