Jakob Kolding / Dress Rehearsals

May 20 – Jul 15, 2017

The works in Jakob Kolding’s (b. 1971, Denmark) new exhibition revolve around a variety of approaches to the construction and performance of identities through a complex pattern of overlapping social, political, historical and psychological spaces.


A series of new sculptural works – in the shape of cut-out life-sized figures – operate both as individual works and as a collective group, interacting with each other, with other works in the show and the space itself as well as with the visitors to the exhibition. Together they form a specific type of scenario that is located somewhere between scenography and choreography. Seen from one side these figures create a momentarily realistic illusion, while from the other – once their wooden back and construction is purposely revealed – they are clearly props. The creation of an imperfect illusion is a leading concept in Kolding’s work, and plays a main role in this exhibition (also insinuated in the show’s title). Contrary to the idea of an artwork being a finished whole in itself, this installation is focused on the notion that any representation, image or space, is manifested and completed solely by the participation of a viewer.


A new element in Kolding’s practice introduced in this exhibition is the use of real clothing and textiles applied to the cut-out wood figures, adding an additional layer, both physical and symbolic, to the question of representation. The figures are in a sense simultaneously “real” and “signs” and the addition of clothing is further blurring this in between position. Kolding’s use of a greyscale palette for the figures, is another factor in the construction of an imperfect illusion, a choice that makes them look almost real, but still as clear representations. However an element of colour has started to seep in along with the clothing, suggesting perhaps a dream of the signs to be real.


Along with the sculptural works two large scale prints and a series of new collages further explores the opening up of new possible spaces, a variety of stages for a continuing line of dress rehearsals rather than the showing a desire for a finished performance.


Jakob Kolding has throughout his practice worked with an increasingly expanded notion of collage in which he samples and mixes the visual idioms of art, architecture, literature, theatre, and music. Since the late nineties, Kolding has been creating a vocabulary in which elements are being re-used and re-contextualized across a variety of different works. Kolding lives and works in Berlin, and has previously presented his works throughout many international venues including Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany, Centre d’Edition Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Team Gallery, New York and Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna. He is currently working on his first opera stage design, to be premiered as part of Bregenzer Festspiele in Bregenz, Austria this summer.


Noa Reshef