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Morten Straede's "Among the blacks & Tree of smoke/Aleppo" on view at Galleri Lars Olsen
Among the blacks # 6, 2009-2010. Ink on paper, 60 cm x 42 cm, framed.
COPENHAGEN.- In 1935 the French surrealist writer Raymond Roussel wrote a short story titled Parmi les Noirs (Among the Blacks). It is a strange and cryptic text constructed as chinese boxes with reminiscenses of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. The text quickly changes track and becomes a tight weave of text and image descriptions.

The radically open and uncontrollable quality is that the text never concludes or reaches a climax. There is no plot, but an ingenious spiral motion which maintains a very clear space.

In two places in the short text 25 drawings are described. The picture descriptions are very schematic and show only a framework for the visual content of the drawing. The duality of strict management of the content of each drawing, and total freedom when it comes to performing the drawing, along with the spiral motion of the text from a pooltable to the darkness of Africa and back to the pooltable contains a lot of humor, ferocity and texture that made me want to perform the 25 drawings after Roussel’s descriptions.

There is a name coincidence between the writer Raymond Roussel and the american artist Raymond Pettibon. Pettibon is one of the best draughtsmen at the moment, a master of what I might call “Unplugged drawing” - drawing directly with brush and ink without using techniques such as computers or projectors. His work is another inspiration for the 25 drawings. Pettibon’s imaginative and quirky narrative drawings, like Roussel’s novel, never conclude but give glimpses into some very wild spaces.

Therefore the series is dedicated to the two Raymonds: Roussel and Pettibon.

MS september 2012

Tree of Smoke / Aleppo

"Tree of Smoke / Aleppo" is a series of 12 drawings made in November 2012 in Indian ink and inkjet printing in the format 50 x 65 cm.

The starting point of the series is the large amount of media images that describe the conflict in Syria. It is especially pictures and footage from the bombing of Aleppo, which has given impetus to the series.

I have tried to follow the pace of the film clips on TV by drawing the explosions directly from the TV screen. The speed and the enormous brutality in the images is hard to look at, and the drawings try to ”freeze” just a small part of it.

Following the quick, direct work with the Indian ink, the drawings have been added another layer of processed photographic images, printed on the original ink drawing.

The series name "Tree of Smoke" is taken from the title of a novel by the American writer Denis Johnson, who deals with another major conflict, namely the Vietnam War. The title gives hopefully an entrance to the attitude behind the drawings, and is also a description of a grenade strike's visual character.

MS November 2012



Last Week News

December 31, 2012

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Getty Museum initiative to examine Los Angeles' modern architectural heritage from April through July 2013

Tate announces "Charming for the Revolution: A Congress for Gender Talents and Wildness"

"The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951" on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

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First solo show at Galerie Gabriel Rolt by Israeli/American artist Abner Preis opens

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Exhibition of work by contemporary silversmiths on view at the Design Museum in Ghent

Iraqi citizens get glimpse of golden era in new exhibition at the Iraqi National Assembly

Liberal arts colleges forced to evolve with market shedding their liberal arts identity

Gory artist bleeds painting at Meller Merceux Gallery

Camilo Ontiveros: In the ring on view at the Museum of Latin American Art

The Global Film Initiative announces Global Lens 2013 lineup

Seminal fiber artist Ted Hallman creates one-of-a-kind installation at the Michener Art Museum

TABOO: A multi-faceted program opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

December 30, 2012

Mexican archaeologists find 60 arrows estimated to be more than 4,000 years old in Sinaloa

"Uruk: 5000 Years of the Megacity" set to open in 2013 at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin

The Andy Warhol Museum launches first limited edition of rare and historic images

Watch Nights mark Emancipation Proclamation 150th at the National Archives with a midnight display

Digital Public Library of America and Europeana launch joint migration exhibition

National Museum for Women in the Arts presents Fabulous! Portraits by Michele Mattei

Don't Smile: Exhibition on the humour of art on view at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein

Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong announces an exhibition of paintings by Bernard Frize

Cash troubles threaten 'Gladiator' tomb in Rome despite a plea from Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe

Museum of Arts and Design presents first museum exhibition exploring the design of perfume

New work by artist Paul Cowan on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Second annual Palm Springs Fine Art Fair unites 50 plus galleries and art enthusiasts

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After a century, US Arabs look for pieces of past

U.Va.'s Old Cabell Hall mural expands to encompass a lifetime of learning

Al Hoash announces third release in its series of publications on Palestinian art

Ketterer Kunst's top results of 2007, 2010 and 2011 excelled; Best annual balance for 2012

December 29, 2012

The New Orleans Museum Art explores the boundaries between the real and fabricated

National Gallery announces first major monographic exhibition, dedicated to the art of Federico Barocci

FBI removes many redactions in Marilyn Monroe file recently obtained by The Associated Press

Exhibition focuses on the self-portrait as a genre throughout the 20th and into the 21st century

Mexican historian and educator Artemio Benavides Hinojosa dies at the age of 79

Praying Hitler by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan in ex-Warsaw ghetto sparks emotion

Spink to offer fine and rare stamps and covers of China and Hong Kong in January sale

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Artistic positions from five decades of photogaphy on view at Fotomuseum Winterthur

Pakistan's Rohtas Gallery for 30 years has defied dictatorships and fundamentalists

Paintings at the National College of Arts in the eastern city of Lahore outrage Islamic hard-liners in Pakistan

Art Rotterdam announces gallery selection 2013, all Dutch top galleries are present

Hundreds of interactive paper boats by Aether & Hemera sail into Canary Wharf

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Luciano Rigolini's "Concept Car" on view at Musée de l'Elysée

Sweater knit by Myanmar's Suu Kyi sells for $49K

Steven Holl Architects' Daeyang Gallery and House wins 2012 Annual Design Review Award

National Gallery of Canada seeks nationwide participation in creating artwork

December 28, 2012

Archaeologists discover objects, more than 700 years old, at Nevado de Toluca in Mexico

Royal Collection of Graphic Art invites visitors to journey into the realms of detail

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New Aboriginal art movement showcased at National Museum of Australia

Denver Art Museum to inaugurate textile galleries with campus wide exhibition

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December 27, 2012

Israeli dig uncovers ancient Judaean temple dated to the early monarchic period

After a successful year, Bonhams ends 2012 with over 30 new world auction records

New display of American art at Detroit Institute of Arts commemorates the Civil War

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John Van Doren and Dorsey Waxter announced the opening of a new gallery in New York

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December 26, 2012

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Guggenheim Museum in New York presents exhibition featuring recent acquisitions

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Manchester Art Gallery presenting major exhibition of works by artists who work with paper in revolutionary ways

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