Possessed of a balance of architectural, historical and literary substance, Olve Sande’s works are striking for the peculiar resonance they evoke. Using the materials of ordinary building construction, he interferes with surface structure or rearranges parts, assigning to them an entirely new purpose, generating a form impregnated with autonomously applied reference. Thus charged with meaning his works are at once recognisable and unconventionally contrived.
The Fire Sermon I-III is a set of drawings extracted from the annotations and marks made by Ezra Pound in the draft for the modernist poem The Waste Land. By removing the underlaying text, these marks are rendered as abstract expressionistic drawings without any apparent motivation. – As every mark on the paper embodies a part of the original manuscript that was edited out or changed, these drawings are tempered and structured by the editors response to a text that these very same lines has made inaccessible to the viewer.
This work originated as the byproduct or refuse of the production of another piece. Used as an underlay for painting a sculpture not available to the viewer, it is at once a painting and something more, its imprints and outlines insisting on the existence of an object beyond the scope of the medium. As such, the paper becomes a surface onto which the viewer projects his or her notions of the absent object. Still, its value as an art-object in its own right is clearly asserted in its presentation. Though unpremeditated, the composition is striking, drawing energy from the tension between its fortuitous smears and drippings, and the diagrammatic, blue-print like outlines of the unknown sculpture. Lacking both the intentionality and the materiality of sculpture, No Better Cure Than Business is a vivid demonstration of the unilateral transformative power of the gaze in defining art. The title is a wry nod to the power of the art market and of artistic consumption to assign worth. What then is the value of labor or intent? Though the piece might be taken as an ironic illustration of the random nature of what we call art, or even a paean to unproductiveness and chance, it is also evidence of labor, a schema for the process of developing a vision. Indeed in some senses it is the embodiment of the artist’s labor, an unedited record of his motions.
Even a Velvet Rope Can Leave Its Rope Burns explores the relationship between artistic signification and the viewer’s capacity for individual reflection. The title alludes to the notion that the seemingly sterile appearances of modernist art and architecture can be an expression of something genuine and troubling. The minimalist construction, absent of color, is at once demanding and freeing. Taking the architectural form of a corner window, its traditional function as a transparent barrier is transmuted into a broader framework for the understanding of artistic encounters, which viewers must themselves complete with personal meaning. The window becomes an object which itself can be employed as a surface onto which the observer’s reflections are projected. This new unadorned structure is stripped of such concepts as ‘interior’ or ‘exterior,’ requiring a reinvention of even the most basic points of reference. As much as the piece has the shape of a corner window, it also has the form of an open book and points to the ways in which interpreting any work of art involves confronting a barrier and moving beyond it. Indeed, the barrier is the condition for reaching new ways of seeing and thinking.
A circular cut is made in a plasterboard panel containing a black circle, thereby separating the circular element from the rectangular format of the panel. Rather than being removed, the disc is rotated on its own axis. In order to fit into the frame, the edge of the plasterboard is trimmed away such that the circle becomes locked into position, preventing any further movement. The final composition is thus defined. Whereas the work can be formally linked to constructivism and to Gordon Matta-Clark’s architectural interventions, the title connects it to TS Eliot and his critique of modernity in the poem The Waste Land.
In the 1920s the Russian suprematist El Lissitzky developed a series of abstract, geometric paintings that he referred to as Prounen. The exact meaning of ‘Proun’ was never fully revealed, but at some point he ambiguously defined it as being “the station where one changes from painting to architecture”.
This sculpture, or three-dimensional work, as Donald Judd may have called it, is based on a found object; an unknown recipient’s name and a warning as to the fragility of the contents on the backside of the work, points to the panel´s previous use as an art crate.
Where El Lissitzky’s Prounen move from painting to architecture, the appropriation and subsequent inversion of the qualities of these found objects, cause it to oscillate from architecture to art, from sculpture to painting, and back again. It evokes at the same time the artisan’s pragmatic carpentry skills and the abstract expressionist’s sensitive use of surfaces, but is, in fact, neither of these.