MIKE OKAY & MARTIN PAASKESEN
From 21st October until 20th November 2021
The exhibition Fluffy Bananas explores sentiments of pleasure, consumerism and repetition. With a certain sense of humor, the artists thematize consumerism by depicting sex toys and other consumer goods such as bananas, plush animals, sale signs, but also bones and skulls. In both Mike Okay (*1980, Germany) and Martin Paaskesen’s (*1987, Denmark) works there’s an interplay between soft and hard surfaces, portraying things and objects that are symbolic for pleasure, but also greed. Stylistically, abstraction and figuration merge in the works of both artists.
Martin PAASKESEN (*1987, Denmark) thematises the stream of consciousness around consumerism, a desired perfection and sexuality - the drive inherent in human beings, in latest series of works. In terms of consumerism, we often think we need something we don't actually need - it's an illusion, driven by the masses. Martin's work is about the fact that we humans are standing in the shadow of ourselves, we think we know ourselves, we know what we need, but this illusion blinds us. The image we project to the outside world is often disappointing. We disappear in the crowd, just like the objects and things we desire. By serially depicting consumer items like bananas and vibrators, he addresses exactly this, the serial reproduction that questions the uniqueness of an object and its consumer. Everything goes fast, is useable and replaceable. The motifs he depicts are a result of our times.
Martin’s approach towards painting oscillates between abstraction and figuration. He captivates the viewer with his unpretentious and naive painting style and always invites him/her to imagine a narrative. Martin Paaskesen focuses on concretising a motif with a minimalist approach.
Mike OKAY (*1980, Halle - Germany) is well known for portraying his childhood toys. In his new series, he elevates the toy from mere motif to artistic tool. Figurative boundaries are disrupted, reinterpreted and negotiated into a new unity of abstraction and interference.
Anyone who lived in the GDR knows the cuddly plush toys with ears, rubber faces and trousers well. While the grinning teddy bears were part of the inventory in numerous East German children's rooms, they are rarely found today - Mike Okay takes them as an inspiration for his latest series of works.
The artist captures the recurring moment in the serial repetition and in the grouping of the motif. Flickering contrasts dominate the canvases: sharp edges and soft contours, sweet candy colours and rough airbrush lines. The schematically abstracted silhouettes merge with the background. The familiar figure of the plush remains only as a fragment of a memory. Only the schematic face stencil remains clearly recognisable and refers to the associated & missing body parts. What remains is the friendly blink of an old acquaintance in a seemingly foreign world.
Text by Lou Philipps
& Katharina Lorenz