Liv Ertzeid - The 2019 Garden Exhibition
22.11.19 - 15.12.19
We must cultivate our gardens, says Voltaire's protagonist in Candide ou l'Optimisme.
In stark contrast to Candide's genteel upbringing and sheltered existence, he has discovered
that the world is difficult, dramatic, and indeed dangerous. His optimism, typical of the
privileged, is challenged when he's confronted with the actual world.
Candide, a man of «the most unaffected simplicity», chooses to pull away from discourse
and into a less challenging sphere, one simple self-development, minding his own business,
becoming self-sufficient, and focusing on the epitome of domestic happiness: The garden.
Although Liv Karin Ertzeids 2019 Garden Exhibition at Destiny's is not a satire, it is a
display of an impish artist's take on a cultivation and of confines. At first glance,
the paintings are discrete, distinct from one another, grappling with art historical referencing
and the pleasures of composition. While that's all valid, a second, overarching project
becomes discernable the longer one looks.
In a somehwat odd painting of a moth, I'm reminded not so much of nature, as the millions
and millions of macro-lens photographs that are taken by eager hobbyists, forever focused
on the littlest of details; the pistons of a poppy on vacation, a budding Falstaff rose about to
burst into bloom, or a satiated bumblebee, covered in pollen. The painting to its right looks
like carps writhing in a pond from a distance, a decorative, dizzying design running over the
raw canvas in cursory brushstrokes. Liv Karins references are not only to contemporary or
historical painting, but appropriates tricks from an array of sources. The artist embraces
forms traditionally coded as domestic, feminine or ornamental, and therefore inferior to
Liv Karin's paintings are demonstrably not, sedentary, settled, subdued or submissive.
They're quite unapologetically loud, each of them. Presented together, formally disparate
and stylistically disloyal, they appear almost defiant, with palpable humour. There are a few
adventures to be had, a few discourses to take part in, even in the confines of fenced off
gardens, I'm sure.