Simon Dybbroe Moller: Kunstmuseum Thun

By Scharrer, Eva | Artforum International, November 2007 | Go to article overview

Simon Dybbroe Moller: Kunstmuseum Thun


Scharrer, Eva, Artforum International


An ill-fated attempt to fold a paper crane from memory gave the title to Simon Dybbroe Moller's most comprehensive museum show thus far, "Like Origami Gone Wrong." The exhibition was curated by Madeleine Schiippli, director of the Kunstmuseum Thun, and organized in collaboration with the Aarhus Kunsbygning in Denmark, where it was first shown. Dybbroe Moller cast his failed effort in steel--State of mind (A permanent sculpture), 2006--and installed it in the garden outside the Kunstmuseum. Although the abstract geometrical form might not closely resemble a crane, it does look very much like a modern sculpture. Only visible through a window blurred by artificial rain, the work forced a melancholic view on a failed utopian dream.

Folding/unfolding and constructing/deconstructing are recurrent motifs in Dybbroe Moller's practice, combined with a playful approach toward canonical movements of the past--Constructivism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Minimal and Conceptual art--and the incorporation of failure into the creative process. For the series "Unfold your dreams," 2004, origami figures made from photographic paper were exposed and the unfolded sheets developed. While the results resembled Constructivist compositions, the method of direct exposure without a lens recalls the "Celestographs" of the Swedish writer and sometime photographer and painter August Strindberg, who anticipated Surrealism and John Cage in his studies on chance in artistic creation.

Aptly described as "retro-avant-garde" (by Thorsten Sadowsky, director of the Aarhus Kunstbygning), Dybbroe Moller's smart paraphrases play on the notion of nostalgia and add an anecdotal narrative to the allegedly "pure" form of their predecessors--they already carry the history of their own decline within them. The installation Sir Norman Reid, 2005, recalls Robert Morris's Mirrored Cubes, 1965, except it contains eight elements instead of four, and their spatial organization differs from the grid of the original. …

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