Exhibition: Viktor Kopp

Viktor Kopp September 12 - October 24 2010

Bureau is pleased to present the first U.S. solo exhibition by Swedish painter, Viktor Kopp.

For his first one-person exhibition at Bureau, Kopp will present a suite of new paintings in subtle variations of grey and brown monochrome. The new canvases deal with tensions between representation and abstraction as they play with the conventions of frame and support. Depicting flat, rectangular objects such as chocolate bars or doors Kopp’s paintings reveal a stringency and delight in experimentation with color, motif, illusion, and the rigid geometry of the grid. Meticulously calculated compositions are complimented by confident, painterly gestures resulting in gorgeous modeling of the surface; the paintings are at once lush and severe.

For several years, and through a number of series of paintings, Kopp has moved from surrealistic and comical landscapes in bright 80’s inspired palettes to a more severe and limited index of subject matter. In color schemes of browns and neutral grays, the artist has turned his attention to the limits of the rectangular surface. The illusion revealed by the canvas-as-window is playfully addressed by Kopp, who matches motif with canvas-edge: a giant chocolate bar depicted reaches to the edge of the picture plane. The smudged brown window of these canvases’ trompe l’oeil result in a clever illusionism, reconciling the obfuscated ‘window’ of the picture plane with a flatness of pure abstraction. Yet the paintings refute the purity of abstraction because, after all, these geometric monochromes are representational works.

Further interested in pushing through and around the confines of the canvas’ perimeter, Kopp’s newest series explores the shifting of frame. The architectural structure of the canvas appears to modulate along a two-dimensional plane, almost leaving the painting’s subject behind and revealing a shifting glance at a rigid flatness. Instead of opening to a false pictorial illusion, a door-canvas is realigned with its own inherent flatness, and one that is defined by a reduced and shrinking aperture. As such, Kopp reminds the viewer that the edge of the canvas defines the limit of what we can see in a picture. The depictions of brown, gridded chocolate bars and simple greyscale doors defy their trompe l’oeil modeling, existing in a flatland revealed by the opening of the canvas’s view. They seem to be coming and going in and out of the flat canvas/window to reveal a gaping pinky-peach negative of blank absence.

Viktor Kopp was born in Stockholm Sweden in 1971. He completed studies in fine art in Malmö, and Gothenberg, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland. He has had solo exhibitions in Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland and has shown extensively in Northern Europe. This autumn, he will be included in the important Moderna Exhibition surveying Swedish contemporary art at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in October 2010. He teaches painting at the Malmö Art Academy and lives and works in Stockholm.

This exhibition is made possible with support by The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.