There Were Houses Everywhere

18.08 – 24.09.2011


Eske Kath found his inspiration for this exhibition in Belize in Central America where he was introduced to the remains of the Mayan city Carcol. In its golden days the city covered an area larger than 2590 square kilometers and had around 120.000 inhabitants. Today the region appears as ruins - totally covered by rain forest. The area comes across as an apocalyptic landscape, but is as well one of the spots on earth with the widest vegetations and wild life. This paradox constitutes the thematic center of the exhibition. Houses are, and have always been, a sort of stand-ins for mankind, our structures and our need to control nature in Kath’s works. In this series of works the houses stand out as pure out-lines and contours in the paintings’ groundings. Through this technique the houses become an image of forgotten life, and a bygone era in an overgrown world, and of the important civilizations of the past but also a reminder of the fragility of our own civilization. In his new paintings Eske Kath tests new painterly techniques and dogmas. The different white and black layers of gesso-grounding come through as contours and dead areas in the paintings. Kath always grounds the white canvases with black gesso, but in this series the white prime-grounding is used to create the outlines of the stacked houses in the paintings. Kath thereafter allows nature and different landscapes to overgrow, wrap, and cover the drawings. In this phase the black areas are left as contour-drawings. These white and black drawings in the gesso create, on the one hand, references to popular culture such as comics, but on the other hand also point to the painterly process and open the surface for the beholder all the way into the innermost layer of the grounding.


The house contours can be seen as cracks in the finished narration or understood as being the narration. This method gives a formal and dogmatic meaning to the paintings, but contains, at the same time, the idea of a forgotten and out blotted past. The idea of building upon what has been is like the layers of the ground and the rings of the tree trunk. The strict planning which is incorporated in this way of painting does, together with the motives, point to an idea of faith or the inevitable end of every era and new beginnings. Apart form the paintings Eske Kath will also show different sculptures. One of the sculptures consists of a pile of houses of wood and plastic, with an irregular flashing light coming out of it. A number of bronze sculptures, mounted on bare tree locks, will also be presented in the show. The sculptures are staked houses in polished bronze, which continues the wood locks vertical direction, but the contrast between the materials also creates a conflict or break in the otherwise straight vertical movement. Eske Kath graduated from the Danish Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen in 2003. Kath lives in Nyw York but has the past months lived and worked in the studio house of the gallery, where he has produced the works for the present exhibition. Kath is well established in both Denmark and abroad. In 2007 he received the 3 year working-grant from the Danish Art Council. Eske Kath’s works are represented in numerous museum and private collections. His latest solo exhibition was at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles.

Photo credits: Jan Søndergaard