Gardar Eide Einarsson

Alone Among Friends 2006
Acrylic on canvas
157.5cm x 121.96cm

Gardar Eide Einarsson

Born 1976, Maglegaard, Denmark
Lives and works in New York

Of all those artists included in Minimal Means perhaps Gardar Eide Einarsson is most remote in spirit from the association with Minimalism that predicates the exhibition, Gardar Eide Einarsson's legacy stems more directly from pop art, punk and agit prop than from the refined reductionism of Minimalism that characterises this exhibition.

Investigations into various forms of social transgression and arguments for political subversion, Gardar Eide Einarsson's text-based works provoke the critical analysis associated with reading to augment the immediate visceral experience of viewing his art. To this end, his choice of media is determined by his current discourse on communities in relation to their outsiders. Visual imagery borrowed from underground subcultures including the criminal world and left-wing militias, portrayed in a primarily black-and-white palette, gives Gardar Eide Einarsson's work a stylish punk sheen that evokes rebellion through its cold, hard-edged rejection of sentiment. His installations often combine paintings leaned against walls as "props," explicit messages printed on flags or illuminated on light boxes, images co-opted from graffiti, skateboarding graphics, or punk music flyers screen printed or painted directly onto gallery walls, videos screened on televisions, photography, and sculpture such as austere furniture centered in the exhibition space.

Mining his understanding of how graphic design and advertising methods manipulate public beliefs, Gardar Eide Einarsson appropriates logos, symbols, phrases, and slogans to re-contextualise meaning, creating a tension between imagery and the action it compels the viewer to take. His use of text allows for a directness that both recalls and critiques artworks decrying political injustices made during the 1990s by artists like Barbara Kruger. By staging textual works alongside abstract objects, images, and props, Gardar Eide Einarsson embeds his politics more deeply in his search for answers, and through Minimalist formalism he offers opaque or ambivalent translations of his scepticism toward established power structures.

Source: Trinie Dalton, Whitney Biennial 2008, Whitney Museum of American Art