Critics’ Picks

View of “Matias Faldbakken: Effects of Good Government in the Pit,” 2017–18.

View of “Matias Faldbakken: Effects of Good Government in the Pit,” 2017–18.


Matias Faldbakken

Astrup Fearnley Museet
Strandpromenaden 2
September 22, 2017–January 28, 2018

In Matias Faldbakken’s latest exhibition of sculptures, paintings, and installations, a speculative future universe—where the virtual world is impossible to distinguish from the real—is offered. The simulated perhaps isn’t what one might associate with some of the brutal objects here, including Untitled (Locker Sculpture #06), 2017—several lockers strapped together with lever straps, bending the hard metal––and the four heavy concrete sculptures in Television Sculpture #1–4, 2011. Yet the three large walls covered in domestic tiles (Tile Sculpture #1–#3, all 2017) force one to encounter the virtual in a profound way, which becomes quite clear with the looping film Never Come Down, 2017. This piece is presented on a pixel-pitch screen, a high-resolution LED display. In the work, an appropriated video meme that went viral among Trump supporters is altered so that the president’s head has been cropped out. In between the images and loud sounds, the pixels of the screen become visible. They expose a grid that recalls the tiled walls, and together, the two works generate an architectonic environment where digital reality exceeds the surface of the screen. As a whole, the exhibition evokes what Gilbert Simondon once referred to as an “associated milieu”—a setting where the natural and technological worlds are metaphorically morphed, allowing for the critical exploration of the existence and formation of life.