Matias Faldbakken, Supernote (PN-14342) (detail), 2007, triptych, ink on paper, each 17 11⁄12 x 42 11⁄12".

“NOTHING DOING,” Matias Faldbakken’s solo show last year at Standard gallery in Oslo, was accompanied by a koanlike statement of intent. “This is not thought made visible but nought made visible,” wrote the thirty-four-year-old Norwegian artist. “This is information exodus. This is aphasia. . . . The Eskimos have two hundred ways to say snow. I have three million ways to say no.” The artist exhibited a series of blown-up edges and blanks from newspapers, the nearly monochromatic images’ only subject the scarce, unreadable print bleeding through from the other side of the page. But this insistence on negativity has taken many forms in his work. In 16:9, 2006, the black horizontals seen above and below a letterboxed wide-screen film are remade as luminous brushed-aluminum bars, hung on the wall minus any intervening picture—thereby reversing the area where “nothing is doing.”

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