malmo,-sweden

Henrik Olesen, I do not go to work today. I don’t think I go tomorrow (detail), 2010, mixed media, 78 3/4 x 59".

Henrik Olesen

Malmö Konsthall

Henrik Olesen, I do not go to work today. I don’t think I go tomorrow (detail), 2010, mixed media, 78 3/4 x 59".

Henrik Olesen’s art is unmarvelous. Unlike the spectacular work of fellow Nordic artists Olafur Eliasson and Elmgreen & Dragset, his is gritty and grounded. There’s no appealing finish—either to his works (collages, posters, sculptures, texts, and three-dimensional architectural interventions), or to his first major exhibition in Scandinavia, at Malmö Konsthall, whose generous, rectangular space has probably never been used this inharmoniously. The far half of the space was packed with material and presented no clear distinction between the different works, while the other half, facing the street, was left almost empty. This rhizomatic installation fit Olesen’s image laboratory in a way that a neatly curated show wouldn’t have.

He is surprisingly little known in his native Denmark, but Olesen, born in 1967, has established himself as a remarkable contemporary artist on the

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