Press release – January 2024
Bjarne Melgaard: Barney Does It All
Faurschou New York Presents
Bjarne Melgaard: Barney Does it All
Exhibition includes film, painting, sculpture and assemblage.
(NEW YORK, NY — January 12, 2024) — Faurschou New York is pleased to announce Barney Does It All, a solo exhibition of painting, sculpture, and a premiere of a new film by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, opening to the public February 8, 2024. This exhibition reunites Melgaard with Faurschou following numerous collaborations in Copenhagen and Beijing, and with these latest works, the artist ambitiously expands on his characteristic practice of pushing the boundaries of expression. Drawing on themes of substance abuse, sexuality, transgressive subcultures, and self-destruction, the exhibition reflects on Melgaard’s past three decades as an artist and addict as he continues to explore and critique the darker sides of humanity.
Interested in social, political, and ideological issues on the margins of society, Melgaard’s practice visually examines questions of the provocative and the existential through a neo-expressionist style of painting, sculpture, installation, and film. At Faurschou New York, Barney Does It All centers around a deeply personal video work by the same name. Premiering February 8, 2024, and screening daily at 12pm and every thirty minutes till closing, this film, directed by Fred Heggland and Morten Haslerud, merges a recent monologue with archival footage and popular images. It explores Melgaard’s career highs and lows, as well as his ongoing struggle between creativity and inner demons. Flickering between moments of frantic abstraction and profound clarity, the 25-minute film, overlays images of self-portraiture, animation, childhood photos, and vivid figurative works with Melgaard’s own voice and reflections, and with an ethereal techno soundtrack.
“The movie is about trying to believe in yourself as an artist. Trying to convince yourself that you have something you want to say. And for me, it was always important that what I have to say is very simple. If I paint a painting of a cow, it's a painting of a cow. There is nothing underneath.”—Bjarne Melgaard, January 2024.
A series of recent paintings and new sculptural works accompanies the film, visually narrating Melgaard's story and showcasing his battle with internal and external conflicts with his distinctive brushstroke and assemblage. Also on view is a vitrine filled with items from Melgaard's Oslo studio, including drawings, sketches, letters, and recent legal documents from an ongoing court case, which provide an intimate look into his creative process and the personal events that fuel his work.
ABOUT FAURSCHOU Faurschou is a private museum and art consultancy, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since its inception in 1986, Faurschou has transformed and expanded, with a mission to assemble pivotal artworks of exceptional quality and to build ambitious exhibitions across our permanent and pop-up sites from Copenhagen to Beijing, New York, and Venice, which offer visitors unique opportunities to experience what we consider to be the most significant art of our time. The program ranges from solo exhibitions to thematic group shows and often explores Faurschou’s evolving collection of contemporary art and special commissions.
ABOUT BJARNE MELGAARD Bjarne Melgaard, born on September 11, 1967, in Sydney, Australia, is a distinguished Norwegian contemporary artist celebrated for his raw and multifaceted body of work. Raised in Norway, Melgaard's artistic journey began at the age of 12 when he enrolled in art school, immersing himself in the study of still life, nudes, and various painting techniques. Having studied at the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo (1991), and furthering his education at Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht (1992), and Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (1993), Melgaard's artistic evolution took a tumultuous turn during his time in New York, where he confronted personal challenges, explored themes of desire, and navigated the complexities of the art world.
Melgaard's artistic practice spans painting, sculpture, installation, and film, characterized by a neo-expressionist style that fearlessly delves into societal taboos. His distinct painterly language features a strong palette and vivid brushstrokes, contributing to an oeuvre that speaks of life in the margins, addressing social, political, ideological, and sexual contents. Despite controversies surrounding his personal life, Melgaard's dedication to expressing complex realities and pushing artistic boundaries remains a defining feature of his impactful career.
Described as one of Norway's most important artists, Melgaard has been featured in numerous international exhibitions, challenging conventional norms with his audacious approaches. Melgaard's works, often laden with personal narratives and a formalistic aspect, have found a place in the permanent collections of prestigious institutions globally, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Saatchi Gallery, London; and Munch Museum, Oslo, among others. He has represented Norway at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011) and participated in renowned events like the Whitney Biennial (2014), the Lyon Biennale (2000 and 2013), and XXIV Biennale de Sao Paulo (1998).
PRESS PREVIEW AND ARTIST TALK We welcome journalists, writers, and editors for a preview of the exhibition on February 7, 2024, at 4:30pm and a talk with the artist moderated by Alissa Bennett at 6:30pm.