August 28 - October 26 2019

Galleri Nicolai Wallner is pleased to present I Would Love Just One Flower, I Don’t Need the Whole Bouquet, a group exhibition with works by A Kassen, Cornelia Baltes, Jeppe Hein, Jose Dávila, and Poul Gernes.

On his 1972 track, “You’re a song (that I can’t sing)”, Frankie Valli poignantly opens with the lyric “you’ve only given me a flower, I wish I had the whole bouquet”. As Valli’s ballad continues, he not only assures us of the intensity of his love but, through poetic allegory after poetic allegory, insists that his love is so strong that even if we were to spend a lifetime together it would not suffice. As fleeting as our interaction, it’s enough to make Valli want it all. Inversely, with this group exhibition, we look at artists and artworks in which a brief moment or simple gesture can emote more than a lifetime of words.

Taking a central position within the first room, is an expansive installation by Poul Gernes. Overlapping rolls of newsprint paper cascade from the ceiling of the gallery, stretching out towards the walls, draping themselves down towards the floor. Gathered at the middle near the bottom, this minimal construction creates the shape of a flower. Gernes’ Blomsten (Paper Flower) dates back to 1969, and was exhibited in Denmark the same year and again in 1977. This reconstruction, made in collaboration with the Estate of Poul Gernes, marks the first time that this work has been shown in Denmark since. The simplicity of the works’ form, its subject matter and its materials, echo Gernes’ career-spanning interest in the idea of openness and accessibility within art. Art was intended to be experienced directly by the viewer, with the artist and all traces of the artist in absentia. The profound atmosphere created by the installation brings the work back to the title of the exhibition—it effortlessness is beautiful.

Alongside the installation is a painting, Tjob, by Cornelia Baltes. There is a playful, yet intentional, authority to Baltes’ brushstrokes. Meticulously planned to create a sense of spontaneity and urgency within us, they feel as if they were made with ease, in one grand gesture, caught up in the moment. In so doing, we find ourselves caught up in that same moment with Baltes, embodying this tension and energy that she instills in her work.

The impact of Jose Dávila’s work Untitled (Yellow Brushstroke II) lies elegantly in what is missing, rather than what is there. Taking on a Roy Lichtenstein work of the same name, a photographic replica of the work has been made, with the iconic yellow paint cut out, leaving only the outline and background intact.

In the second room, elements of Gernes’ insistence in the intimacy of the relationship between work and viewer can be seen in Jeppe Hein’s work, World in My Eyes, in which a round piece of fragmented, mirror-like material is mounted on the wall. Pivoting on a central point, it turns slowly and effortlessly, creating an entrancing, kaleidoscopic effect. As we stand in front of the work, our reflection is fragmented and constantly shifting, interacting with us and returning our gaze, reaching inwards.

The work, in turn, reflects A Kassen’s large-scale Bronze Pour sculpture. The work is created through a process in which heated, liquid bronze is poured into water, hardening instantaneously into a small, unpredictable and unexpected form. The resulting sculpture is an enlarged version of this form, cast again in bronze. Simultaneously biomorphic and innately abstract, the work’s form feels referential, encouraging us to build our own narratives around it.

Each work in I Would Love Just One Flower, I Don’t Need the Whole Bouquet can be felt tangibly throughout the space. The weight of their presence is made even more so by the simplicity in which each work presents itself. Be it through materials, construction, concept or gesture, each creates a poignant moment which—while fleeting—stays with us.

carrie emberlyn