In the wake of his retrospective museum exhibition Fragmentarium at Frederiksborg Castle last year, ABSENCE marks a poignant and focused next chapter in Eistrup’s artistic career.
For Kasper Eistrup, the concept behind ABSENCE originates from two related considerations – an internal and an external. In part, the exhibition sees Eistrup recognizing the personal price he pays for performing a job often requiring isolation and absence from his private life. In continuation of that concern, his works investigate and record this lack of presence and its broader infestation of our time in general. ABSENCE profiles a world in which our existence in a community is lived in loneliness, where reality is unreal and now is never now, but just a moment used to plan a fleeing, future moment, never experienced or maintained. A world in which we have lost our footing, being overrun by information we merely register, but never absorb, immerse ourselves in or question.
Eistrup’s method of coming to terms with the absence, in this its namesake exhibition, is to subdue his pieces into his signature “pods” – tight compositional capsules, framing his collage-motifs of objects, people and graphic noise, movement and structure. The pod, a reoccurring element in Eistrup’s work, is a basic enclosure, anchored by an “umbilical cord” feeding the piece by connecting it to the outside world. It is an attempt at creating a snapshot and arresting the moment along with the people passing through it. Fuelled by that desire, the chosen motifs are often people and objects, which were in Eistrup’s close vicinity during the production of ABSENCE. Many of these have an emotional impact on him in his personal life, offering the pieces an element of love and poetic intimacy in a narrative that could otherwise have lost itself in hopeless dystopia. Also, Eistrup’s playfulness and intense joy of colours are intact, this time in the shape of the hue “Caput Mortuum” running through his works like a solidified thread of blood. The colour-pigment of “Caput Mortuum” was originally extracted from human bones. While the pods lure and hypnotize us with their screen-likeness, they also double as mirrors for an artist hell-bent on stepping outside the eye of the storm for a moment, just long enough to observe himself and his loved ones from afar. Eistrup’s pods can be seen just as conscious, conceptual limitations, but for him these rigid and literal frames have cleared the way for an artistic evolution towards a painting style based more on intuition, weighing heart over mind. Kasper Eistrup’s self-inflicted canvas prisons almost seem to have granted him even more freedom as an artist.
In addition to its central “pod”-series of large-scale oil paintings, the exhibition consists of works on paper, as well as the installation “The Inside” – a companion piece to “The Outside”, an Eistrup installation from 2018 – articulating the sense of time and our inherit powerlessness as observers, by living through the 24 hours of a day in 24 minutes.