November 30, 2009 Tor Magnus Lundeby – “Pilot plant indicated”
30th of November 2009 – 10th of January 2010
With Tor Magnus Lundeby’s truly eccentric style, “Pilot Plant Indicated” presents not only new territory in the field of painting with breath-taking colours and technique, but uses the canvas as a means of constructive discourse. Sampling and rearranging the elements like a DJ, the works cover vast territory: from the symbiosis of mankind and nature to the urban landscape of tomorrow, from sentimental retrospection of modern life to enthusiastic flashes of futuristic scenarios. Far from being only fantasy, a window that allows a realistic glimpse of the future is opened.
Like the exhibition title, the paintings themselves offer multiple entries and modes of interpretation, constantly challenging the viewer’s sense of perception. A world of experimentation and playfulness is unfolding; a multitude of perspectives open an outlook on the microscopic and the gigantic, a galactic symbiosis of epic proportion. This approach not only meets the demands of the aesthetic turn in sciences, but fuels the discourse with new ideas and energy. Through the constant reevaluation of the role of the artist in today’s society, Lundeby´s vision is not one of painting, but of society. A drastic shift from aesthetic avant-garde to social utopia which has lead to the following interview:
Albert Allgaier: The title for your solo exhibition at Carbon12 is very interesting to me: rather than trying to summarize ideas, “Pilot Plant Indicated” points in many directions, opening a discursive field, allowing the viewer to enter the cosmos of your paintings from a multitude of perspectives and angles. Nevertheless I am curious about your own interpretation of the themes explored!
Tor-Magnus Lundeby: Pilot Plant Indicated was chosen as the title for my upcoming solo show with a body of work that continues in another direction than my former solo show trilogy; Prospect Disorder in 2007, Cityscape Colour Anarchy (Prospect Disorder II) in 2008, and Drawn by Numbers (Prospect Disorder III) in 2009. These three exhibitions separately, and as a whole, consisted of paintings and sculptures/installation relating to a more human architectonic landscape with no architects involved. Just you and I, building wherever, however and from whatever materials are left over, after a possible collapse of existing places, all in all an optimistic perspective on our future.
In your newest series presented here in Dubai I also noticed a certain development, a shift in paradigms so to say.
With my newest paintings, colours and organic forms are still dominating, but I have explored more my visions of a futuristic nature. When eventually most of the trees are gone, flowers and plants rather non-existing, we have to create our own nature in order to breathe. Pilot Plant is to me a term I can use for an experimental field where new organisms and structures are tested, developed, and presented as a prospect of our future. Even the Moon, or Mars, can be such fields where we need to develop a complete new set of landscape elements and organic infrastructures.
These landscape elements and organic infrastructures all seem to belong to a larger complex, some sort of structure that is both invisible and dominant at the same time, in other words abstract but very real somehow.
I am quite fascinated by all sorts of maps because of the language of codes used to transform visual information. Sometimes structures that are part of let’s say city development are plotted on a map, one could say it is indicated, yet not made or existing in real. The recent maps of Dubai have such places indicated as far as I understand. I see my show as an empty “mapscape”, using paintings to build a platform of a structured organic landscape representing my ideas. An indicator itself as an object or a lamp/light is an interesting visual teaser. It is like a symptom, and it would be interesting to be able to paint such symptoms of our existence and future.
Your works have been described with terms like Kindergarten Grotesque and Alchemy of Architecture and there is a really big variety between innocent fantasies and realistic glimpses of the future to be seen, yet the paintings inherent a certain consciousness, creating a unique organic entity. Can you describe the process of creation in detail, how the chosen themes and subjects result in this very individual style of not only painting, but also in ways of perception?
First of all I love to break the codes in patterns, structures and numbers. All system with a strong visual appearance are interesting to me but perhaps not that important or meaningful to others. Sometimes I twist them and reuse them in my own coded language, hopefully easier to understand and even more exciting visually; a way of recycling our surroundings in detail. Concretely, I use a set of visual codes that I develop and twist to continuously expand my own language, my very own town, so to speak. Every time I start on a new canvas, what happens there is first the background and then things start to grow visually on it. In the individual process of each painting, I try to work step by step, but sometimes I have to make larger sketched areas by pencil in order to see how the colours should be organized on the canvas. Sometimes, especially earlier, I have used references to electronic music, romantic utopian themes, non-existing sites and places and colour systems to mention a few fields, when I choose the titles.
The way you deal with nature and architecture is touching some very delicate and serious topics. By shifting between utopian vision and symbolic discourse a basis for serious thought and reflection is established, without neglecting the aesthetic quality of the process itself.
I am inspired by all sorts of visual structures that systematically, or randomly, indicate and present an organism of any kind for example music, architecture, landscape, insects. The nature itself has a unique and fantastic random shape palette from where I get my inspiration. My colour palette is rather naive and anti-intelligent, intuitive, an anarchistic approach towards colour theories.
This clash of structure and intuition is a key point in your work, I think. It allows you to develop a highly individual approach without neglecting the original source of your inspiration. The Power Plant really seems like an aesthetic apparatus working independently between subject and object. This is might be also a good way to end the interview, because now we can leave the work to the Plant, sit back and enjoy!
Text and interview by Albert Allgaier