Goya’s Dog
For an exhibition at Bomuldsfabrikken Kunsthall in Arendal, due to open 18th march 2017, Nicolaisen tries out yet another way of experimenting with the notion of the contemporary artist. An epiphany at the Prado museum in Madrid, in the hall of Goya's Black Paintings, sets of another search for the big Why.

Here is a PDF with all the images from the exhibition

In the enigmatic painting by Fransisco Goya, Perro Semideshundido (The Half Drowned Dog), a part of the 14 paintings long series known as The Black Paintings, I discovered to my big surprise a quite distinct human figure in the background behind the famous dog. To me it looks like the dog is looking up, exactly in the direction of this mysterious master. And it strucks me as sensational that the distinguished museum has not seen this essential detail in a painting so well known. After getting back to my studio I started carefully revealing the figure, with the intention of showing what I found.

And so the process of making art was initiated.

I searched for emotional links and personal relevant material and remembered a painting I made (in Spain) in 1990, which as far as I could remember had some compositional likeness. It was a painting that supposedly was a surprised Andy Warhol, popping out of the lower left corner of the flesh tinted canvas. So the painting was found in a cellar and looking him up I came across a photo of his mother, Julia Warhola, which resembles to a great extent, the image of which Andy was working so hard to give us, of him. Thus became repetition and all-ready made work relevant. On an album cover of one of Skeeter Davies' records, I recognized somebody I know and care for (White Squaw #1 #2 #3) and this person, this artist, inspired a song I had written two years ago, etc etc

I decided to share this process through small framed textworks since the starting point was revelation. Basically removing the enigma of the artworks, the paintings and drawings, by explaining how they came about and how they're related to each other. In addition I wrote the somehow biographical art theory as I was going along. I explained my intentions an admitted my mistakes.

After sending the slightly altered image of the Perro Semideshundido to Prado, now with the dog's master contrasted, and getting an indulgent answer from their department for conservation, stating that they were very happy to receive my letter and that they got a lot of letters from people seeing things in their paintings my enthusiasm decreased. It decreased even more when I learned about the term Apophonia, referring to the phenomenon that people construct meaningful substance out of random data (i.e figures in cloud formations).

Admitting this rise and fall of a great idea, in writings on the wall, is what I suggest can be the give of this show.

Download catalogue