After the frog's gone
Tullinløkka, Oslo, the dead space behind the National Museum, the place where the new museum will not be. Car park. Temporary art space. Hole in the city. The cigar box on legs that was once part of "Kiss The Frog" (the frog got kissed and departed long ago) now seems like a forlorn reminder of all that might have been but never was. Now they have tried to reinvent and revitalise the place with this summer's big stunt "affektert veggmaleri akslererende faenskap assume vivid focus", a post-psychedelic labyrinth that spills out, through a fanged vagina/mouth with inflatable tongue onto the sad and lonely car park that tries to look like a carnival ground. Entering the installation I think "this is a bit like acid rock". Only without the acid and without the rock. There has been a lot of post- or neo psychedelic art in the past few years, while the original stuff has also been re-examined through exhibitions like Tate Liverpool & MoMA's "Summer of Love" and the recent Allan Aldridge retrospective at The Design Museum in London. It's a tendency I've observed with some interest, especially in the work of younger artists who have picked up the references without being burdened by historical baggage or by a sort of calvinist guilt that shuns the decorative and decadent surfaces of psychedelia. But in this case it just felt like a pastiche of a pastiche, overblown, overdone and, simply... over. It's too late, baby. It's like the museum has found itself trapped inside a Bony M song - "crazy like a fool / for Daddy Kool". But D. Kool is nowhere to be found; Daddy Kool has left the building.I wandered alone through the labyrinthine installation thinking "where's the party?" and feeling a bit foolish carrying around the collage mask with red/green lenses that is supposed to let you see the exhibition in vivid 3d. (you don't)
The brochure/exhibition guide is a lexicon of drivel including such gems as "the group remixes a floorsticker from Central Park in New York producing a "carpet" that covers part of the outdoor area". Meaning that they have painted some grafitti-like stuff on the asphalt. It's about time the word "remixed" was erased from the vocabulary of permissible terms; to say it has become overused would be a massive understatement.
The brochure concludes
"avaf mixes up a cocktail with elements from Brazilian carnival to prog-rock album covers to Norwegian textile art, to children's colouring books to Tibetan devotional art. Enjoy!" Sorry. I'd like to, really, but it makes me feel nauseous, like too much bad, sweet ice cream.
A couple of kilometers away at the LNM gallery there is an exhibition called "Wall to Wall" with wall paintings by six contemporary Norwegian artists. Proceed there directly, avoiding Tullinløkka. You'll save time and feel better.