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08.11.2017 INTERVIEW
Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl at Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay, Last Resort

When Attitude Becomes Form — Interview with Mikkel Carl

Mikkel Carl is everywhere. If he sees a crack of light through the wall, he will go for it. Making, curating, writing, buying and selling – Mikkel will do everything with and about art. I was lucky enough that he wrote me about doing an interview with him based on his latest show at Last Resort in Copenhagen.

Of course I accepted. Bewildered by Mikkel and his many enterprises, I was full of enthusiasm to talk to the man himself and learn about his approach.

AF Torben Zenth

LAST RESORT
Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay
Mikkel Carl
14.10.2017 - 18.11.2017

Hi Mikkel, what have you made?
The exhibition's main component is a faux-steel plate that's more than 3m high and 7m long. A wall, basically: Pink Floyd VS. Donald Trump. Or a low budget Richard Serra. No, I guess that would still be made from steel. So, this must be the Chinese “Light in the Box”-version: Individual fibreboard panels covered with a mixture of graphite powder and matte lacquer, hand polished to look like raw steel, and subsequently “welded” together with a hot glue gun.

The only real thing here is the rust, which I got from some heavily corroded metal objects I found on the beach this summer. Well, and then the impact this thing has in the physical space, which is cut in two, forcing the viewer to make a detour. Hence, the installation's title: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object.

But there is more?
Yes, further differentiating the space is a number of paintings called Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One). They are a “commercialized” version of an eponymous public work I recently did at Sydhavn Station: I put self-adhesive mirror foil on fifteen banged-up poster stands, so that instead of advertisements, people would see a somewhat distorted version of themselves hurrying to or from the train.

These new works are in line with my general interest in producing paintings without the use of paint and/or with neither immediately identifiable subjective gestures nor a formal preoccupation with objective structures. In this case scratching the surface, and other types of "accidental" mark making are my way of composing images. Or "images" rather, because you will of course mainly see a reflection of yourself, other viewers, the space itself and in particular the aforementioned steel-grey wall.

Well, it is all very 'tongue in cheek', but why do you do it?
Ouch, that one hurts. I guess 'tongue in cheek' alludes to the blowjob reference made by pushing one’s tongue against the inside of one’s cheek – back and forth. The funny thing is that this gesture only slightly resembles any such explicit action, and THAT is actually what it means. It’s the LOL of sex. 

Neither humor nor irony was part of the abstract expressionist or minimalist ethos – that was before with Duchamp, Dada, Fluxus, etc., and after with some branches of conceptual art, especially on the West Coast and within the Art & Language "movement." And of course much later on with 80s appropriation art and neo-expressionism. So, when Richard Serra “ejaculated” molten led on the wall and floor of Kunsthalle Bern as part of the seminal show When Attitude Becomes Form, this was all very literal. 

As you can hear I have absolutely no idea how to answer your question: Why enter into a pissing contest with a man that has Gagosian take out their row of storefront windows, or even remove the entire rooftop of their prime Chelsea location every time he makes a show? Honestly, I don’t know. Is that a problem, you think?

That is not for me to say. He who acts on instinct, without hidden agendas or fraudulent motives, is said to be a warrior, in his heart true to the cause. Are you a true warrior Mikkel? Do you search the depths of your soul every night, to make sure that neither demons nor malicious thoughts interfere with your work of bringing art to the world? Is there a cause at all?
Is that a trick question? I guess I ought to do some serious soul-searching and then get back to you, but trying to answer your question here and now, please allow me to quote French philosopher Jean Baudrillard from his evermore relevant 1981 treatise Simulacra and Simulation:

“We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum, with all the veracity of living phantoms, of wandering and simulating animals that capital, that 'the death of capital' has made of us — because the desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand — the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forests — the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature—only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains, in which work buries work, in which value buries value—leaving a virgin, sacred space without pathways…”

Thank you Mikkel.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 67 x 87 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One) (detail), 2017, 60 x 60 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One) (detail), 2017 , 65 x 65 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 100 x 135 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 60 x 60 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 2017, 124,5 x 100 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One) , 2017, 180 x 110 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 60 x 60 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 65 x 65 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 60 x 60 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay (installation view), 2017. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object, 2017 (detail, 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017, 180 x 110 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One) (detail), 2017, 60 x 60 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One) (detail), 2017, 100 x 135 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object, 2017 (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One), 2017 (detail), 2017, 124,5 x 100 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: Untitled (You Hate the Fact that You Bought the Dream and They Sold You One) (detail), 2017, 60 x 60 cm, Mirror foil on canvas on stretchers. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object, 2017 (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

Mikkel Carl, Last Resort, Between Financial Entanglement and Corporal Decay

Mikkel Carl: A Vague Nothing at the Intersection of Subject and Object (detail), 2017, Dimensions variable (each panel: 122 x 305cm), Graphite, lacquer, glue and rust on fibreboard. Courtesy: Last Resort.

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