Hobson’s Choice – John Kørner at Victoria Miro Gallery

1 February 2013 By
John Kørner, Fallen Fruit From Frisland (installation view), 2013. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London

19 January – 2 March 2013

16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 – 18.00


Victoria Miro gallery is currently showing an exhibition of new works by the Danish artist John Kørner, called Fallen Fruit From Frisland.  Frisia is the low-lying coastal area that extends across the Netherlands and Germany to the Danish border which, until the construction of canals during the 1920s and 1930s, was flooded for most of the year.  As if to generate an anxiety about the prospect of catastrophic submersion, the gallery has been transformed by a carpeted floor that rises like an enormous wave against the back wall, threatening at any moment to crash down and wash the visitor away.  Precariously situated at the base of the rising wave is a small rowing-boat – filled with a crowd of multi-coloured ceramic sculptures – which the artist discovered in a museum had been crafted by his great-grandfather, a boat-builder who supplied locals with the means to navigate this unstable landscape.  This precarious relationship with the sea is strongly suggested by Kørner’s characteristically watered-down acrylics on canvas which line the gallery walls, most of which are of rural farmland scenes in a palette of fierce and unnatural oranges, pinks and violets, evoking the effects of pollution and environmental wreckage.  Many of the paintings seem to have been exposed to water-damage, with surfaces running, pigments pooling and figurative elements blotted into fleeting fixture. Other works adopt another idea, just as weather-worn – this time suggesting the exposure of intense light, as if abstract patterns have left like a photogram through years of exposure on the surface of the landscape beneath.  An impressive if anxious show.

Main image: John Kørner, Fallen Fruit From Frisland (installation view), 2013. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro