4 November 2019 – 29 March 2020

#2 Bjarne Melgaard

Running in parallel to the revolving solo exhibitions at UKS, YOUNG DUMB & BROKE is a series of displays mounting a single early work by a once young and unknown, today older and esteemed artist. The series explores the quest between young artists’ experiments and the hindsight of recognition and leverage of experience, borrowing its title from a billboard hit that was on the 2017 American Teen album by singer and songwriter Khalid.

The second edition of the series features BJARNE MELGAARD (b. 1967, NO). Melgaard is considered one of Norway’s most prolific artists of his generation. With an international career spanning almost 30 years, the—now famed—artist has created a large oeuvre of writings, drawings, paintings, and sculptural installations. Often controversial and provocative in nature, his work addresses the dark side of humanity with irony, self-criticism, and humor.

On display is Ghost (1996), an early photographic work by Melgaard. The—then younger—artist is depicted lying on a sunny beach. Smiling at the viewer, he seems oblivious to the hand-drawn cartoonish ghosts hovering around him and the looming presence they embody.

An inscription on the back of the photo reveals that Melgaard was informed about the death of porn actor Joey Stefano only hours after the photograph was taken. During that same period he created a series of works that were inspired by the actor, most notably the two sculptures Dwarf I and Dwarf II (1996) that are now part of the Astrup Fearnley Collection. These homoerotic figures caused quite a stir internationally when they premiered and became iconic works in Melgaard’s oeuvre.


Previous YOUNG DUMB & BROKE editions: 

Images from the launch of YOUNG DUMB & BROKE #2 Bjarne Melgaard—combined with a HOW TO PRACTICE? workshop. Photos by Julie Hrncirova

Bjarne Melgaard, Ghost, 1996. On view in UKS’ display series YOUNG DUMB & BROKE, 2019

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