23 August – 13 October 2019
FIRE AND FORGET
Opening: 23 August 2019, 6pm
Exhibition: 24 August – 13 October 2019
Please join us for the opening of Oslo- and Berlin-based Mikael Brkic’s solo exhibition Fire and Forget on Friday, 23 August between 6–9pm.
Words robbed of power, you are broken fragments,
And, by itself, a thin strip of shadow melts away;
Married to a painting, you will gain entry
When a profound emblem helps you to grasp the hidden.
Franz Julius von dem Knesebeck, Dreiständige Sinnbilder (1643)
The multi-layered practice of Mikael Brkic (b. 1987, NO) takes inspiration from today’s commodity culture, now seemingly at its zenith. In a calculated attempt to appropriate and construe the visual and textual language of advertisement as a means to rebrand historically significant events, the artist lures visitors into a web of facts, fiction, and fallacies.
Fire and Forget is the result of Brkic’s artistic research into the Norwegian missile AGM-119, commonly known as Penguin. The development of the missile started in the 1960s and has—up until today—been the most important military research and development project in Norway since the post-war era, establishing various new technologies and methodologies.
The title of the exhibition refers to the type of missile guidance system used by Penguin, which enables the projectile to reach its target after it has been launched without further instruction. Designed to navigate the Norwegian coastline, the missile pioneered a state-of-the-art infrared seeker named Janus, the Roman god of all beginnings, gates, transitions, past, future, passages, and endings.
Produced specifically for his exhibition at St. Olavs gate 3 and not unlike the missile’s trajectory, Brkic weaves an elusive narrative designed to confuse and deflect an audience’s targeted reading. Like a rebus in which a détournement of the recently renovated Rococo hall at Grand Hotel Oslo, motives of rain and of fog, a bust of Janus, and a life-size missile all point to a void in collective memory. And in this collapsed space of firing and forgetting, the words blikket, du, fanger, ikke, meg (gaze, you, catch, not, me) resonate in ever-changing formations.*
* This arrangement of words is part of the poem Blikket by Jan Erik Vold, first published in 1966. Four years later, this poem featured in an installation at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter by artists Irma Salo Jæger and Sigurd Berge. The installation featured technology used in Penguin.
Mikael Brkic’s exhibition is made possible with the kind support from the Norwegian Arts Council and the Association of Norwegian Visual Artists.
Image material: Mikael Brkic