Good Morning featured in Martine Poppe’s solo exhibition ‘Waiting for Y’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London. The show’s title projects an imaginary algebraic equation whereby ‘Y’ equals the unknown in a transitory period of time, and the artworks themselves are the products of ‘waiting’. As such, Poppe envisions her paintings are delicately suspended between the tactile and the unreachable, the familiar and the distant, the personal and the universal.
At first sight, this might seem to be an image of material, painted with luscious texture, hidden beneath grids of orderly coloured lines. Influenced by an ancient story by Roman author Pliny the Elder, Poppe presents us with illusory artworks, in which we are deceived by materiality. Whilst we first approach these works as two-dimensional paintings, closer inspection reveals the physical presence of actual fabric. The artist works with fabrics collected on her travels, redolent with the personal memories of her experiences and a moment in time.
She explains, “I found that being enveloped by the texture, smell and tactility of fabrics is comforting to me. They function like anchors, grounding me and creating a sense of familiarity no matter where I am and no matter what the situation. [...] Whilst I was waiting for the ‘y’ of my metaphoric equation to become known, I allowed the constrictions and incredible opportunities of happenstance to dictate where I would be in the world and who I would be there with. As these experiences unfolded, I recorded them by using the colours and textures of each new situation. These situations could be ubering through my London neighbourhood, seeing a tree with blue flowers blooming in amongst all the red brick council houses. Or it could be waking up on my studio sofa in Oslo to discover that everything beyond my window has become covered by snow.”
Such poetic encounters determined the colouring of the artwork, imbuing it with a sense of the spontaneous, and thus countering the fear of the unknown by signalling its potential as a catalyst for creation and discovery. The title Good Morning is perhaps an allusion to the formal qualities of light at sunrise, or the possibilities that are afforded by the dawning of a new day.
Born in Norway, Martine Poppe graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art BA and MFA in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Rather than regarding her work as photography, painting or sculpture, she develops each piece from the fluidity between these media.
Poppe’s recent solo and two person shows include Waiting for Y at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2019); Portraits of trees at Trafo Kunsthall, Norway (2018-2019), and Aphrodite lowers her mirror at Kristin Hjellegjerde, Berlin (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Artist Rooms with Encounter Contemporary at Copeland Gallery, and Carousel at Koppel Project Central (London, 2019). She lives and works between London, Oslo, and Paris.
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