Abbreviated Extensions


March 23 – April 22, 2018


Galleri Opdahl 


Stavanger, Norway

A thing that is cut short. A thing that carries on. A thing and a thing; a thing or a thing. A thing conjunct; a thing conjoined. Do they share a gauche line — the truncated, the amputated, the bent and warped — the infinite, the palimpsest, the overlaid and ricocheted? For what, in the end, is the responsibility of forms, if not to each other. A slow and then rapid shapeshift of one into the next. A tranche of concrete cylinder coated in corrugated white sits at the end of a large, pale puddle that is pockmarked with dark, uneven deposits: holes in this surface, or stains, or both. The puddle is solid, but it wants to ooze, its edges poised to creep forward at any moment should the opportunity for transfiguration arise. The slice of cylinder, or is it a wheel, shares the same pattern as its puddle, and even in stasis it pushes through space with the motion of similar surfaces. Did it enter from elsewhere, imprint the puddle, and stop here in trajectory? Or did the puddle excrete it, a sticky, lumbering birth.

In Abbreviated Extensions, Vera Kox’s first solo show at Galleri Opdahl, objects are transitory and transformable; rooted and fixed; but liquid and moving, shimmering, collapsed, filthy, incandescent. Materials beg to be touched, with their subtle faces raised and textured, but insist on opacity and discrete surfaces — a calculated layer of strange stretched coolly over the familiar. A swathe of cerulean ceramic is held just above the floor by two blocks of foam, their edges discoloured by time or by light, or by whatever else pressed against them the hardest. The blue collapses gently under its own weight, its belly kissing close to the ground, the texture of its surface depressing to reveal the straight edges of the shapes beneath. The ineluctable pull of gravity and grace. Desire to touch this pool of blue, this smear of sky that scatters the mind — to dip a toe, and then plunge. Desire to run fingers through this neon streak of hair, which beckons elusively with its silky falseness. The stutter of impossibility, a sickness in the gut. Question after question, patiently superimposed. How is it that glass can seem so soft; and what happens through this green frame askew, with its foreground pierced by chains and a metal rod? What food is this, artificial and yet ripe for consumption — proffered on plinths, shrink-wrapped in cellophane and held so tenderly on glazed promontories?

Around these fallen objects, slumped and spilling, molten and solid — transient states — abbreviated extensions — where do the bodies go? Or need there be a body at all, to witness these mute and tensile complexes. These chains that hang — from the ceiling, from the walls — cut through the rooms, pushing emptiness with their swaying, striated forms. They press against the skin of the space, which is brimming with invisible, negative volumes: absence is endured, manipulated, produces new rhythms, structure and syntax. The language here, in Kox’s world of materials estranged and intimate, is one of accretion and entropy. A world — which is also our world — this world — the world — in which chains bind and link disparate matter, suspend and swing and conjure as many absent metonymies as they can bear.

Emily LaBarge