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Yngve Holen (1982-)

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Yngve Holen Biography

The human body is conspicuously absent in Yngve Holen’s work. Absent, since the artist’s cool, near-abstract, often-disassembled industrial objects rarely depict a human form, but conspicuous, nonetheless, because the state-of-the-art surfaces of his pieces somehow point to a fraught, hollowed-out reformulation of the human body and its shifting relationship to the various prostheses of our age of mass digitization, 3D-printing and proto-bionic tools. A generation of young sculptors has begun responding to a recent crisis of the (post-)human body by attempting, in reactionary fashion, to refigure it in very literal, physical terms. By contrast, Holen starts at the iconoclastic end of the spectrum, seemingly beyond humanity, where the human is akin to a piece of gristle, an afterthought or an accident. Such is the case with Sensitive to Detergent, Moving Forward (2012), which includes a VW-branded, ghost-white, 3D-printed chicken breast resting on the drum of a washing machine.

Holen’s most recent exhibition, ‘World of Hope’ (2015) at Galerie Neu in Berlin, was a spare presentation of six oversize, doughnut-shaped metal sculptures clothed in different-coloured fishnet fabric, hung on white walls and looming coldly and menacingly above the viewer. These featured brand-new parts from Siemens ct scanners, medical machines ordinarily used to render cross-sections of the person lying inside. A key to these hole-shaped works, which – set flat against the wall – literally refused entry, was the magazine ETOPS II (2015), presented by Holen in the same space. This publication contains a series of interviews the artist conducted, anonymously, with major players in the pornography and plastic surgery industries in Los Angeles, which make the Marquis de Sade read like children’s stories. Covering the daily lives of porn stars, their agents and peripheral professionals, the texts are shocking because of the nonchalance with which the interviewees describe the limitations, modification and dehumanization of their bodies.

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I don’t trust anyone for the most part. But then again, I am my own creature, 2015, plastic, fabric, metal, 177 × 185 × 36 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Stuart Shave/ Modern Art, London; photograph: Simon Vogel

I don’t trust anyone for the most part. But then again, I am my own creature, 2015, plastic, fabric, metal, 177 × 185 × 36 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Stuart Shave/ Modern Art, London; photograph: Simon Vogel

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