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Studio 17, Stavanger

Put Your Freedom in the Corner. Save it for a Rainy Day.
A large stretched canvas formed out of a seemingly rigorous system of squares stands at the center of Andreas Soma’s solo exhibition at Studio17, displaying a series of brand new works. Pixels, squares, patterns, grids; call it what you want. Upon a closer inspection a plethora of details reveals itself. Rich textures, expressive brush strokes, paint drippings, juxtapositions and alliances of tonalities. The immersive canvas is accompanied by a series of intimate watercolors composed of tiny colorful squares with irregular edges and an organic placement in relation to the sheet of paper that supports them. Each of the patchworks both establishes and breaks its unique set of rules in regards to color variations and methods of paint application. A common feature of the works is a diluted and mellow quality of color that lends the exhibition a dreamy ambience.

In his seminal book «Difference and Repetition» the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze frees difference and repetition from negative connotations and marks them as positive forces producing unpredictable effects. It is this kind of energy underlying seemingly monotonous tasks that Soma seeks to mine while alternating between the desire to both re-enact and distance himself from a set of given rules. Inquiring into the medium of painting Soma’s series also nods towards Gerhard Richter’s «4900 colors» and paintings from mid-1960s in which he replicated industrial color charts by paint manufacturers. But Richter is not the only one whose practice is evoked by the show.

The name of the exhibition, «Keep your freedom in the corner. Save it for a rainy day», is the title of Martin Kippenberger’s politically charged sculpture that refers to the eradication of the Berlin Wall. Elucidating his critical standpoint Kippenberger writes about the work: «history is something you need to feel». Although Soma maintains that the primary reason for appropriating the title lies in the word freedom – which he associates with the sphere of artist activity – there is also another, more personal side to the story. That is to say the exhibition takes place in the former premises of Kunstskolen i Rogaland, in which Soma first started painting. By picking up the paintbrush and revisiting his old heroes Soma completes a circle and, as Kippenberger suggested, feels the history.

– Text based on a studio conversation between Andreas Soma and Mirja Majevski