Sep 27, 2010

In Kjell Varvin’s installations, drawings and sculptures, geometry and anarchy combine to take on an astonishing life of their own: the compositions grow out of the wall, or into it, it’s hard to tell. The components, some two-dimensional drawings and some built in three dimensions, consist mostly of clear, straight lines. But this alone is no guarantee of stability. Varvin loves to push architectural structure and logic to absurd lenghths. In spite of his evident respect for and affinity with the heroes of constructive and concrete abstraction, he makes them quake on their pedestals. Instead of the unapproachable aura of the classics, his constructions always come across a little like amateur experiments that anyone could try out for themselves in the garden shed. This gives them a positively democratic and slightly self-ironic tone. His “drawinstalls” are thus not so close to the great purists of modernism as to the balancing act with everyday objects in Fischli & Weiss’s Quiet Afternoon (1984). In both cases, viewers involuntarily hold their breaths: one move too many and the planned order dissolves into a chaos of worthless material.
Susanne Altmann, curator of “Lines On The Move”, The Drawing Biennial of Norway 2010