John Kørner: Apple Bombs at Victoria Miro Mayfair
The new exhibition at Victoria Miro poses questions about human nature, survival and technology. On show are a selection of new works by the Copenhagen-based painter John Kørner. The main artworks being exhibited are a series of paintings entitled Apple Bombs. These are somehow surreal depictions of semi-abstracted apples falling from the sky onto the people below, sometimes dropped by sinister aeroplanes.
Two of the canvases feature men wearing beekeeping suits; one is tending his hive whilst the other sits back, apparently drunk on the sweet honey that has spilled out of a cup onto the floor. The works have a double edge: on the one hand, apples rain down onto a fertile colourful landscape like parcels of food being air-dropped onto an imaginary promised land; on the other, the apples resemble bombs or explosive devices (as the title suggests), and the suits of the hapless beekeepers start to remind the viewer of the sort of protective clothing and masks that might be worn by people coming in after a nuclear attack.
Kørner uses watered-down acrylic paint to create dreamlike and hazy landscapes, the paint seeping away into the canvas in places. There is no clear allegory behind the series of works; instead, Kørner gives the viewer space to form their own interpretation. He creates ambiguous references to human consumption and technology (no one can see these works without having Apple and their ubiquitous products in the back of their mind), without either directly condemning or celebrating these aspects of contemporary life.
Respectfully hung in Victoria Miro’s Mayfair gallery, the works offer interesting food for thought, and open up a range of issues and questions. At the same time, this is one of the drawbacks of the show: it’s hard to draw any conclusions about the paintings and about the exhibition as a whole, and this is somehow frustrating. The viewer leaves wanting to know more, but finding that a deeper level of inquiry isn’t on offer.
Photos: Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London © John Kørner
John Kørner: Apple Bombs is at Victoria Miro Mayfair from 8th April until 14th May 2016, for further information visit here.