View from the mud An exhibition by Thomas Klein at Helmer design og antik

View from the mud
Exhibition | Thursday d. 15. Oct. - Saturday d. 17. Oct. 2020 | Pantheonsgade 3 | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Elena Stanciu | Translated by: Christoffer Henneberg

Location: Helmer design og antik
Organizer: Helmer design og antik

“A world [is] the sum of many things – the people, the dirt, the growing things, the moons, the tides, the suns – the unknown sum called nature, a vague summation without any sense of the now.” - Frank Herbert, Dune 

Looking at Thomas Klein’s drawings, housed these days at Helmer Design og Antik, you may feel a brief desire to know the "when" of the pictures. The generosity of spatial elements calls for a temporal counterpoint, the harmonious "now" to the very specific "here." The wall labels, however, won’t give that away: “By the highway”, “Nedergade 38” – pins on a map of Odense you’ll have to recall on the spot. 

Klein’s drawings explore local landscapes and their capacity to allow human presence. Heavy questions of access, borders, freedom, and agency might arise and it’s very interesting to ponder these issues, while glancing at nature, commonly a space of retreat, atemporal and apolitical oases in the city. “Cadastral boundaries” are elements Klein considered in making his drawings, and the reality of these traceable marks of property on land will pull you from the reverie of his works and into more immediate concerns: does nature have a say in drawing its own borders? If shared landscapes belong to all and to no one, who really decides on their scope and layout? 

The edges of the canvas itself are boundaries the artist seems to negotiate with – unframed, cut in free-hand, the sinuous margins of the paper move away from a “cadastral,” sharp order, and mirror the meandering of landscape, when allowed this freedom. In a corner, traces of pencil are left uncoloured – the landscape escapes the frame.

Among the antique furniture and design objects on display in the gallery, the exhibition invites an immediate contrast – outside and inside; decorative man-made spaces and free-range natural areas; view from the mud and view from the precious space of an antique collection. 

I strongly encourage you to see the exhibition and practice empathy with the viewer from the mud; see through his eyes and follow his strokes on paper. And, of course, follow his route in nature and meet these landscapes yourself. But, do mind the cadastral boundaries!

Link to the event

Written by Elena Stanciu

Elena has an MA in American Studies from SDU, and currently works as Features Editor for arts and culture publication PETRIe. She is interested in visual culture and contemporary art, design an...