EUROPE IS BALDING, 2016

Basel 2017
Paula Cooper Gallery
Installation
ceramic tiles and tile adhesive on entertainment center, video monitor
180.0 x 420.0 x 40.0 (cm)
70.9 x 165.4 x 15.7 (inch)
Matias Faldbakken’s multimedia audio and video installation EUROPE IS BALDING shows a shrouded, backlit figure reciting a story on camera. The witness’s speech, pitched precisely to the point at which it has been rendered unintelligible, slips from comprehension, collapsing into obscurity. Intercut with this ‘interview’ are images and footage, understood as supplementary evidence of the storyteller’s account. Yet, as the audio is abstracted, the image flow is unmoored from sense and structure; a bewildering non sequitur of incongruous imagery, ranging from the historical to the absurd, hovering between narrative progression and pure retinal feed. The narrative ultimately fails to resolve into a singular meaning, drifting instead into what one might call the realm of the scroll. The video plays on a monitor installed in a massive entertainment center that has been crudely covered with disjointed ceramic bathroom tiles. Bearing evidence of the artist’s handwork, the mass-produced media console becomes an open-ended signifier: part ubiquitous manufactured commodity, part fetishized art object and part abandoned wreck.