Monday 2 March 2015

Please Return - A.K. Dolven

Please Return, by A.K. Dolven,

at the Ikon, Birmingham.

AK Dolven works through a variety of media - painting, installation, film and sound - and is concerned with the representation of sublime natural forces. In this respect she identifies with 19th century Norwegian painter Peder Balke and some of his work was also included in the exhibition. (There is an exhibition of Balke's work at the National Gallery, and you can see some of it here ). Both artists share a fascination with the Arctic.

Just Another Puberty, 2014 (oil on aluminium)

looking closer

Peder Balke, Stormy Sea, c1870 (oil on paper on wooden board)

Horizontal Painting, 2015 (oil on aluminium)

looking closer

A4 Double Horizon, 2014 (oil on aluminium)

Dolven has explored white painting since the late 1980s and talks about the importance of white surfaces as 'an emptiness that offers possibilities'.

Peder Balke, Northern Lights Over Coastal Landscape, c.1870 (oil and paper on cardboard)

Peder Balke,  Ship off a Coast in Stormy Sea, 1844, (oil on canvas)

A4 Black I, 2014 (oil on aluminium)
This series of paintings alludes to Balke: layered application of  colour on aluminium panels, small scale and minimalist.

A4 Black II, 2014 (oil on aluminium)

A4 Black IV, 2014 (oil on aluminium)

Vertical On My Own, 2011 (16 mm film transferred to HD video projection with sound)

Dolven's shadow against a stark white snowscape - the figure itself is not revealed. This exemplifies Dolven's ongoing interest in vertical and horizontal orientations: 'to me, the vertical symbolises that which does not endure, such as human beings and architecture. The horizontal embodies the eternal, expressed in the landscape'.

The exhibition concludes with the please return sound installation in the Tower Room, accessible only by stairs. This journey resembles the artist's arduous climb to the top of a mountain in Lofoten to make her exhortation, 'Come'.


  1. Most thought-provoking work from both artists. I do like the contemplative nature of the white painting and the film. Also her thoughts on the vertical and the horizontal are food to mull over. Thank you.

    1. I thought the observations about vertical and horizontal were interesting too, Olga. I enjoyed the exhibition.