KVIUM, Michael

Nationality: Denmark
Website: Website
Danish artist
Born in Hosens 1955
Lives and works in Copenhagen

The world is afraid – afraid of death, afraid of crime, afraid of AIDS afraid of incest, afraid of itself, afraid of fear. And the world has its head in the sand.

The fears remain unacknowledged, major issues unattended to, and the war in Yugoslavia is repackaged into sound bites and a “human interest” story. This is the type of superficial approach Michael Kvium rejects. He reacts against it in the strongest and most explicit way possible.

Foremost in his arsenal against this desensitisation and emotional mental fuzziness is the tactic of shock. In his work taboo has become a taboo. Nothing is too explicit, too gruesome, or too carnal. He presents the world with the dark shadow it refuses to acknowledge.
Culture and civilization are but a surface: scratch it to find latent basic instinctual survival drives – all the more dangerous for their being suppressed.

It is not surprising then that Kvium’s work has been described as lacking in compassion. And yet...

As Kvium wants to remind us in his organic recreations (flesh and organisms which appear familiar but are not actual), his work is only a creation of the imagination, or less even – only paint on canvas, ink on paper. It may be his interpretation of what he sees as the state of humanity, but the horror we read into it is our own. As such, this horror is inversely correlated with the extent to which we as viewers have acknowledged this dark shadow ourselves. Something shocks because it undermines the beliefs on which our world is built. But if a mere two dimensional object – paint on canvas – has the power to shake this foundation, it must already be shaky.

Kvium aims directly for this shaky ground.