"Don’t Girls Keep Secrets in the Strangest Ways" Astri Album,
Maria Irgens Blakstad,
“Don’t Girls Keep Secrets in the Strangest Ways”
In the exhibition “Don’t Girls Keep Secrets in the Strangest Ways”, Bergen-based painter Astri Album proposes a hydro-feminist relational aesthetic as a strategy for neo-political times. With a keen eye for humour and a noticeable movement away from the post-political, Album brings with her an entourage of musicians and architects building ephemeral sonic and hydrological interventions at Mikey Laundry Art Garden. Album’s painterly style harnesses the energy of 20th century pop approaches, which relied upon ironic symbolism of the postmodern age –think Hockney or Warhol. But, like Anselm Reyle, she finds new sensibilities and new forms of expression. Album primarily works with un-primed canvas and acrylic. Objects, and graffiti are operationalized as brightly coloured banners within pleasant landscapes offering viewers any number of guesses at their significance. But, I would argue there is honesty in the motifs. One does not find the kind of irony of a generation ago.
Moving between the cellar gallery and the open-air gallery audiences will delight in the drip, drip, drip of skin fountain installations. With thin veils of latex, these works invite introspection on what secret wishes accompany the loose change collected in their depths, or what Boris Groys called models for a new political world. This world is partly revealed through the handy work of architect Maria Irgens Blakstad. Blakstad’s foray into monumentalism within nature squarely places the architectural interventions in MLAG’s en plein air gallery as a bearer of water, a kind of dream-like Aquarian gesture, forward thinking, and humanist.
This exhibition is especially lucky to have river-poet and lose canon Shikoswe testing the house acoustics with pleasing sonic interventions, holding the exhibition’s desperate arenas within a coherent body of work.
I am pleased to have such a fine group of artists exhibit as the final show of the season for MLAG’s 2021 curatorial programme. We have had many fine contributions, but this one promises to be a delicate harkening to this year’s attention to women and non-phallogocentric positions through art and culture, and these things are a valuable part of what grows in the garden.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year.
Astri Album is painter based in Norway.
MLAG, November 5-7, 2021