Painting with dead hands

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Artist Morten Viskum will give a live performance in London using a dead human hand as a paint brush in order to demonstrate how his new series of paintings have been created.

Date:  18 November  - 18 December
Location: London

Norwegian contemporary and controversial artist Morten Viskum will hold his first solo exhibition in the UK, presenting his latest series of paintings which were completed using dead people’s hands.

The exhibition will be on display 18 November - 18 December, preceded by a preview and a live performance by Viskum where he will use a dead human hand as a paint brush in order to demonstrate how his new series of paintings have been created.

Viskum showed his first series of paintings made with a dead hand in Copehagen 1999 (‘The Hand that Never Stopped Painting’). The artist actually owns several hands, each one of them expressing a different style and meant to give the paintings a certain personality. He points out that the hands are not merely tools, and that the idea of the hand being linked to an immortalised personality is absolute central to his art work.

Viskum, who sees himself primarily as a performance artist, draws attention towards the work process rather than the finished paintings themselves through his live demonstrations. The patterns of the hand are easily recognisable, forming abrupt lines, applied vertically in many layers and colours. Viskum’s art brings to mind the style of American action painting; an art form where paint is spontaneously applied through vigorous, sweeping brushstrokes and the chance effects of dripping and spilling paint onto the canvas.

Born in Norway 1965, Viskum studied at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Oslo before he attended the Royal Academy of Fine Art Oslo 1993-1997. The artist’s background in natural science creates an interesting context to his artworks, and explains parts of his clinical and cold aesthetic expression.

Along with the paintings, Viskum’s actual ‘Hand with the Golden Ring’ will be on display. This dead hand has a golden ring on its ring finger, supposed to suggest the vanity and affluence of the diseased. Who the hand belonged to is one of Viskum’s well-kept secrets.

‘The Hand with the Golden Ring’ by Morten Viskum:
18 November- 18 December
Vegas Gallery
45 Vyner Street
London E2 9DQ
Opening times: Wed-Sun 12-6pm
Private view: 18 Nov 6.30-8.30pm

Source: Royal Norwegian Embassy in London 

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