Bjarne Melgaard is literally a self-styled bad boy. The anti-hero subject of his own paintings (along with his mother’s Chihuahua as side-kick), Melgaard depicts his pseudo-biographic tales of misadventure, humorously championing the cause of the misfit, the mongrel and the meek.
Drawing from pop culture with slacker ease and sophistication, comic books, graffiti, and porn become Melgaard’s echelons for painterly subversion, ‘heights’ from which to begin a rakish plummet of epic proportions. Hairy-chested escort agency showgirls cavort predatorily with Gay Satan; the ever-victimised Chihuahua has a moral quandary over the discovery of a dead hooker; buck-toothed Melgaard cries like a girl amidst a barrage of spunk-pumping pricks, socially excluded by purple-headed dogs in puppy sweaters. It’s the stuff of nightmares and therapy addiction: raucous, obscene, humiliating, and thoroughly endearing. Daddy: A Novel By Bjarne Melgaard, a deliciously perverse ‘self-portrait’, merely hints at the literary magnitude (and psychoanalytic depths) of this vulnerable raging character.
Melgaard’s canvases are fraught with put-on angst both in their subject and stylings. His delectably abject rampages of pomposity and impotence are unnervingly raw in their disclosure and shameless in their chutzpah: Territories awkwardly claimed by mis-matched colour, heavy black lines spilling out crude pictographs or withering into painfully sensitive gestures, hastily scrawled text flourishing megalomaniac autographs or toilet graffiti stage directions, punctuated by spontaneous splatters of thick gooey pigment. Combining the immediacy of drawing with the monumentality of painting, Melgaard’s canvases effortlessly balance the tongue-in-cheek earnestness of expressionism with bold composition, rarefied intimacy and immodestly flaunted technique.
Melgaard’s sofa sculptures extend these un-harnessed sentiments into the realm of the real, seducing viewers as complicit participants in his expanding meta-narratives. His designer furniture, upholstered with fabric created from his drawings, exudes the luxury of nonchalance. The height of leisure and extravagance, decorated with the veneer of sub-cultural attitude and fashionable degeneracy, they transpose desire, longing, and lifestyle affirmation to the most illicit art of lounging.
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