The painting series Dysfunctional male parent investigate the relation of the black square to contemporary visual culture. The term total text was introduced by Kazimir Malewich to describe the accumulation of overlapping texts merging into one single black monochrome surface. The artist compared his composition of 1915 to a printed text page, the black square representing text while the surrounding white edge referred to the margins of the printed page. Accordingly, Malevich´s original understanding of the black a square is irreconcilable with later Modernist art theory and its rejection of any content in monochrome painting apart from the idea of the sublime.

In post-Conceptual art theory, high Modernism´s interpretation of early Modernism is compared to the myth of the Sphinx, with the iconic artwork taking the role of this classic figure, confronting the viewer with unsolvable questions. Within a setting of splendid isolation the Modernist artwork is reduced to an uncommunicative, dysfunctional paternal figure in rejection of dialogue with the viewer.

On the surface of the paintings Dysfunctional male parent, text is painted in oil colour, insisting on the specific physical quality of the medium, yet dependent on the general lighting conditions and the direction of light in order to be legible, addressing the movement of the viewer in space. Instead of presenting a vue ideale, a re-reading of one of early Modernism´s most prominent icons is suggested. Informed by the concept of total text, these paintings challenge the allegedly sublime status of the black monochrome by the disturbing intrusion of texts, mirror images and reflections on the picture surface, addressing the viewer here and now.

Kazimir Malewich: 1879-1935 

Dysfunctional Male Parent 2009: Detail

MGM Gallery, 2008
Dysfunctional Male Parent II: MGM Gallery, 2008

203x203 cm, Oil on canvas 2009
Dysfunctional Male Parent: 203x203 cm, Oil on canvas 2009

Dysfunctional Male Parent (detail): 2009

203x203 cm 2008, Stavanger Museum
Dysfunctional Male Parent II: 203x203 cm 2008, Stavanger Museum

(The non-Objective World) 1927
K.Malewich Die gegenstandslose Welt: (The non-Objective World) 1927

Dysfunctional Male Parent (detail): 2009

K. Malewich: Plenairiste