An exhibition by Frederik Nystrup-Larsen & Oliver Sundqvist
part the wild horse’s mane three times
white crane spreads wings
brush knee twist step
turn to moon
repulse a monkey four times
orange dance with lemons
carry the tiger over the mountain
snake creeps through the grass
wave to people in long sleeves
press your face against your mind
to fold a carpet
think about where the white goes
when the snow is melting
left grasp birds tail
right grasp birds tail
play the lute
make your snake eyes
green dragon drops water
fair lady works shuttles
dive for pearls
and step up to form seven stars
wave hands like clouds
right heel kick
punch ears with both fists
left heel kick
hold rumors in stretched arms
you are allergic
lower movement stand on right leg
needle at sea bottom
flash the arm
turn block parry and punch
– Frederik Nystrup-Larsen & Oliver Sundqvist, 2019
Soft Boxing is Danish artist duo Frederik Nystrup-Larsen & Oliver Sundqvist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, for which they have developed a series of 9 luminous sculptures of stainless steel, coated acrylic knit and fluorescent LED pipes. The works offer a new reading, bending and breaking of the definition of sculpture as form, spatial relations, volume, line, color, texture. Soft Boxing is motion arrested in time.
The title refers to Tai Chi, the immemorial Chinese martial art consisting of gentle and forceful continuous movements with combination of mind, strength and proper breathing. Soft Boxing is a meticulously phenomenological exploration of this gradual transition of flowing movements, one after another. Breath in, breath out. Zen. Channeling energy from mind, through the body and its gestures, onto the material, Soft Boxing is rendered as a sculptural legacy of Tai Chi’s aesthetic movements.
Connoting Tai Chi’s poetic charm and fundamental Yin/Yang-duality, each sculpture consists of a skeleton of bended steel strings, determining the object’s biomorphic form – reviving the 1950s idiom of organic design – stretched by a seamless coated acrylic-knitted tube, swung in a direction, a gesture, a command. Soft Boxing is 9 unique variations of this ritual. 9 displacements of form within the transference. We are confronted with these anthropomorphic shapes, quite physically, before they catch our eyes as 9 shadows of the previous and the following luminescent creatures,some dangle from the ceiling, other balance or sit on fragile legs, resembling a butterfly chrysalis or a praying mantis.
Light – immaterial and weightless – have the potential to carry evocative power. Characterized by its weightless luminosity, the sculptures provide a softened, indirect light for a more ambient experience. The delicate, fibrous sleeves disguise the shaped fluorescent LED pipes, while softening their harsh glow, transforming the electric light back to the light of our origin – the natural light from the sun and moon – and this is the light that will continue to fill our rooms.
Frederik Nystrup-Larsen (b. 1992) and Oliver Sundqvist (b. 1991) is a Danish artist duo and currently MA-students at Royal College of Art (Sculpture) and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design (Furniture). Embossed by their own time, they easily cross boundaries between various media; installations, sculpture, interior design and recycled objects with a flair for treating complex materials with dignity and innovative creativity. Recent exhibitions include Eros Torso, a collection of vases made of repurposed single-use plastic containers, created for the flower shop Tableau in Copenhagen, and Mater, a series of pigmented concrete vases exhibited at the refurbished Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, the design store Totokaelo in New York and at VOLTA14 as part of V1 Gallery’s booth presentation Tables, Pots and Plants.They have recently received acclaim in The New York Times, Sight Unseen, Ignant and Dezeen. Soft Boxing is their first solo exhibition with V1 Gallery / Eighteen.