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'FRESH' by Rune Bering and Kevin Josias at Tableau, Copenhagen

Active Fresh, Ocean Fresh, Fresh Boost, Fresh Power Tropical Blossom, Power Fresh, Ocean Breeze Fresh Boost, Clean Fresh Pine, Clean&Fresh Country Scent...

The exhibition FRESH is the result of artists Rune Bering and Kevin Josias ́s investiga- tion of nature as an ultimate seduction strategy of both man and product. Starting with TABLEAU’s flowers and their scent, they researched perfumes that compliment the body’s natural smell, and discovered a world of nature freshness surrounding the mar- keting of consumer products. Between synthetic fragrances, flowery labels, rendered water stock footage, romanticized artifice and idealized biology they found fresh nature in the toilet cleaner. 

The concept of freshness radically reconfigures constructs of nature. Take Venus, a paradigm of natural beauty. Venus was born out of seafoam and then — surrounded by a swarm of beach roses — rode a shell to the shore, moved forward by the breath of the wind gods Zephyr and Aura. Dipping into mythology, this is a story of divine love and natural beauty. In the landscape of the Anthropocene, Venus and her seashell evoke the ever- shifting topography of the planet: oceans turn into mountains, shells trans- form into stone, dead plankton converts into crude oil. But against the concept of fresh- ness, Venus now smells like a freshly cleaned toilet: animated by the breath of Zaphys and Aura, she is Ocean Fresh. 

Just as Freshness corrodes clichés of nature, the exhibition is the material residue of an artistic research process driven by solvent: perfume posters dissolve onto backlit Perspex, leaving magenta traces of familiar blossoms and typography from the advertising cam- paigns. Dried pink flower petals mix with dried petal-shaped glue residue from this transfer process. The dried poster pulp now forms the backdrop of popular perfume bottles. 

They juxtapose the resin casts of toilet cleaner bottles, whose submerged labels are shim-mering inside, like dissolved pearls or like a petrified oil coat. The containers are positioned around a Venus fountain. The basin is made of chemical liquid collecting tanks cast in concrete. Left-over cleaning products coagulate 

12.6.20 — 1.8.20

Text by Natalie Koerner

Photo by David Stjernholm

Tableau

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