The Plasticene Era – A Solo Exhibition by Martin Wittfooth

Gallery Poulsen presents The Plasticene Era, a brand-new solo exhibition by Canadian artist Martin Wittfooth. In the exhibition, Martin Wittfooth uses human figures as a reflection on the way that we have placed ourselves centrally within history’s unfolding narrative. The self-staging and the attempt to make ourselves the star of our own lives, as manifested in our increasingly ubiquitous relationship with social media, removes us from the physical, real world and forces us to live an artificial life online where success is measured in likes. In these new works, we’re no longer simply influencing the world around us, but have become addicted to the notion that we have to occupy a starring role, where content doesn’t matter, it’s all about ME! The addiction to approval and recognition we can receive on social media here and now is like a fix, as soon as the intoxication is over, we are already working on the next, fresh thing, and this cycle then repeats itself.

Artifice, pretense, and objectification are all frontal themes explored thoroughly in Martin Wittfooth’s new solo exhibition. Within each new work, the viewer is witness to an act of artificial transformation through adornments of paint, ornamentation, and alteration. Figures frolic across the scenes and leave their influence on their surroundings and its inhabitants, partaking in a forced, theatrical transformation, caught up in voyeuristic performance and the revelry of abandonment and make-believe. The transformation present in the paintings is not unlike the staging of the self that takes place on social media, where objects and places are carefully curated to fit into a specific narrative.

This new body of work speaks of a new kind of reality: one in which our culture often alters its representation of self and the way it and its inhabitants are perceived, the way they perceive their surroundings and partake in superficial performance; the creation of new myths, to paint over and to hide our shared blemishes of the old, the replaceable, obsolete narratives. In other words, history itself is remolded by culture to better suit the optics of the new world. The result of these mechanisms is a plasticene era where nothing is set in stone.

Through surreal depictions of familiar objects, Wittfooth focuses on peoples’ ability to adapt, or even completely alter, nature, our common history, and even themselves to fit perfectly into the needs of modern society.

“Dreams are private myths. Myths are public dreams” – Joseph Campbell

The Plasticene Era is a part of the solo exhibitions in Gallery Poulsen that serve the purpose of presenting a detailed and in-depth portrait of an artist’s interests, societal perceptions, observations, artistic practice, and general oeuvre in a way that can uncover universal environmental tendencies and issues while also offering insight into the contemporary way of life.

Martin Wittfooth debuted at Gallery Poulsen in 2020 in the exhibition Apocalypse Now, our annual summer exhibition largely affected by Covid that year, which was subsequently followed by the three-person exhibition New World Disorder in 2021. This exhibition became the catalyst for this new series of reality-distorting works. The exhibition presents seven large oil paintings and one sculpture.

The Plasticene Era opens on Saturday, September 17th from 12.00 to 16.00 in Gallery Poulsen, Staldgade 32, Copenhagen V. Martin Wittfooth has taken the long journey across the Atlantic and will be present at the opening reception, available for a chat about his new body of work.

We are looking forward to see you at the opening reception!