Born 1978, Steinkjer. Lives and works in Oslo.
Anders Sletvold Moe’s artistic research is focused on painterly issues that extend beyond the painting per se, but also on the spatial environments in which art is exhibited. He builds on the legacy of minimalist artists who challenged the relation between artworks and their physical contexts. Many of Sletvold Moe’s works are produced quite literally by his cutting into a gallery wall, or by building new constructions out from the wall and by creating painterly effects with colour, light and reflection. Such interventions dissolve the boundaries of artistic media that were considered autonomous during the modernist period. Sletvold Moe demonstrates a genuine interest in Modernism and art history, and in the further development of an abstract visual language, yet one extending beyond the modernistic boundaries of painting. He is therefore rooted in his own day and age, but through his actions and aesthetic reflection, also relates to the history of abstract art.
The exhibition NN-A NN-A NN-A presents Sletvold Moe’s ongoing series Black Letters. It consists of small plates of black Plexiglas painted with geometrical, abstract motifs in different tones of black paint. Sletvold Moe has culled these motifs from other artist’s works. The artists’ subjective material treatment of paint is one of the objects of Sletvold Moe’s research, being emphasized in the way the black paint is applied to the acrylic glass with alternating flat and textual brushstrokes. The series can be read within the context of the long, eventful history of black paintings – from Aleksander Rodchenko’s Black on Black paintings in 1918 to Ad Reinhardt’s and Frank Stella’s Black Paintings in the 1960s, to Pierre Soulange’s Outrenoirs. The small A4 format conjures a sense of intimacy in the artist’s handling of the motifs. At the same time, it strengthens the association to posted letters, as does the series title. Due to Sletvold Moe’s interest in art history and the pioneers of abstract painting, each individual work can be read as a personal, non-literary letter directed to the artist whose motif is appropriated. The series therefore can be understood as a means of paying homage to certain modern artists. Seen together, the works create a meta-narrative about the history of abstract art. They also retain a strong personal relation to their creator, since Sletvold Moe’s selection is marked by his interest and admiration for the motifs and the artists who first created them. Abstract art’s canonized pioneers are placed on the same level as lesser-known artists who are of great personal significance to Sletvold Moe. His way of drawing them out of oblivion makes the series seem like a subjective art history and a personal library of forms and images.
In contrast to modernist artworks and their autonomous status within four-edged canvases, Sletvold Moe works deliberately with spatial presentation. This strategy perpetuates a minimalist practice, but so also does his use of Plexiglas – an industrial material. Our thoughts turn to Donald Judd, one of the artists to whom Sletvold Moe pays homage. The presentation of the series – in a room painted in a matt black that reflects no light – enables the small paintings to ‘pop out’ from the wall. The black Plexiglas has a mirror-like surface that reflects both the viewer and the room. From these surfaces, the black paint’s diverse tones emerge. The appropriated motifs are recognizable at the same time as we experience them in a significantly new way. In the Black Letters-series, Sletvold Moe combines his interest in modernist art with his contemporary rootedness, referencing, appropriating and re-actualizing abstract motifs from the past.