When Norwegian artist and author Bjarne Melgaard set out to create A New Novel By Bjarne Melgaard, his strange, sprawling exhibit at Luxembourg & Dayan gallery in New York City, he went all out.
The centerpiece of this highly eccentric show is a series of 13 new paintings, but the exhibit also encompasses Melgaard’s drawings, furniture, fabric, paintings, wallpaper, and even a snuff film, which fill the townhouse where Luxembourg & Dayan is located. Besides this wealth of work, the artist also created more than 150 dolls for the exhibit that he has posed in scenes from his new novel (called A New Novel, it’s his first work written in English). Oh, and he got Proenza Schouler Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez to dress them. Two of their sketches are shown here.
“The purpose is to recontextualize the novel,” Melgaard, who earlier this year staged a show that featured live tiger cubs, says of the exhibit. “Now the novel can reemerge again and again and repeat itself. One of the gallery’s floors has a new chapter that’s not in the book; it’s written behind the paintings. And on another floor, there are other chapters from the novel as well as the Proenza Schouler collaboration.”
Working with Melgaard, who’s known for his provocative work, was an exciting experience for the designers.
“Bjarne is very much interested in collaboration and gave us carte blanche to do something that related to the characters in his new novel,” McCollough and Hernandez say. “The clothes are totally outside of ‘fashion’ and are closer to costume than anything we’re used to doing. This kind of collaboration was a lot of fun and gave us the freedom to play a little outside of our usual system.” Judging by the duo’s brilliant, beautiful work for A New Novel, we can only hope that this is only the first of many other artist collaborations.
A New Novel By Bjarne Melgaard is on view through Dec. 22 at Luxembourg & Dayan.