Cosmopolitan Super Fruits
Solo Exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery · 8 April - 7 May · 2022
Victoria Miro is delighted to present Cosmopolitan Super Fruits
Following Intercontinental Super Fruits, John Kørner’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States (held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit from November 2021 until January 2022 and available to explore on Vortic), this exhibition builds on themes of consumerism, globalisation and networks of distribution and exchange.
Cosmopolitan Super Fruits takes as a starting point the idea of the corner shop, a place of supply and consumption familiar to us all. Always treating content with various degrees of abstraction and metaphor, in this body of work Kørner brings into focus modes of display (fruit on the tree and vine, and picked, packaged and on the shelf) and the movement of foodstuffs as they collide with aspects of contemporary politics and the dissemination of ecological thought in the context of ever-evolving concepts of the local, regional, national and global.
Nourishment – the life-enhancing properties of fruit and the visual and intellectual sustenance of art – is a connecting theme. So too is seduction – fruit’s ingenious ways of drawing attention to itself in order to disseminate its seed, versus the artist’s deployment of brushmark and colour to carry, Trojan horse-like, a barrage of ideas. In this regard, fruit, a traditional subject in art history carrying intimations of life’s brevity in the genre of still life painting, and a longstanding motif in Kørner’s art, is deployed to raise questions that place the viewer/consumer squarely at their centre.
Unified by bright white grounds, the works range through formats and scales, travelling through art historical tropes and pictorial languages. Kørner, at times, opens up an illusionistic perspectival space; at others, he keeps the action close to the surface, layered or scroll-like. Here, consumerist expectations of there being, for example, strawberries, watermelon or grapes at perfect ripeness anywhere in the world at any time of the year gives rise, on the one hand, to heady displays of the perpetually sweet, tasty and desirable and, on the other, an acknowledgement of the high-tech and carbon-heavy methods needed to fulfil these demands.
Kørner’s Problems – oval or egg-like forms that appear in his paintings and, in this exhibition, as sculptures – allude not to specific problems per se but to the nature of problems as they emerge and are comprehended in the world. They act as metaphors for the human condition. For this exhibition, a number of sumptuously coloured glass sculptures might be considered Fruit Problems, giving physical form to the themes of transportation, consumerism and globalism that run throughout the paintings on view.
As ever, Kørner’s work encourages musings that can seem contradictory: on the one hand it is apparently open and easy-going, on the other it seems freighted with awkward questions alluding to specific world events.