The exhibition is a continuum of themes that have been significant throughout the artist’s work: numbers, codes and latent ambiguities. As with most of Stalbohm’s works, the exhibited pieces will point out an element of chance within a set structure or a conundrum, yet without solving it.
The betting slips document bets the artist has been placing since last year in betting shops around London. The bets range from assertions about events within popular culture and the art world.Each betting slip has the respective odds handwritten on them (1/500, 1/100 etc.) Placed next to each other in the installation, the slips will suggest logical interrelations and absurd inverse conclusions: One thing becomes more realistic than the other.The bets turn elusive thoughts into definite statements; an initial point to a narrative which could turn out to be either an investment or future curse.
While the bets illustrate a mathematical, yet not easily comprehensible method of prediction, the sculptures are their emotional counterpart: The bread loafs in the shape of cubes continue with the overall gambling theme, but they are handmade and essentially food. They create a homely atmosphere and suggest a traditional ritual - like an offering - for which they might have been baked. Additionally, their presence is unformulated due to the dwelling of the dough. While the numberes are definite and reassuring facts, the dough is an undefined dwelling shape which we tend to fill with metaphors.
Based on scratch cards, Stalbohm’s silver paintings are partially scratched to reveal cartoonish figures and words. The artist covers an already existing image with the silver varnish that is used for scratch cards. Depending on the light, the streaks of paint, and with them, the movements of the artist become visible, creating an abstract composition of lines and squares.
Like artists before him, Stalbohm first creates a monochrome and emphasises on the surface of the paintings. But only to break it up and scratching parts of the paint off again. By doing so, he seemingly reveals the artistic process of finding the perfect composition.The cartoonish figures as well as the letters and words that Stalbohm’s scratches reveal, might resemble graffiti: Messages in a code that only certain people can understand. The scratches seem spontaneous, aggressive, even destructive. Yet is is under a surface and not on the surface where they come to exist. Also, the artist knows the images that he painted over, yet he only knows them from memory. Hence every scratch is a contemplated gesture - a speculation - searching for the perfect composition and the balance between figurative and abstract forms.
Like many of Stalbohm’s earlier works, this new series of the silver paintings focuses again on the strategy and the approach to creating a piece of art. His works are therefore always documents for their own sake: The viewer finds herself confronted with a loop of perceiving the object and the perception of its process within the object. The austerity of the presentation, the disclosure of the works’ construction and the laconic undertone of the titles, respectively, break with the traditional perception of the artist as a mystical figure. Instead the works function as verbalization and documentation of a concept.