Copenhagen, 1980. Lives in Barcelona.
Rasmus Nilausen’s installation of paintings is an homage to philosopher Giulio Camillo’s sublime and ridiculous attempt to explain the entire universe and allow all its relations and meanings to be beheld at once.
Camillo built his Theatre of Memory in Venice in around 1530. Inverting the perspective of classical theatre, a single spectator could stand on a central “stage” to look out at an auditorium of seven rows of seven pictures. An occult matrix of divine, celestial, and terrestrial knowledge, this mystical rhetorical device enabled the entirety of existence and its workings to be called to mind and read off.
Evidently flawed and over ambitious, Nilausen’s liberal revival of the memory theatre format draws on 49 works from his own painterly and allegorical universe. Visitors are invited to wander among images which themselves seem to be going for a walk, to adopt multiple viewpoints, see unfamiliar connections, and summon new memories. The first row takes on the seven planetary deities of Camillo’s Renaissance design: Diana (the Moon), Mercury, Venus, the Sun (represented by a banquet), Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Photos: Latitudes and Hiuwai Chu
About Rasmus Nilausen
For Rasmus Nilausen, painting is intuitive and instantaneous—like talking—yet also deliberate and editable—like writing. It is a theory and practice of vision and artifice, as well as a language that is part learned and part contrived, at times easily translatable, at others rather baffling. Nilausen revels in the elision of brushstrokes with text, image, word, symbol and quotation, and he draws as much on minor subjects, such as puns, pilcrows and punctuation, as on traditional genres such as the still life. His canvases sometimes look like notebook pages or application windows that might vanish with a click. Classical allegories can meet cartoonish motifs in his work, and its ongoing thesis on looking and representing the world is told through a growing cast of characters: eyeballs and tongues, mirrors and arrows, fingers and candles. His 2019 solo exhibition Bluetooth incorporated a further ideogram, the logo of the digital wireless standard of its title, a runic symbol evoking the initials of Harald Bluetooth, who united the tribes of Denmark and Norway in the 10th century.
Rasmus Nilausen is a graduate of the Universitat de Barcelona (2010), where he has taught painting since 2019, and Chelsea College of Arts, London (2011). From 2017 to 2018 he was a research fellow at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. He has had solo exhibitions at Overgaden, Copenhagen (2019); Team Gallery, New York (2019); and garcía | galería, Madrid (2018, 2014, 2013). His group shows include Painting: Ongoing Renovation, Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid (2021), and Across the Sand, CentroCentro, Madrid (2020). rasmusnilausen.dk