MATT BRYANS at Hordaland Kunstsenter, Norway
Matt Bryans 'Lands'
17 January - 09 March 2014
The core component of Matt Bryans' Lands exhibition at Hordaland Art Centre is an installation of buttstocks that once belonged to bolt action rifles, semi automatic rifles, automatic rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns, shotguns, and air rifles; all sourced by the artist over recent years and presented here as an entire collection for the first time. Accompanying the exhibition is also a publication that supplements, supports, and mediates this collection, and yet does so without completely giving up its own artistry – the publication listing each of the 129 stocks with details of origin, history, and current condition, written in a language that borrows from the objectifying processes of the museum register.
The human stories that run through the exhibition are displaced by the animated histories of the butt stocks, overturning our central position in the work’s narration. Bryans decenters the human players in this history of military conflict, in favor of the materials that constitute it. Lands follows from Matt Bryans' previous works that have refigured the body to the point of near collapse, and through the materials he uses we are also reminded of the echo of war in a year that marks the centennial of the beginning of World War One.