Fredrik Raddum, African Reindeer, front, painted plastic, 305 x 100 x 60 cm., 20
In his sculptures the Norwegian artist Fredrik Raddum (b. 1973) explores the relation between Man, Nature and the animal world.
However, the boundaries between these different categories seem to be rather blurred.
At the show in Martin Asbæk Projects Raddum presents a hallucination that is both hilarious and heart-rending. Flowers looking like antennas growing from the ears of a small child, while giraffes reveal human characteristics.
In his sculptures Raddum references to pop art as well as Romanticism always by the means of a subtle and touching humour that evokes the beholder's empathy rather than creating a distance. His cartoon-like sculptures contain a specific mixture of irony and an unfulfilled longing for unification of Man and Nature – in a harmonious way.
With DELIRIUM in Martin Asbæk Projects Raddum displays Man's total dominance over Nature – and the confusion resulting from this.
Raddum push the cultivation of the landscape to extremes when he provides a green hill top with toy wheels so that the hill can be moved around according to ones wishes.
The manipulated Nature is also a topic of ambiguous interpretation in the monumental sculpture "African reindeer", where Raddum unites Africa and the northern arctic region in a crossing of a giraffe and a reindeer. The exotic animal has thus been provided with large antlers and a knitted cap – suitable for a life on the northern degrees of latitude.
The 3 meters long "giraffe-reindeer" reminds one of a gigantic trophy. The piece carries associations to safari tourism and the trophy culture of the hunting sport where game that has been brought down serves as stuffed decoration in the living room at home.
In this sense Raddum's piece seems to speak ironically of human vanity and the desire for displaying ones own strength.
On the other hand Raddum's trophy has seems very human – in a positive sense of the word. The giraffe in disguise express a curious awareness about itself: it knows that it's a giraffe but wishes to be a reindeer.
In the work "Holiday" Raddum challenges the common idea of making holiday pictures. The tourist Fredrik Raddum has photographed traces from animals that have been killed in traffic on Majorca. In this morbid sense he puts the relation between animal, Man and Nature into further perspective.
Raddum made the series of photos while being artist-in-residence at Centro Cultural Andratx, Majorca in 2005.