In Kjell Varvin’s installations, drawings and sculptures, geometry and anarchy combine to take on an astonishing life of their own: compositions grow out of a wall, or into it, it’s hard to tell. The components, some two-dimensional drawings and some built in tree dimensions, consist mostly of clear, straight lines. But this alone is no guarantee of stability. Varvin loves to push architectural structure and logic to absurd lengths. In spite of his evident respect and affinity to the heroes of constructive and concrete abstraction, he makes them quake on their pedestals. Instead of the unapproachable aura of the classics, his constructions always come across a little amateur experiments that anyone could try out for themselves in the garden shed. This gives them a positively democratic and slightly self-ironic tone. His “drawinstalls” are thus not so close to the great purists of modernism as to the balancing act with everyday objects in Fischli & Weiss’ Quiet Afternoon (1984). In both cases, viewers involuntarily hold their breath: one move too many and the planned order dissolves into a chaos of worthless material.
Susanne Altmann, curator of The Drawing Biennial 2010, Moss, Norway