actual_size #5. Bjarne Melgaard


Light Bulb Man, 1997

This rather tiny and blurred image is the best picture of the sculpture by BJARNE MELGAARD I have found online. Entitled Light Bulb Man (1997), this work is actually the central element of the exhibition Daddies Like You Don’t Grow On Palm Trees that opened yesterday in New York at VFiles.

It all started in 1996 when an investor bought the Light Bulb Man sculpture during the first solo exhibition of BJARNE MELGAARD that took place at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The buyer did literally exploit the work by turning it as a so-called ‘souvenir shop sculpture’ according to the Norwegian artist. After 11 years in a court case, MELGAARD won back the rights to the sculpture, ‘his victory relying on his legal firm insisting on his deteriorated state of mind at the time of passing on the rights to his work’.

I want to take back this sculpture and reclaim it as a key work of mine, separate from all the corrupt assholes who have been using it and making a huge profit off it without me making anything out of it. That’s all fine by me, but I want to make this work about something other than money and iconography and see what happens when it is reproduced and remade into a new character, dressed by new, interesting and complex designers with whom I also collaborate on my fashion line The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment. – BJARNE MELGAARD via purple diary, May 20, 2015 

After having been presented last May as a pop-up shop at Sammlung Friedrichshof in Zurndorf (Austria), the Light Bulb Man washing process continues in New York, where garments, sculptures, and site specific pieces is filling the space of VFILES on Mercer Street.

➝ read more about actual_size, a special project on we find wildness here

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