How long has that been a problem?

Frank Taal Gallery, 2023

How long has that been a problem? is a fanfiction about horses and boundaries, consisting of several sculptures and a collaboration with a psychic, during a tandem-solo together with David DiMichele at Frank Taal Gallery, 2023.

Alban Karsten is a conceptual artist who creates performances and sculptures out of a strong curiosity about “the other”. He regularly invites professionals from different fields – such as a social psychologist, blacksmiths and a hypnotherapist – to collaborate with him on his projects. In these collaborations, he tries to integrate their methods and expertise into his work, and thereby give them a major role in the outcome of the work. Through his projects, Alban explores what it takes to be an expert, and what authorship and singularity mean when part of the direction is handed over.

Prior to How long has that been a problem?, Alban visited a psychic, to whom he submitted all kinds of questions about his upcoming exhibition. These questions could be sometimes very direct, such as “Should I use more color in my work?” and “What does the horse jumping object still need?”, to quite implicit and existential: “How did I end up in this place?” and “Why do horses recur so often in my work?”.

These questions served as a method of getting to understand and knowing what to do for his upcoming exhibition. It proved a reassuring prospect to talk to someone who walks different timelines, and who could see in advance what the exhibition would turn out to be in a few months’ time. That someone was Joël, an alien guide, who answered Alban’s questions through the medium. Together with the medium, Alban decided that each answer Joël gave had to be developed into an artwork in his exhibition.

It was the prelude for an exhibition full of questions, lamentations and confessions about (missed) opportunities. The outcome was a series of sculptures and wall pieces where Alban experimented with centuries-old obsolete crafts. By deliberately misinterpreting these techniques, a new visual dialect emerges: a stylised ode to awkwardness, ambiguity and misunderstanding.

Made possible with the kind support of: Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Healing Centre Beyond Medicine and Frank Taal Gallery.
Ceramics assistance: Yiannis Mouravas
Carving assistance: Maarten Nico
Intarsia and upholstery assistance: Kitty Maria
Metalwork: Rogier Brinkman
Pictures: Alban Karsten and Kitty Maria