The Omnipollo

Installation views from The Omnipollo at Kuvva Gallery in Amsterdam, 2014.

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Impressions are something hard to put into words — or images. They are fleeting, fractured, and never give an objective overview of the experience. As such, no two impressions are ever the same and it is this that Karl Grandin seeks to explore with the show ‘The Omnipollo’ at Kuvva Gallery. Herein, the viewer is introduced to Omnipollo, the nomadic beer-brewing project headed by Karl Grandin and Henok Fentie that designs and brews small-scale batches of craft beer in cooperation with breweries around the world, as well as its mythology. The story of Omnipollo has grown and developed as the project has; it is no set thing but a shifting, organic project that, while spearheaded by this Swedish beer-enthusiast duo, remains an individual experience.

This story is told through the exploration of Grandin’s illustrations and designs; graphic, minimalistic, and colourful, they nonetheless maintain a psychedelic, even dark, air, tinged with a nagging incomprehensibility. The works presented in ‘The Omnipollo’ all belong to the same mythology, the aesthetic explorations paralleling Omnipollo’s own forays into quality beer brewing, but in this exhibition become decontextualized and juxtaposed along new lines. In this way, rather than creating a prepackaged world to be consumed, the works create a surreal atmosphere in need of translation, into which the viewer is plunged. The metaphor that springs to mind with Grandin’s artistic approach in this show is that of the rebus, but perhaps a more accurate comparison would be to a Rubik’s cube — a series of apparently disparate elements that come together with a bit of disentangling; and impression that crystallizes only through viewer participation.

The gateway drug to this shifting, trippy cosmos is the beer around which the show is organized, created especially for Kuvva Gallery by Omnipollo, at Brouwerij de Molen. A purple-pink sour wheat made with raspberries and key lime, this special brew will be the first step the visitor takes into the Omnipollo world, before being led around the space decorated with prints of past bottle designs, murals, and even a tipi designed and illustrated by Grandin.

Photos by Annabel van Royen.