Torben Ribe

Torben Ribe, born 1978 in Hobro, DK, lives and works in Copenhagen. 


In his recent paintings, Ribe depicts what could be called ‘interior situations’ – though they are the kind of interiors that we would readily put behind us. Like a Scandinavian welfare state version of Gordon Matta-Clark's architectural interventions, Ribe has made a series of paintings in abstract form like chunks cut straight out of the walls of institutional and private spaces. Dental Clinics, schools, grocery stores, offices... Constructed relics from everyday life in the postmodern Danish middle class. Nondescript like everyday life, but also handled (painted and presented) with a surplus and a precision that disrupts our consciousness. His paintings pertain a sensibility of insisted presence and meaning in the midst of the ordinary. Without much social indignity, Ribe’s perspective is the lifestyle scenario of the past decade seen from the cultural horizon of Scandinavian reality.

     Ribe’s works cut and paste the literal into the language of abstraction. Woodchip wallpaper, insisted on by landlords to cover dents and knocks in walls and painstakingly removed by aspirational property buyers re-enters their home as the surface of a seemingly abstract painting. A corner of his parents bedroom, influenced by TV diy shows, themselves ‘inspired’ by modernist design, become not just the subject but the matter of painting. Other unavoidable daily banalities find place in the work, paintings covered in unpaid bills, a gif of the artists credit card projected, endlessly spinning onto a scratched canvas. Iphone and Ipad magazines ‘displayed’ on paintings amplify the fascination with and immediate redundancy of the now. As a disobedient heir of modernism Ribe is both challenging and quietly disruptive.


Torben Ribe received a Master of Fine Arts at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (2006).


Selected solo exhibitions include Indoor Paintings, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2016); Landscapes and Fruit, Galerie Hussenot, Paris, FR (2013); Medium sized paintings (mostly) on walls on walls, IMO, Copenhagen, DK (2012); Among Other Things, BN 24, Hamburg, DE (2010)


Selected group exhibitions include Cool, Calm and Collected, ARoS, Aarhus, DK (2017); LEAN ISSUES, Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, JP (2017); Black & White-ish, Charlotte Fogh Gallery, Aarhus, DK (2016); Painters? Painting?, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2016); Decembristerne, Den Fri Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, DK (2016); Neighbours, CAR drde, Bologna, IT (2016); Ctrl_Alt_Del, Fort Delta, Melbourne, AUS (2015); BARBADOS, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2015); RRBGGGRWW (polysemes), Grand Century, New York, NY, US (2014); Time Machine, Frutta Gallery, Rome, IT (2013); Spatium — Danish Contemporary Art, KUMU Art Museum of Estonia, Talinn, EE (2012)


In 2015 he was awarded the three year work grant from The Danish Arts Council (2015).


Torben Ribe – Contemporary Art Daily
Torben Ribe – Frieze Magazine
Torben Ribe – Lost Painters
Torben Ribe – Danish only