As the banana hits the fan
When I fell off the roof of my house, or into a canal it was because gravity made itself master over me. 
Like much of Bas Jan Ader’s work, Jan Hakon Erichsen centers on the simple act of falling. Putting himself in the contradictory position of being both the subject and the object of a story, both their performances leave the audience holding breath as the banana hits the fan.
Working with mundane objects arranged into mechanical structures is as if Jan Hakon Erichsen – aka the “balloon destroyer” in culture blogs – has sneaked into Marcel Duchamp’s studio to play around with the ready-made “Bicycle Wheel”. Or so it seems in his latest video “It All Falls Down” which titles his solo exhibition in the gallery after having spent some time at L21 residency last summer. There he built a wooden zip line structure that had a knife attached to it with tape that, when slided down, would pop a line of standing balloons. If you imagine the scene, a loud, dry, rattle sound floods your head. The build-up of it is as important as what’s happening in Hakon Erichsen’s videos.
When thinking about the DIY aspect of the sculptural constructions, and the analogic mechanisms the artist puts into work, the word “bricolage” and its use by philosopher Claude Levi-Strauss provide a contextual ground for them to exist, but also to understand Jan Hakon Erichsen’s personae.
Bricolage is French for “tinkering about”. In its old sense the verb ‘bricoler’ applied to ball games and billiards, to hunting, shooting and riding. And in our time the ‘bricoleur’ is still someone who works with his hands and uses devious means compared to those of a craftsman.
Levi-Strauss uses bricolage to describe a characteristic feature of the thinking that creates myth. Accordingly to him, its themes are a subset of a wider culture and already have their own meaning, but they can be rearranged in new combinations and contexts. Bricoler’s universe of instruments is close and the rules of his game are always to make do with ‘whatever is at hand’, that is to say with a set of tools and materials which is heterogeneous because what it contains bears no relation to any particular project, but is the contingent result of all the occasions there have been to renew or enrich the stock or to maintain it with the remains of previous constructions or destructions. A wooden plank might be knocked down somewhere along the piece, then brought back under another shape. Reformulating the manner we envisage objects from our day to day life, either feeding off that relationship or turning it upside down through doing something unexpected, Hakon Erichsen allows to unfold an absurd world.
Alongside his constructed scenes filmed in video, the exhibition includes a series of wall sculptures where every single material aspect of them bounces us back to Scandinavian culture. The title “How Scandinavian of Me” comes from Björk’s song “Hunter”. The full quote goes like “I thought I could organize freedom. How Scandinavian of me.” The pinewood materials in the shelf is something you see a lot in Scandinavian furniture, specially from the 80s when the artist grew up. The car jacks are from a Scandinavian chain of car accessory stores who paint everything in this blue color. So, as Jan Hakon Erichsen’s remarks, in a sense the knives are disrupting the Scandinavian organized freedom. Moreover, the way the knives are placed give a sense of breaking through the wooden plank, but at the same time are frozen in that precise moment, as if they were a trophy. Much of Jan Hakon Erichsen’s practice moves within the friction of rest and interference, giving space to the spontaneous and dangerous in an ever-controlled world.
 Bas Jan Ader, “Rumbles”, Avalanche Magazine, 1971. Mentioned in “CHANCE (Documents of Contemporary Art)”, MIT PR, 2010.