Imagine if Pee-wee Herman was given full licence to decorate that Playhouse of his as he saw fit. Not a Pee-wee who’s literally twitching with a repressed campiness only the ’80s could inflict, but a liberated, debauched Pee-wee, with a fun house that toes the line between childlike dream and fetishist nightmare.
The fun house would look a lot like one of Anja Carr’s performance exhibitions. Carr creates immersive, fantastical environments peppered with imagery drawn from our juvenile consciousness – a flash of My Little Pony here, a spark of Ninja Turtle there – then she lacquers the once-innocent icons with her own brand of Scandinavian salacity. Disarmingly kitsch on the surface, she lulls her audience into a false sense of pseudo-nostalgia. The cuddly aesthetic contrasts the underlying, sensually sinister subtext. Kind of like getting aroused over a topless Barbie doll.
Hailing from the Oslo collective Pink Cube, Anja Carr brings a cutesy aesthetic that unsettles the viewer once they’re immersed in her twisted world. Carr uses a combination of video and performance to convey scenarios which show people parading around in handmade costumes partaking in the surreal, the generally fucked up. A Miss Piggy-esque creature feeding an enormous boar apples in a barn. A pink bunny eating a carrot atop a piano, whilst a Speedo-clad muscle man prances around in the foreground. Rabbits fisting. It’s awesome and difficult to put into writing. Get out, see it for yourself, leave perversely turned on and confused. Anja takes one photograph of each of her performance exhibitions and showcases them together as a series; a sort of serial killer memento collection.
Carr is currently occupying the first floor of The Agency in South-East London (in collaboration with NOWAY) until 21 June – sharing the building with Simona Brinkmann as part of the Hold on! Let Go! exhibition.