Early-May art: The doyen who doodled

Who said dawdling was a waste of time?

Alfred Steiner: ‘Anything goes’
May 5-June 6; Gallery Poulsen, Flaesketorvet 24, Cph V; nikolajkunsthal.dk/en

This exhibition by the American-born artist Alfred Steiner will take you by surprise.

Steiner started off by scribbling eyes, noses and other body parts on his classroom notes when he was a student, but has come a long way since then.

Nowadays, Steiner’s cartoonish works in watercolours are inspired by art historical and pop cultural sources – and he clearly has a thing for the grotesque.

When beginning a new piece, Steiner first decides on a fictional character and then tries to create this character by using objects that are meaningless on their own.

Steiner uses objects that seem insignificant on their own, which would not really be described as peculiarly interesting or beautiful, and arranges them into something expressionist and interesting.

These objects can include toys, half-eaten fruit, rotten teeth, dead insects or sexual organs.

By putting these objects together artistically through the use of compositional logic, Steiner creates a character with a strong and powerful narrative.

Steiner combines the traditional naturalist method of illustration and the traditional medium of watercolour.

Come to Steiner’s exhibition with an open mind and be ready to use a good part of your imagination – you’ll need it to digest ‘Sponge Vomiting Rainbow’, one of Steiner’s most popular works.