issue two/ 2010 published by nabroad www.maagmag.com
RUTH BARKER MARIANNE MORILD NATLAND SB
JET PASCUA SIMEN JOHAN NINA TORP by Lisa Slominski RANDI NYGAARD by Wojciech Olejnik ANNE-MARIE CREAMER by S. E. Barnet HEGE DONS SAMSET INA OTZKO AMINA BECH LOCUS
WHO IS ANE LAN?
/guest editor/ When following the recent news stories – from the war in Afghanistan or the US Senate election, to the student’s anti-tuition fees demonstration in London one cannot shake off the feeling that more than ever the media seems to be creating some sort of parallel reality. As we follow the reports, we feel something is amiss. The “true” meaning of the occasion is escaping us through the back door. According to the French thinker Jean Baudrillard, we live in an era of code and simulation, an era where the mass culture of seduction seems to dominate the mainstream. Baudrillard observes that this leads to the collapse of opposites so that we, for example, no longer can be sure what the left and the right mean in politics, as all parties seem to resemble each other. In unison it is difficult to decide what is true or false in the media. In other words – this time from the pen of Karl Marx – ‘everything which is solid melts into air’. In the engaging and detailed interview conducted by Audhild Dahlstrøm with the artist who uses the alter ego of Ane Lan, Baudrillard’s theories are mentioned as one of the major influences on the work. Ane Lan seems to be a truly post-modern character – ambiguous, multilayered and multi-gendered. Her video and performance pieces, which often involve
other collaborators, are full of references to the contemporary media world and they poignantly reflect on the artist’s feeling of displacement within the ‘hyper-reality’ it offers. After the encounter with Ane Lan, this second issue of måg follows with an impressive choice of material - from profiles of the artists Jet Pascua, Hege Dons Samset, Ina Otzko and Simen Johan -to an unorthodox text by Natland SB – a word play, which could perhaps be described as both Joycean and Deleuzean, and which manages to be meaningless and simultaneously deeply meaningful. We also welcome back Ruth Barker with an extract from her conversation with the archaeologist and educator Lindsay Allason-Jones. Barker and Allasson-Jones discuss Allasson-Jones’ research into tombstones, in terms of their meaning and wider significance. Has our desire to be remembered changed throughout history?
Kristine Nilsen Oma’s report on her life-changing residency in Malaysia. With refreshing honesty, Oma reflects on her initial prejudices and her awakening to the fact that the value of any culture is relative to those who inhabit it. Finally, and one of my favourite pieces, is Marianne Morild’s intelligently written essay ‘Nomadic Landscapes’. Here, Morild examines the transitory nature of landscapes, which – as she points out – can be defined as cultural expressions of land, manifestations of a national or cultural identity, commercial resources, or perhaps even decorative sceneries. Welcome to måg issue two. Enjoy.
We also get to read an insightful conversation between the artists S.E Barnet and Anne-marie Creamer. Barnet questions Creamer; ‘which was the object- the object or the story?’
‘which was the objectthe object or the story?’ In the letter section readers will find interest in
PAVLA ALCHIN IS A LONDON BASED CZECH ARTIST, LECTURER, CURATOR AND WRITER. SHE RESENTLY CURATED SCHIMATIZO, (A VIDEO ART HAPPENING) AND THE THIRD SPACE (FOR NABROAD). PAVLA LECTURES ON RUSSIAN, SCANDINAVIAN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN CINEMA AND VIDEO ART.
COVER PHOTO AURORA E. SANDLILJE www.anelan.com MAGAZINE DESIGN BY NABROAD © 2010 www.nabroad.org
PUBLISHER: NABROAD NORWEGIAN ARTISTS ABROAD EDITOR: AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM GUEST EDITOR: PAVLA ALCHIN SUB EDITOR: LILLIAN UTNE SKJŒVELAND EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS: PORTIA PETTERSEN CHRISTOFFER EIDE ADVERTISING: COD DIGITAL MEDIA LONDON Copyright of all editorial content is held by måg. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden. måg © 2010 www.maagmag.com
GALLERY 102 Hege Dons Samset 110 Ina Otzko 116 Amina Bech 124 Locus
FEATURES 8 WHO IS ANE LAN? / Audhild Dahlstrøm 30 Nomadic Landscapes / Marianne Morild 38 JET PASCUA / måg 50 RANDI NYGÅRD / Wojciech Olejnik 56 SIMEN JOHAN / måg 64 NINA TORP / Lisa Slominski
78 ANNE-MARIE CREAMER / S. E. Barnet
3 Guest Editor / Pavla Alchin
92 Asking: How do we speak? What do we say? We open up our mouths and out fall stones / Ruth Barker
134 SWEDEN / Stuart Mayes
96 Breaking news: Natland SB mainly shows Chinese works / Natland SB
142 MALAYSIA / Kristine Nilsen Oma 146 THAILAND / Christian Wolther 148 COMMENTS UNEDITED
28 FEBRUAR 1986 MATTIAS HÄRENSTAM 19 FEBRUAR – 20 MARS 2011
Parallelt vises utstillingen “Skandinavian Forest” med ti skandinaviske fotokunstnere: Ida Andersson Katinka Goldberg Linda Hofvander Nicolai Howalt og Trine Søndergaard Geir Moseid Erik Friis Reitan Marthe Elise Stramrud Kim Westerström og Ingvild Kaldal Utstillingen er kuratert av MELK galleri
!"#$%&'%("')%*%#)*#$ Åpningstider: Onsdag – søndag kl. 12.00–16.00, torsdag kl.12.00–18.00. Storgt. 4, Lillestrøm Omvisninger: Søndager kl.14.00. Kunstbutikk & leselounge www.akershuskunstsenter.no
WHO IS ANE LAN? by Audhild Dahlstrøm
AD: There is a lissom man standing behind the curtain in a studio at The Barbican. She is dressed in a nightgown holding a flute. He looks nervous, although I cannot tell if she is, or if he is only pretending to be. It makes me nervous; at the same time I feel an immense urge to laugh. Who is ANE LAN?
/ANE lan/ /ane LAN/ AL: In 2002, I made a video installation titled Ane Lan -“Res severa verum gaudim - true happiness is a serious matter”. In this work I staged myself and two male friends as cross dressers - mimicking the visual appearance of the iconic Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and other blond Hollywood movie stars from the same period. I tried to look at the way in which gay and queer sub cultures worship glamorous divas, divas often with traumatic life experiences. The title Ane Lan was an adaptation of the name Anne Land, one of the first militant suffragettes in nineteenth century Great Britain who campaigned for the women’s right to vote. Land was one of the more militant feminists, famous for insisting on wearing men’s clothes. In that period, I also worked with the idea that a work of art had to be understood independently of the artist catalogue, the economy or a cultural point of departure. I refused to publish my name when exhibiting the work, which consequently made people think that Ane Lan was the name of the artist. I found interesting the notion that it is almost impossible to present something within the concept of “art” without having a name attached to it. My pragmatic solution was to stick to this fictional name, which also made it possible for me to control and create the artist’s personality as part of the art project, or more precisely, make a comment
on the artificiality of the process of creating any personality, or identity. AD: What is your relationship to truth and reality? AL: The key theme in my work is how we relate to the ‘reality’ presented to us by the media. I am very much influenced by the theories of Baudrillard, Debord and Dufour. When a sense of intimacy or other concepts are described as “real”, “humble” or “personal”, it is often done in interplay with the media trends. Traditionally it has been the “avantgarde” or the “independent” media projects that first experimented with alternative ways of understanding or presenting the “real”, and then the media industry quickly absorbed it. When working with video and performance, I don’t always try to understand and relate to the current media language on a conscious, analytic level. The artistic language I use derives more from the discomfort of feeling displaced within the reality offered by the media industry, searching for the gaps and glimpses of the uncanny which can (hopefully) be found somewhere in the mistranslation or misinterpretation - in the mimicking of the media language. It is important to note that my “live” art investigations come from my own references to the history of film and television media. As the early films and television broadcasts were those of filmed theatre performances and theatre sets – from which point a new moving image language and a set of codes of un-
derstanding were developed, it is my interest to investigate how this advanced language applies to the original setting; the stage. How does the ‘mediated’ human being relate to the body as represented in a real physical encounter? Can we no longer grasp concepts that are presented to us as physical experiences not as an audiovisual tour on a screen, to the extent that the theatrical performance has to mimic the media in order to be understood as an authentic experience of liveness? AD: You often collaborate with other individuals during your performances; collaborations, which often expose a complex, yet fully controlled relationship between you as the artist, the performer and the collaborator. Can you tell us how your collaborations are structured, and how you form the relationship to your collaborators and the persona Ane Lan? AL: My collaboration partners are predominantly my family or my artist friends. It is rare that I work with people whom I don’t have a close relationship with. Usually I first get an idea for a piece, and then invite those I would like to work with into the process. The ideas are often built around the personalities I have at my disposal. If someone doesn’t want to be involved, the project may be dismissed. I always consider very carefully, which of my friends or family members could participate, depending on how I read their personality, and what I feel that personality would represent symbolically. In my opinion an actor or a performer can never
“impersonate” or “be” another person or character; one can only, make one’s own true personality visible through the enactment of a character or a situation. It is only by trying to be another person that you can really be yourself – hence; the masquerade is the true nature of human interaction. This can sometimes be a little bit tricky, of course. Those of my friends who first volunteer to participate in my projects are those who have a narcissistic drive to be in front of a camera or to stand on a stage. That is also often the main symbolic value of their personality. How do you explain this to him/her? “I want you in this part because I see you as a great narcissist, and this piece is about narcissism”. And how do you persuade those of your friends and family who most of all hate being the center of attention to perform either in front of a camera or on stage? This is crucial if I want to speak of the true discomfort of being objectified before the media gaze. In order to succeed I try to create a transparent but solid contract of fiction and drama between the collaborators and me, which often implies costumes, and acted out clichés. I aim for an equal participation, but I guess what I am really looking for is a psychological projection (underneath the theatrical gesticulations) which my collaborators, or myself, are unaware of - the sides of our personality brought out by the play, contributing to the work in a way originally not intended. However, this has always been what makes the display of human interactions intriguing to watch, either on film or on stage. Where a camera is present, the participants are consequently also able to investigate
their resulting mirror image. I find this aspect a driving force when I myself enact my characters - trying, but being unable to fully grasp what my own personality, or the personality I project, represents in relation to those of my collaborators. The eternal psychology of the mirror. AD: Where do the ideas and research come from in shaping Ane Lan as a character or characters? As an audience, is it possible to understand Ane Lan and ‘get to know her’? AL: When presenting Ane Lan as a personae with female characteristics, I of course relate to gender and queer theory and the ongoing discourse within this field, but it is also very important for me to think of the Ane Lan character as a media personality i.e. one delivering a specific message through the media. When presenting a persona with an ambiguous gender and sexuality within the media format, I see myself as not questioning gender norms and modes of sexuality as such, but rather removing this issue from the presentation. I do think that the audience can more easily relate to a character if it appears without an obvious sex and sexuality. Simone Beauvoir’s famous quote “You are not born as a woman, that is something you become”, as a self-creation in the face of social norms, seems very relevant here. The artificiality of being “a woman” reflects the artificiality of the media, thus renders the appearance of someone being super-real and relevant to us. When shaping the character
Ane Lan, either with female or male characteristics, it always seems that s/he is the self-questioning, reflecting type, sometimes passive or almost resigned in relation to the conditions to which s/he is bound. It is as s/he doesn’t understand, or has totally misunderstood the complexity of the situation, which leaves her/him in an inactive state, asking naïve questions. AD: You have previously referenced Janteloven where the main motif is that one should not believe that one is any better than anybody else. This is based on the old Scandinavian concept that has influenced Scandinavian attitudes since before the WWII. It was the author Aksel Sandemose, a Danish/Norwegian novelist who created the concept of Janteloven in his book ‘En flygtning krydser sit spor’ (A Refugee Crosses his Tracks), in which Sandemose portrays a fictional town called Jante, a small town very much like his own hometown where everyone knew everyone. How has this particular Scandinavian attitude influenced you as an artist? AL: I think the mentality of “Janteloven” in the Scandinavian psyche has both positive and negative effects. In my view, the social democratic welfare model developed in Scandinavia, or the idea of equality, which sustains this model, is in many ways a result of this mentality. It is also present in the art world of these countries, where a large community of artists is supported through state funding, stipends and grants.
From the international perspective this creates a unique environment as in the rest of the world the support for the arts is much sparser if not nonexistent. However, many Scandinavian artists fail to realize the uniqueness of their situation. Instead of taking full advantage by creating important and large-scale art projects, they get caught in a spiral of keeping up with the rest of the indigenous population in terms of consumption and material excess. Additionally, I also feel that the present system of artist support in Scandinavia is also the result of previously run artists’ campaigns for better living conditions. In order to get the funding in the social-democratic society, they had to present themselves as “poor”, as a marginalized group with few social rights. The resulting system is thus not based on the thoughts of Art as something worth supporting in itself; it is more like a system of keeping a group of people out of poverty, an act of charity. Don’t get me wrong, I do support proper living standards for artists, and I also very much support the social democratic welfare model, I just wanted to point out what the “Janteloven” mentality can do to the psyche of people in these countries. That is why traveling is invaluable to artists. For me personally, it has been very important to visit and carry out projects in places outside the “WestEuropean/USA - axis of contemporary art economy“, in order to fully understand my own privileged position, and to experience how art projects, quite literallyy,
/olsen/ /ANE LAN/
/olsen/ /ANE LAN/
can change the lives of people and make a real difference in places where art and art projects appear as something out of the ordinary, as a surpassing of the conditions in which they are presented. AD: Throughout your work you challenge governments and structures, the political and the religious. Has it always been important for you to convey a message? AL: For me it is important to investigate historical, political and social issues from an unusual point of view in order to raise new questions. The artist’s position is very interesting as s/he is allowed to look at structures in society in a totally different way - combining all kinds of knowledge, verifiable or not, in order to pose new questions or create new hypotheses. I feel very intrigued by the idea of engaging in purely formal investigations and experiments whether they involve video, music, tapestry, or even painting. However, each time I try to inaugurate such a project I always come to a point where I experience a strong feeling of displacement and disillusionment. It is as if the object, however sublime, still remains just a commodity, finely calibrated for the art market. I feel that I cannot possibly justify spending my time by merely producing another product to be consumed - however joyful the process of making it might be. So once again I turn to performance and video art, enacting my personal take on political, social and historical issues in order - at least - to have some
sense of purpose, or - in the best case scenario, to contribute to a larger quest for improving human nature or something vaguely pompous like that. I am, of course, fully aware of the fact that although it has been argued in the past that the performance-based works resist being the objects of consumption, they are now fitting perfectly into the already established “artevent economy”. In this sense, my arguments are nothing but pure nostalgia. I guess that is the nature of the late post-modern condition: schizophrenia, always being conscious of the opposing arguments and the negations of one’s own ground statements, choosing a position based on fascination rather than belief, and ending up defending the fascination or “fetish” on the basis of unsound reasoning or by separating a specific discourse from its context, often a discourse with a strong tautological implication. Back to Baudrillard again…
/ANE LAN/ /olsen/
/ANE LAN/ AD: You recently performed SIRKEL both in Russia and China. What were the biggest differences in audience response to the same work? AL: I found this especially palpable with SIRKEL. Where the knowledge of references to key paintings of the renaissance, and underground club performances of 1920â€™s Berlin, could be seen as vital, in order to understand the work fully. Whereas the knowledge of these references is minimal or non-existent, like in China, we experienced alternative readings, more related to the local situation where the rapid industrialisation and increasing consumerism divide the society into those who participate in the changes and those who do not. The Chinese audiences were very enthusiastic about the skill involved in the performance itself but also in the relationship between the technologically â€œadvancedâ€? and the traditional/historical. In Russia, the discussions where more focused on the use of silence and the lingering tempo in SIRKEL.
/ane lan/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: (Front Cover) Woman of the World #1 2008 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan Woman of the World #5 2008 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan DREAM CHAMBER production photo #2 2007 Photography C-print size 40 x 30 cm Photo credit: Jan Tore Jensen Image courtesy: Ane Lan Vesta #1 2006 C-print 100x80 cm Photo credit: Jan Tore Jensen Image courtesy; Ane Lan SIRKEL production photo #5 2009 (Detail) Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan SIRKEL in Bergen #3 2009 Documentation photo Photo credit: Thor Brødreskift Image courtesy: Ane Lan MIGRATING BIRDS production photo 2005 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm Photo credit: Siv Bugge Vatne Image courtesy: Ane Lan Woman of the World #3 2008 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm
Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan Woman of the World #2 2008 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan SIRKEL in Bergen #1 2009 Documentation photo Photo credit: Thor Brødreskift Image courtesy: Ane Lan Woman of the World #6 2008 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan Woman of the World #4 2008 Photography C-print size 100 x 80 cm Photo credit: Aurora Emilie Sandlilje Image courtesy: Ane Lan SIRKEL in Chongqing #12 2010 Documentation photo Photo credit: Kevin Ryan Image courtesy: Kevin Ryan DREAM CHAMBER production photo #1 2007 Photography C-print size 40 x 30 cm Photo credit: Jan Tore Jensen Image courtesy: Ane Lan
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS: Galleri Maria Veie Oslo, Norway January 2011 Ane Lan has been invited to present a new performance production in the Gallery. www.gallerimariaveie.no Fundacão Esporte, Arte e Cultura Franca, Brazil 05-27.03.2011 Ane Lan has been invited to present the installation PACTO FEMININUM as a solo show in one of the art spaces operated by the Fundation. Curator: Vitor Monico Truzzi of PAPO art dialogs The presentation is supported by The Norwegian Arts Council and PRO LYS as. www.francasite.com SOFT Oslo, Norway October 2011 Ane Lan has been invited to present a new solo exhibition project specially designed for the Gallery profile. www.softgalleri.no Bayimba Interantional Festival for Music & Arts Kampala, Uganda September 2011 Ane Lan has been invited to present the performance “SIRKEL” within the 2011 edition of the Festival. Festival director: Faisal Kiwewa www.bayimba.org
landscapes by Marianne Morild
/morild/ “What if we clothed the mountain?” said the juniper one day to the foreign oak, to which it was closer than any other. The oak looked down to find out who was talking; then looked up again and was silent. (…) –“ what if we clothed the mountain?” said the juniper to the fir on the other side. “If anyone should, it would have to be us”, said the fir; stroked his beard and looked over to the birch: ”what do you think?” – But the birch glanced carefully up towards the mountain; so heavily did it lean out over her that she felt she couldn’t even breathe;” let us clothe it in the name of God” said the birch, and although they were only the three of them, thus they resolved to clothe the mountain. The juniper went first.” This extract from Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s story “Arne” shows how the trees decided to “clothe” the mountain. This idea was one of Bjørnson’s and other influential Norwegians at the time; the mountains were bare and naked above the natural tree line, and as such, aesthetically unpleasing. Bjørnson later spearheaded the movement for planting trees on the mountains, a tradition which carried on until after the 2nd World War. Today, a hundred and fifty years after Bjørnson’s book, the amount of trees on the mountains are threatening the undergrowth in Norway and the fragile balance of species that have thrived at high altitudes. The landscape has been changed, primarily because of an aesthetic idea, and the “look” of the mountains with trees represents a definitive change in its entire ecosystem. The forest has been moved. Landscapes are not static sceneries we can admire from a distance. Landscapes are in constant flux. The same physical area can change appearance, purpose and be altered down to its basic structures; it can grow and shrink as boundaries are moved. Landscapes have been used as cultural expressions of land, defining a national or cultural identity, as a source to be utilised for commercial purposes, or perhaps a decorative scenery to be enjoyed for
its beauty - or is it simply land which needs protection from all of the above? The designation of an enclosed area of land is more often than not controversial. It often means that whatever use the land had previously, it may now be changed, or that the future use of the land may be subject to limitations. The degree of human involvement in the landscape is mirrored through a range of language expressions whose main principles are best illustrated by words such as “the park” and “the national park”. The history of the English park goes back at least to the 12th century, when parks were the must-have accessories of kings and noblemen. The designation of a park was called “emparkment”, and was established by walking the distance around the park, thereby setting out its boundaries. The park could then be fenced off, have ditches dug around it or have large walls erected around them. Emparkment was a highly contentious activity, because it often meant that the king would include villages and arable land as well as forests, lakes and fields, and whole villages could be demolished and its inhabitants removed. This change of boundaries and use of the land relied on the perceived right of the king, an expression of wealth and the desire for the kind of beauty that comes from riches. These parks were used mainly for hunting and the extraction of timber, and the parks were stocked with wild deer for breeding. Timber was used for the kings’ buildings or for warfare, which famously ended the great timber trade in England due to overuse. So the parkland changed again, from domesticated forest and deer to grazing fields and cattle, the more bucolic landscapes of Constable. Included in the land belonging to the estate, and bordering on the “park”, were the gardens -intensely sculpted landscapes that underwent a multitude of re-fashions and re-designs in relation to the series of passing zeitgeists, and usually offered a marked difference in appearance and use to that of the park. The idea of a park which was not “landscaped” but rather the opposite, a wild, untamed nature in which people could experience “the sublime” was first circu-
lated in the early 19th century, promoted by romantic ideas of the countryside as an object for enjoyment and fulfillment that should belong to all. In Europe these ideas came with romantic poets such as Wordsworth, who described the Lake District as “a sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy.” These landscapes were thought of as virginal and imbuing a national identity, as they had remained untouched through the centuries by kings and their deer parks. The national parks often incorporated a feature which previously had been deemed aesthetically inappropriate for inclusion in the parks of the grand houses; the mountain. The mountains now became the epitome of aesthetic experience – provided one remained at a polite distance, close enough to be in awe but not close enough to be in peril. The first national park was Yellowstone in America, which was established in 1872. The reasoning behind these designations were largely based on aesthetic arguments,
as the pendulum of taste swung from the polite landscapes of the reformation, with the gardens of Versailles as the prime example of the reason employed on nature, to the more sensuous and experientially orientated romantics who wished to see Kant’s eruptive vision of the sublime. In Norway, very similarly, the initiative to preserve natural landscape came in the 19th century and took the form of an aesthetic of national politics, as this was the time of the first ideas of Norwegian national independence, precisely a quest for borders. However, the first national park in Norway was not designated until 1962. Today Norway has 44 national parks, which constitute 7% of the mainland area. Nature reserves are the strictest form of landscape protection, and can mean that the area is only accessible for scientific purposes. The largest area of this kind in Norway is on Svalbard, off the mainland, where around 40% of the island’s area is protected in this way. Preservation for the environment’s own sake only started coming into legislation around the 1930’s, after industrialisation had changed the
Nature and Natural Resources set down certain criteria for protection of nature, which gave the national park its current status and the limitations on use this entailed. As the search for natural resources continues, the boundaries of national parks are continually questioned, with commercial interests pushing one way and environmentalists pushing the other. Norway is currently in the midst of a dispute over how to bridge a shortcoming in the power supply without positioning pylons through protected wildlife areas. In Britain the discussion around use of the so called â€œgreenbeltâ€? land, i.e. land which is not built on or not used for agriculture, is a heated one, as transport and housing needs present a huge challenge to a very restricted landmass. Today parks are public and usually not the property of a single person. The gentlemenâ€™s hunt has been transformed into playgrounds for children. But modern parks have their own particular challenges to borders, use and aesthetical ideas. Parks everywhere are seemingly divided by day and night. In the day dogs and children
play, at night the parks belong to the intoxicated, the dangerous and the criminal. The two groups do not make a happy mix, and governments are spending large sums on restricting the use of parks to include only law-abiding, playing and sunbathing citizens. The ideas that have been employed to change the park physically in order to deter criminal elements from the parks have been completely opposite to previous emparkment practices. Rather than enclosing the parks, they are now being opened up further, hedges come down, dark corners are lit up and an overall transparency is desired - CCTV cameras are installed, bringing yet another set of complex questions of borders and interference. The drive to open up the parks toward busy roads rests in the hope that the park will not act as a hideout for anti-social behavior, like a distorted echo of the 15th century forest that hid Robin and his men. And so these landscapes that belong to no one and everyone, yet again change their borders, their appearance and their reason for being.
/MORILD/ REFERENCES: 1 Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: “Arne” 1859 (own translation) 2 Susan Lasdun : “The English Park – Royal, Private & Public” 1991 3 http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/index/visiting/crow/crow-timeline.htm 4 Figures from Wikipedia LITTERATURE: Tom Williamson: “Polite landscapes” 1995 Colen Campbell: “Vitruvius Britannicus” 1715 IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: ”Swing” watercolour on wood 10 x14cm, 2010 ”Saloon” watercolour on wood 10 x14 cm, 2010 ”Loveshack II” watercolour on wood 10 x14cm, 2010 “Writer’s Lodge” watercolour on wood 10x14 cm, 2010 All images courtesy the artist. Marianne Morild © 2010
Marianne Morild paints landscapes that define territories marked by transient events and temporary structures, attempts to build, construct or destroy something of the surrounding landscape. These landscapes seem at once seductive and treacherous, suggestive of something unsettling. Russell Tovey, who selected her work for “Insider Picks” in the exhibition “ART BLITZ” at Transition Gallery says of her work: “(…) small scale paintings, containing these eerie empty architectural figures in rural landscape settings. I like the work in Art Blitz for its juxtaposition of a traditional scenic panorama fused with what looks like a pop art inspired abstract ‘weir’ - it makes me think of early Peter Blake works. I’m really enjoying the world which Marianne is creating.” Marianne Morild graduated from Chelsea College of Art & Design in 2003, and was nominated for the Rolex Mentor-Protegee Award the same year. Most recently Marianne Morild has participated in “ART BLITZ” at Transition Gallery Nov. 2010, and other recent exhibitions include Shop Space at Transition Gallery 2010, “Pistols & Pollinators” 2010, produced by Accident & Emergence, “Sketch Show” at Jealous Gallery 2009 and was selected for The Threadneedle Prize 2009. Morild holds a degree in philosophy and has written on the subject of migration for Garageland issue 9 and for måg Magazine (NABROAD) issue 1 & 2, and contributed to the blog Articulated Artists.
The Atelier Nord project room in Kunstnernes Hus is available to artists free of charge on a weekly basis. The project room may be used for video and audio production, as well as screenings, presentations and exhibitions. For more information and on-line application form, please visit
JET PASCUA by m책g
/FEATURE / /pascua/ måg: You have described drawing as a kind of performance where certain movements are repeated until a desired outcome is achieved. Tell us how this process develops. JP: I was relating it to previous works where in I was doing repetitive actions that are basically drawings, like the one where I was writing on water and the line that was being erased. I read texts on drawing and thought about its role in artistic practice in general and my practice in particular. I thought Matthew Barney’s restrained drawings made perfect sense - drawing, or making art as a performance. It can be related to how muscles grow and develop by contraction against an external resistance through repetitive action. So now I approach drawing that way. måg: Originally from the Philippines, how has living and working in Norway influenced your work? How do you relate to ‘national identity’ and do you see this relevant to your work? JP: During the first few years of living in Norway, “National Identity” was very important to me and I felt that I had to hold on to it, whatever it was, because it “defined” who I was. As you grow older though, and the longer you are away from your socalled homeland, the idea of “National Identity” be-
comes really vague and maybe to some extent, irrelevant. Of course you are still reminded every now and then that you are indeed a foreigner, by certain prejudices and unintentional situations. But what you realize when you migrate is that it is in fact what you become. A foreigner. Even to your own so-called homeland. There really is no clear definition of national identity and in fact I have met people from elsewhere that I have much more in common with, than say another Filipino. We are all influenced by something and none of us can ever claim that we are “pure”, so in that sense, we
shouldn’t let our identities be defined by our nationalities. But being away from my country, and detached from my history, witnessing the connections to my past slowly disappearing, has influenced my work a lot. måg: Your work is often political, how do you want to shape the audience’s experience of it? JP: I am not sure if I have the power to shape a viewer’s experience of my work. I think we all carry different experiences, prejudices and
tastes, so that is difficult to control. I think every artist has that at the back of their mind, but you just try not to worry too much about it.
måg: Tell us about the work ‘A Country Road. A Tree.’ and how this was developed, from research to the final body of work.
I try to do work on subjects that I feel strongly about. And I guess being exposed to the political circus in the Philippines and being born and raised under Martial Law, I cannot help but be a little bit political. It is in the blood so to speak.
JP: I like Samuel Beckett’s work and I liked the idea of “Nothing” as something that “Needed to be done”. That it becomes almost like a mission is a concept that I can appreciate and relate to. Sometimes as an artist and maybe more so as an “immigrant artist”, you find yourself back in the same place and situation you have found yourself in before. Waiting for something else to happen that will break
But I do hope that my work is able to pose some questions and challenge established perceptions.
the cycle. A series of drawings focused on the concept of “waiting” developed from this when Silverlens gallery in Manila contacted me and asked me to exhibit my drawings there. So drawing was something… that needed to be done. (Laughing)
m책g: Tell us about the work you are producing at the moment. JP: At the moment I am drawing and working on video projects that I put aside during the past 2 years. We suddenly had 3 beautiful children and for the past 2 years my wife and I devoted a lot of our time and energy into giving them the best possible care. So now that they are all going to the nursery, I am able to work again. I also organise exhibitions and I run Small Projects, an artist-run space supported by the Norwegian Arts Council. It is an exciting endeavour, which allows me to interact with a diverse and interesting group of artists.
/pascua/ måg: -Please give us your instant thoughts on these words: ANIMAL JP: I immediately think of dogs and cows. Filipinos were called savages after they were made to carry out a ritual practice of eating dogs in public, entirely out of its original context, at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibitions in the USA in 1904. Cows because they are beautiful and their whole existence is about giving and their whole being consumed. So it is this beauty and direness that attracts me to it. måg: MASKS JP: We all wear them. måg: WOOD JP: Transport. Globalisation. Crucifix. Export. Import. måg: BELONGING TO JP: The Present. måg: LIVING IN JP: Neither here, nor there. måg: COMING FROM JP: The Past. måg: LIFE JP: Journey.
måg: DEATH JP: Certain. måg: HUMOUR JP: Can be the most effective way of expressing something terribly serious. måg: SCRATCHING THE SURFACE JP: History is always biased and Euro-centric, and coming from a Western perspective. Written history is very different from how it is/was experienced. måg: WATER JP: Life. I like the idea of trying to remember and honour the dead by writing their names on the source of life. måg: JOURNEY JP: Never-ending. måg: WAITING JP: Hope. måg: PERSONAL JP: Art-making.
/pascua/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: FIRST FILIPINO EVER (Detail) (Still Image) Video 3 mins, 49 secs. 2009 SCRATCHING THE SURFACE (Detail) (Still Image) Video 11 mins, 32 secs. 2009 NEXT DAY. SAME TIME. SAME PLACE. (Detail) Graphite and acrylic on wood 40 X 42 cm. 2010 PERHAPS TOMORROW (Detail) Graphite and Acrylic on wood 40 X 40 cm. 2010 YESTERDAY. SAME PLACE. (Detail) graphite and acrylic on wood 39 x 40 cm. 2010
Jet Pascua was born in Manila, Philippines, he lives and workes in TromsĂ¸, Norway. Education: 2009 Bergen Academy of Fine Arts, MFA 2007 Oslo Academy of Fine Arts, BA 1993 University of the Philippines, Department of Studio Arts
LINKS: www.jetpascua.com www.smallprojects.no
IMAGE: GESCHE WÜRFEL, OLYMPIC VILLAGE 1
Call for entries
Curator of Photography, Tate
Curator, The Photographer’s Gallery
Editor-in-Chief, 1000 Words Photography Magazine
Creative Director, National Media Museum
Up to 100 photographers will be selected for the Salon Photo Prize exhibition on Vyner Street One photographer will be awarded the Selectors’ Prize supported by 1000 Words Photography Magazine consisting of £1000 and a solo exhibition with Matt Roberts Arts Deadline: 5pm, Saturday 4 December
www.salonartprize.com | email@example.com Matt Roberts Arts, Unit 1, 25 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG
randi nyg책rd by Wojciech Olejnik
“The Aleph?” I repeated. “Yes, the place where, without admixture or confusion, all the places of the world, seen from every angle, coexist.” (1) Randi Nygård’s recent sculptures appear like three-dimensional collages, each presents an accord of shifting positions and perspectives. Formed by the recompositioning of printed materials from books, magazines and prints, this work goes through an extensive process of cutting and folding, where strips of pages spring out and unfurl through the pages above. Depending on the weight and rigidity of the paper the resulting structures can be resilient and upright, or unstable and fragile, barely supporting themselves, on the verge of collapse. Nygård’s methodology is infused with play. The cuts and creases that appear to explode chaotically through the pages can actually be traced back, literally, to the outline of a single initial shape, hidden within the stack. Some of the cut lines appear to wander off onto their own, unconstrained by the imagery of the printed material, yet every alteration here has a starting point, whether located within the stack or flipped over on the back of a page. In fact, these objects can no longer be read like a book. One’s eye moves across many lines and planes, according to a three-dimensional path, which simultaneously navigates through different books and subject matter. In Growth and Movement (2010) for instance, this path interweaves such seemingly unrelated events as an eruption of a volcano on Iceland and the French Revolution, a relation-
ship that may or may not be historically credible. One must rely on a faster mode of reading, a skimming through the overabundance of information. This is well exemplified in Wall, painting, paper, plaster, wood, cellulose, gypsum, mineral, chemical element, atoms, particles, vulcanos, heat and pressure, the Big Bang (2010). This work thrusts out of the wall, as if from nothingness, creating a kind of a wormhole in the wall, a severance of the time-space continuum. The pieces of paper, intertwined with the materials from the wall push against each other, collide, expand outwards like foaming water on the surface of a stormy sea, fragmenting the space. This space can be read according to a spiraling trajectory, following an active rim, the event horizon of the paper explosion. In most of this work, the center functions like a “white hole,” where the density of information is infinite, where the circumference, like the edge of a fractal does not have a finite distance, but gets folded and folded until infinity, making its distance infinite too. Unlike a black hole, information is not destroyed here, but escapes intact, where the original voice of each object can still be perceived, separated from the mass. A similar dislodging of information takes place in the video Friends and family back and forth in time (2006), where, in the small towns of Kvinnherad, the hopes and dreams of a group of children and the worldviews and life experiences of a group of adults are exchanged, and read out in front of the camera by individuals from opposite groups. As the voice of
/nygård/ one envelopes the other, the viewer witnesses an exchange and transference of insight and personal history. Where one might expect to uncover a chasm of irreconcilable, divergent positions, this simple gesture in fact establishes the opening of a dialogue between the two groups, enabling an exchange and intertwinement of ideas, creating knots, a tapestry (such as a tapestry of strips of paper from separate books). In this work the spoken content sounds commonplace, yet once uttered by a different voice, it no longer reflects the expected perspective of the speaker, but becomes novel, strange, perhaps even memorable, leaving a strong impression on the listener. Sometimes, to be able to hear more attentively, a simple inversion or an exchange is needed. Sometimes an indirect route is required to access a seemingly transparent content, sometimes to hear a voice one needs to hear it from a different set of lips. Nygård’s work is able to bring attention to the overlooked, that which falls between the cracks of knowledge, history and even popular opinion. Her work however, does not necessarily find some deep, all-important, left-out piece of information, as if through some great archeological exploration, instead it brings attention to the unheard voice, of the given itself, by reapproaching and reorganizing it. Reapproaching the given is a return to roots, a re-
invigoration, and is usually achieved by trimming and pruning, by cutting and severing, a restarting, a kind of a doubling of the original, a mirroring. A single cut creates two identical edges, the more complicated a cut, the more stunning and uncanny the visual repetition becomes. When viewing Nygård’s work one continually acknowledges this visual repetition, even if only on a subconscious level. The cut in this sense does not sever, does not create two new distinct planes, instead the repeated edge creates an undeniable similarity. These two fields no longer simply make up a whole, but are at all times bound together, on a more fundamental level, one cannot be thought of without the other. Such slight yet important differences in language, such nuances of thought make up Jorge Luis Borges’ aleph, where everything is clear and differentiated, yet in constant relation to one another, in infinitely many constellations. Nygård’s work consists of such nuances, which allow one to find more content, more vital content through the direct experience of looking or listening. In Organic angles (2009) two plants stand next to each other, one of which is covered by a thin layer of tin foil that reflects the leaves underneath, giving the effect of an organic-synthetic hybrid. This plant appears as itself, as the other of a plant, as the other plant reflected, as itself reflecting itself,
REFERENCES 1 Jorge Luis Borges, trans. Andrew Hurley, Collected Fictions, Penguin Press: (London, 1998), p. 144. Wojciech Olejnik is a Canadian artist and writer, currently based in Malmö Sweden. Since 2007 he has exhibited internationally, often in collaboration with Sarah Jane Gorlitz. His texts have accompanied recent exhibitions by Munan Øvrelid, Maja Nilsen and Scott Rogers and his art criticism has been published in Frieze Magazine Blog, C Magazine and Canadian Art. In 2007-2008 he received a writing fellowship from New Research in Abstraction, under which he published several texts in collaboration with Micheal Murphey, Boris Groys and Robert Linsley. LINK: www.softturns.com/WojciechOlejnik.html
IMAGE CREDITS: all i mages from Wall, painting, paper, plaster, wood, cellulose, gypsum, mineral, chemical element, atoms, particles, vulcanos, heat and pressure, the Big Bang (2010) By Randi Nygård © 2010 LINK: www.randinygard.blogspot. com
/morstang/ and a/ /FEATURES/q
SIMEN JOHAN by m책g
1) måg: What are the most important aspects to your artistic practice? SJ: Everyday life and living. 2) måg: Your photographs seem to contain a substantial amount of preparation, both through research and building props. Can you tell us about how this process
evolves? SJ: I don’t really prepare, research or build props. I photograph when I get an opportunity to travel, or when I see something special. I go to artist residencies, I visit zoos, natural history museums, farms, pick up road kill when I find a good one. There’s no formula to the way I put an image together. I can’t afford to just go places or stage things
when an idea comes to mind, so I have to be resourceful and build my images as time goes by. Over the years my personal image library has grown so I have more material to work with now than I used to, although when I finally get around to using one of these images, it’s usually not shot the way I need it, so I have to go back and re-shoot.
/johan/ 3) måg: In your earlier work you feature people/children, later works feature animals, often with human qualities. What are the connections between your subjects? SJ: Animals, like children, for me are superficial themes. The things I’m ultimately interested in are not things that I can go out and take pictures of, so I have to channel them through symbolic means. Right now I’m doing this through depictions of animals and nature, which seems appropriate since my interests lie in the primal. My creative process can be seen as an attempt to find forms of reconciliation (or holding in tension) between different realities and perceptions that seem impossible to reconcile or think about together. Coming to terms with a reality as something that is shaped by fantasy and contradiction. I’m interested in human desire and its perpetual pursuit of imaginary fulfilment. Our fear of insignificance. 4) måg: Your photographic technique is that of a perfectionist composer, yet there are elements of the unexpected and the unperfected. How do you strike this balance? SJ: Well, I am a perfectionist, but I also want things to feel natural and real, and reality is not per-
fect. When I make sculptures, and make a mistake, it can still look cool. With manipulated photography, if something doesn’t fit in just right, it looks cheesy, so it has to be perfect in composition, but I also work hard to keep the necessary computer-work to a minimum. I have had many great ideas that I’ve never been able to turn into a photo simply because I haven’t been able to do so seamlessly. Maybe one day I’ll turn these ideas into paintings.
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: From the work: Until the Kingdom 2004-2006 © SIMEN From the work: Until the Kingdom 2007-2009 © SIMEN From the work: Until the Kingdom 2007-2009 © SIMEN From the work: Until the Kingdom 2004-2006 © SIMEN
Comes JOHAN Comes JOHAN Comes JOHAN
nina torp by Lisa Slominski
/torp/ Tenderpixel recently presented One-Act Play, the first solo-exhibition in the UK for Norwegian artist Nina Torp. One-Act Play relates to travel within Torp’s own practice, specifically her recent residency at SÍM, Iceland (May 2010). As a present day tourist, Nina set out to discover for herself the sublime destinations of Iceland’s first explorers. One Act-Play becomes Torp’s own travel journal.
Almost the opposite of what the title infers, Torp has taken site-specificity and site-responsiveness in contemporary art well beyond a single layer. This multilayered work addresses how we place ourselves when viewing the past in the present via tourism. It also explores our position as ‘viewers’ within contemporary art. In recreating a place, her installation consists of an outward projection to the street and a meticulously built stage stretching the entire length of the gallery blurring the lines between art, theatre, landscape and observer. Throughout time natural phenomena has been used in set design and theatre. Like seeing a play, tourists travel to divine destinations, places with pathways and vantage points reminiscent of these same scenographic structures. The moment a tourist experiences a place they simultaneously become part of the site’s history. Shifting spatial organisation between history and tourist, Torp asks: Who or what is the real spectator? LS: In the spring you came to Tenderpixel to meet with Founder/Director Etan Ilfeld and I to discuss your upcoming project. Since we’re located on Cecil Court-an area well known for antiquarian books-you also purchased “The Iceland Journal of Henry Holland 1810” . How did that influence the work made on your residency in Iceland? NT: This was point. A practice is where
the starting large part of my is research. This my research
/torp/ started. “The Iceland Journal of Henry Holland 1810”(1) made me interested in the Mackenzie expedition which he was a part of. This led me to Sir George Steuart Mackenzie’s book from the same year “Travels in The Island of Iceland During the Summer of the Year 1810”(2). This book is a rather more exclusive print than the reprint of Dr Holland’s travel journal, with beautiful etchings and drawings. I studied this book at the National Library in Oslo before my residency in Iceland. Mackenzie’s exploration was mainly a geological trip, as many of the explorers and travelers after. In Iceland, I went further on with my research and purchased quite a few travel journals; from The Stanley expedition in 1789 (3) to the first book with black and white photographs taken from an airplane in 1935 and further into the 1980’s. The black and white photo book from 1935 is called “The Unknown Iceland” (translated from German) (4), however it has photographs of most destinations of the early explorers. The archetypal imagery of Iceland, you might call it. I set out to visit these places in Iceland, to explore the explorers…
/torp/ LS: Do you feel that makes One-Act Play site-specific to both Iceland and Cecil Court, London simultaneously? NT: My project is about cultural phenomena. The focus is the cultures around the admiration of the landscape more than about the landscape itself, so in that respect One-Act Play is site specific to Cecil Court, Londonâ€™s well-known area for antique bookstores that preserve the heritage of this culture. The project is really about looking at something from a distance, taking your own cultural background into the way you perceive things. The video projected in the window of people walking back and forth in a desolated landscape mirrors the pedestrians -and Londonâ€™s own tourists- walking back and forth on Cecil Court. LS: One-Act Play references the role of controlled viewpoints for tourists to explore scenery almost like a theatre setting. Can you tell me about how the idea for creating a stage in Tenderpixel came about? NT: Rather instantly when I made the scale model for the gallery space. Through research on-site in Iceland the stage became very profound in the project. My first idea was to make reference to drawings of early stage design by Andrea Pozzo with black
elastics drawn through the space making a framework and alluding perspective (to elaborate on my installation “An Agreeable Kind of Horror” 2009). However, I realized the space needed a grander gesture. The gallery is more or less quadratic, has a very high ceiling –almost as high as the width of the room, and is the same size as the antique bookstores on the street. The ‘stage’ makes the space open up. I decided on three focal points: the window, the stage and the back wall. The stage links the two projections: the video in the window and the image on the back wall. Another reason why I made this formalistic pursuit is to see the exhibition from both inside and outside, regardless of the time of the day one encounters the gallery. LS: Amongst the stage and projections are 3 references/ variations of rocks. The more time I spend with One-Act Play, the more I view them as crucial characters in this ‘play’. How do the rocks (print of rocks) connect to the installation for you? NT: Yes, that’s right. They represent time and are witnesses of history, does that make sense? The early explorers mainly went to Iceland for geological research. Mackenzie was himself a geologist. I dug up a rock in a field near to one of the travel destinations. It has this very sculptural shape (almost like a Moore work). The rock has been there for years and years, capsuled in soil with sheep grazing on top.
/torp/ The obsidian, which is a type of volcanic rock, more or less pure glass, has been cut and polished into a convex mirror. This cultivated rock has references to both England and
Iceland. The early Claude Mirrors, which were used by England’s picturesque tourists in the late 18th and early 19th Century, were made of obsidian. There are obsidian a few places in Iceland, however it’s hard to get a hold of a large piece like this. This obsidian I purchased through a psychic shop on the Internet, which I find inter-
esting. According to the shop, it’s suppose to store negative energy. Actually, a friend of me asked me not to bring it on the airplane over to UK with me. The Third ‘rock’ as you might call it, is a photograph of an illustration taken from a research trip around Iceland (1752-1757) with early scientific drawings of different sam-
ples of rocks among other things. I’ve replaced one of the existing rocks with one of my own photographs of an imitation. At first you can’t see that there’s a substitute over the original. You really have to look. That is prominent in my work, that I play with icons from history and use a wide repertoire of materials. This is my way of editing history.
REFERENCES: 1 Sir Henry Holland / edited by Andrew Wawn, The Iceland Journal of Henry Holland 1810, Hakluyt Society, London,1987 2 Sir George Steuart Mackenzie, Travels in the island of Iceland during the summer of the year MDCCCX (1810), A. Constable, Edinburgh, 1812 3 Islandsleidangur Stanleys 1789: ferdabok (Journals of the Stanley expedition to the Faroe Islands and Iceland in 1789), Bókaútgáfan Örn og Örlygur, 1979 4 Walther Heering, Das unbekannte Island (The Unknown Iceland), Dr. Walther Heering Verlag, Harzburg, 1935 5 Eggert Ólafsson/Bjarni Pálsson, Ferdabok Eggerts Olafssonar og Bjarna Palssonar1752-1757 (Travels in Iceland by Eggert Ólafsson and Bjarni Pálsson : performed 17521757), Bókaútgáfan Örn og Örlygur, 1975
/torp/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Installation views One-Act Play, site specific installation, solo show at Tenderpixel, London (2010) Photo by Colin Hampden-White Obsidian rock, 18x14x9 cm, black paint on mdf Photo by Colin Hampden-White
60x50 cm (2010)
Detail, HD-video, 4 min, projection on paper mounted on window 84x55 cm Digital slide projection on wall 280x 160 cm (2010) Photo by Nina Torp Lightjet print 50x60 cm, black paint on wall (2010) Photo by Colin Hampden-White HD-video, 4 min, projection on paper mounted on window 84x55 cm / Digital slide projection on wall 280x160 cm / Stage construction, mdf and wood, 500x80x150cm/ Obsidian rock 18x14x9 cm, black paint on mdf 60x50 cm (2010) Photo by Nina Torp Rock dug up in Iceland, mdf board, white paint, glass, 75x32x35 cm (2010) Photo by Colin Hampden-White Obsidian rock, 18x14x9 cm, black paint on mdf Photo by Nina Torp
60x50 cm (2010)
Image courtesy: Nina Torp
Nina Torp [b. 1970] is a Oslo/Berlin based conceptual artist. She has studied at the Royal College of Art, London, Kent Institute of Art & Design, Maidstone and École des Beaux-Arts, Toulouse. She has exhibited in a multitude of countries and won a number of awards. In 2008 she received the distinguished 3-year working grant from the Norwegian Cultural State Fund. Nina Torp has upcoming soloshow at the Sculpturespace öst, The Association of Norwegian Sculptors, Oslo and group show at the Rogaland Contemporary Art Centre in Stavanger for 2011. LINK: www.ninatorp.com Lisa Slominski [b. 1981] is an American artist and curator based in London. She received her BA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2003) and her MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmiths, University of London (2008). Lisa curates for TENDERPIXEL, including the recent ‘What’s Yours Is Mine’ new work by Roisin Byrne and Duncan Wooldridge and the forthcoming group-exhibition ‘The Bottom Line”. Lisa Slominski also has upcoming solo-exhibitions in both Miami and London for 2011. LINKS: www.lisaslominski.com www.tenderpixel.com
THE HOLLOW NADIR OF VANITY
JIHYE PARK 3 - 23 DECEMBER 2010
WWW.TENDERPIXEL.COM WED-SAT 1-7PM 10 CECIL COURT LONDON WC2N 4HE +44 (0)20 7379 9464 MAIL@TENDERPIXEL.COM
ANNEMARIE CREAMER by S.E. Barnet
/creamer/ S E Barnet: Let’s start with your video ‘Meeting the Pied Piper in Brasov’. You made that piece during a journey through Romania when you stopped in the city of Brasov and had an encounter with a group of dancing Hungarian Székey children. I know with that piece and a lot of the imagery in your other work - there’s a lot of chance. There’s a lot of engagement with the accidental, and I’m curious to know how you plan for the accidental in your work? Anne-Marie Creamer: That phrase is almost a contradiction in terms. I remember a few years ago I did a symposium in Ghent. Among the audience sat the theorist Thierry de Duve, and later he said to me ‘there is a certain skill in coming across all this chance’. I’m aware that when I give talks on my work I recount details of chance within the production of the work; in ‘The Prompter of Krumlov’ it’s finding the old mans coat, with the ‘Ellipses’ project it, it’s finding the wedding rings in the cup of coffee, or my encounter with the dancing children in Transylvania. It’s to do with receptivity and being able to recognize in the moment that there is resonance to some encounters. You must remember that I started off as a painter but I think I always wanted to be a sort of storyteller. When I began to create time based work, the connection between my life and my work became
increasingly blurred, and that allowed me to create a much more fluid form for my work. S. E. B: That leads us directly to a question about the relationship between your artwork and your life. I’m going to go at this sideways; I think that might be more interesting. A lot of this work, in terms of art and life, has to do with ‘not being at home’ - being in another place. Being somewhere else than your home - how does that figure into your work? A-M C: It is something I’ve noticed has happened rather than something I prescribed in advance. Arguably the nucleus of it was when I was invited by the Union of Soviet Art Critics to do a tour through the USSR. It was in 1991 and I found myself travelling through the Soviet Union as it was collapsing. During that epic journey, people would tell me stories about their lives, partly because I was a willing listener but also because I was a stranger. There was something about being a foreigner that I really enjoyed - it gave me mixed feelings of empathy and distance. S. E. B: That leads me to the question of language. What do you see as the relationship between image and text? A-M C: Text, literally as in the writing of a letter is very significant. If I give an example; in the piece ‘Flying through Amber: the last wish of Vladimir Slapeta’ I worked with the painter Andrew Grassie. Unbeknown to Andrew I began by writ-
ing him a letter in the voice of an elderly man who pleads him to make a painting of a room he remembers in his parent’s house, now long gone. It’s a very sad letter! From this I made an animation and an installation. In the work ‘Mikes Kelemen Returns to Transylvania’ the writing of a letter effectively narrates the film. Mikes Kelemen was an historical figure, the Chamberlain to the last Prince of Transylvania in the eighteenth century. He was born in one of the small villages near to where I was staying in Transylvania. He ended up fleeing to a small place just outside Constantinople where he lived in exile for the rest of his life. After his death, there were found two hundred un-posted letters, which he had written to an Aunt in Transylvania. In these letters he talks about his life, he jokes with her, and answers her questions. During attempts to return these letters to the family, it was revealed that this Aunt was completely fictitious. In the film you see a man’s hand - Kelemen’s- writing in Hungarian to his Aunt, telling her that by God’s grace he has finally made it back to Transylvania and that he is looking for her. I like the idea of an impossible return. S. E. B: Hang on a second, so the Aunt he was writing to was a fictional addressee he created? A-M C: Yes. S. E. B: And why do you suppose he did that?
A-M C: Perhaps the pain of never being able to return home was too terrible for him to deal directly with, and instead he invented this fictional Aunt. So by this displacement he could address his need in a way that was sustainable for him over many years. She became home. In my opinion, this invention is fascinating. I find it much more interesting than anything he says in the letters. S. E. B: And that happens a lot in your work. There is this very interesting co-mingling of facts and fiction. How important is it for you that the audience know this when they see the work? A-M C: I do try to tread a tightrope whereby lots of things have an ambiguity to them about quite how grounded they are in fact or fiction. The area between the two is interesting to me. Even when you really might sincerely mean something it is tied up with mythology or fiction. I think the investment in an experience and the narration of it is complicated and always fascinating. S. E. B: Where does your work fit within the cinema, the theatre, the art gallery- does your work belong in the theatre, does it belong in the cinema, in terms of your use of poetic language? A-M C: I am interested in the space within the gallery; it allows me to spatialize narrative. I like the ways in which you can use a projected image, a painting,
or certain objects, and place them in relationship to one another so that the viewer is held within the space of that narrative. There are possibilities in a gallery, certain conflicts and contradictions, which you take the viewer right into. Recently I’ve made thirty-seven watercolours that narrate the journey that I made to Transylvania where I encountered the dancing children. I would argue that these drawings could also be a film, in another form, a sort of impossible film that I can never make in practical terms. There is something about the structure of the Russian Doll which is an important analogy for me; it conjures the idea of nested narratives embedded within each other, like the form of a mise en abyme. So I could do a work, and a version of it could be a play, a series of watercolours, or a film, and these could all be inter-connected. S. E. B: And why this emphasis on the hand-made? It makes me think of the hand in the ‘Mikes Kelemen Returns’ video. A-M C: Partly it’s the physical act of pleasure in making things by hand. But there is this sense of authorship associated with the hand and of playing with a sense of who or where is the author in the work. S. E. B: Yes, I wonder where you are in your work - where is your authorship? And in relationship to this - whose stories are these?
/creamer/ A-M C: Great. There’s only been one time so far, in a video I did with my sister about finding wedding rings for the ‘Ellipses’ project, when I’ve literally been in the frame of the work. But even then I was a tiny little figure, filmed in the distance. And that’s about as far as I think I want to go in terms of me declaring myself at the centre of the work. Although, I do play with the fact that I am there, behind all the encounters I base my work on. S. E. B: Yes and in ‘Meeting the Pied Piper’, the camera is looking down at something, so ‘somebody’ is present and ‘narrates’ or sees, choosing to hold the camera that way. ‘Somebody’ is documenting these experiences and events. A-M C: I like the idea of being both present and absent at the same time. By subterfuge and displacement or via ciphers or characters I can be present in these multiple, different ways. If I had to be present in my work I would prefer that somebody acted me. S. E. B: It’s almost as if you’re manipulating these stories, which you then document. A-M C:
Yes that’s true
S. E. B: Like you’re a documentary filmmaker of stories. A-M C:
Yes. I am conscious
of the setting up of stories; of creating them or noticing how they happen. There is significance in being a storyteller, because there is always a way in which you conjure or manipulate and invent. But it’s always towards a try to create something that has a resonance to it. And for me that’s absolutely ok. S. E. B: So what happens when the base of that story is some one else’s story? If you take someone who’s living, or has passed away as the basis for a work? A-M C: Well Mikes Kelemen is a long time dead. S. E. B: But nonetheless this is your starting point. A-M C: Right now this question is becoming more of a concern. I am planning a new work in which I will present the life and times of the oldest person of a European city. But this person will be entirely fictitious. I intend to work with a range of people who live locally inviting them to collectively fantasize about what the contours of such a life might be through time. So it will be a sort of filmic exquisite corpse structure, and this in turn becomes a portrait of the place in which the work is made. S. E. B: But also this leads onto a representation of place, because in terms of your ethical concerns part of what I’m interested in is that you’re moving these from oral story-telling to representations of stories that reflect a certain person or place and in that
way there’s also a lot of movement back to language, like from Hungarian to English, and I’m just wondering how you contend with that? Are you bringing stories from something to something, or are you taking stories from something to something else? A-M C: I’m not a multi-linguist so I’ve found people I can collaborate with or I’ve worked with translators. What’s interesting are the mistakes, the elisions, the gaps in understanding between the speaker, the audience, and me because even as you and I are speaking to each other now, even if I was born in the same town as you, these gaps in understanding would still be there. And particularly in story telling, the gap between what’s said and what’s heard can become much more pronounced when you’ve got this added question of language. Even within the same family that can happen! I think this is an inescapable part of being human. I’m not an anthropologist or a folklorist. Doing this as an artist suggests that my actions are authored. This is a vital difference for me. If I really was an anthropologist the things you mention would be a real problem, but it’s about something else. S. E. B: I’m curious about memory, especially in regards to storytelling because you touched on the notion of repeated storytelling and its relationship to slippage and veracity. I’m interested in that. And I also have another question, that question is – is your
work nostalgic? A-M C: I’m glad you brought that word up. I am interested in nostalgia and I take it seriously. In my work there are characters, often unseen, who want to return home and can’t. I think of nostalgia not as this sentimental wistful thing but as something problematic and complicated, something to do with an infernal longing. I’m less drawn to the making of nostalgia fixed and idealised. I’m drawn to something that can be explored, that can be speculative, something that can be a deadly dark infernal thing. S. E. B: It seems like we’re back at the subject of psychoanalysis: that there’s thwarted desire. A-M C: Yes. And it happens in different ways; at the level of the structure of the narrative, or of the condition of the protagonist, but also of the way image, media and representation interrelate. I am interested in the possibility of a certain kind of Romanticism and I am trying to understand what that might mean these days. But I am equally interested in mixing this with works that are full of paradoxes. S. E. B: Yes, because in terms of paradox the flip side of this is an idealisation. And I think you’re spot on where you say it should be taken seriously.
/creamer/ A-M C: Nostalgia is a fiction as well. Like, where the hell is ‘home’ anyway? It always is a fiction you see, in life as well as art. I don’t believe in absolute objectivity. I think its nonsense. It’s impossible. But I equally think that absolute subjectivity is equally impossible. The truth is this murky place somewhere in the middle. S. E. B: But you yourself have referred to the notion of playing with the audience, of ‘what’s true, what’s real’. I mean we see it in cinema, which you generously call from, that ‘this is a true story’ and that brings a certain amount of power. A-M C: Yes. I know the relationship to a real thing or event is again suggestive of a certain authority. I play with those makers of belief. I remember as a ten-year-old child sitting with my maternal Grandmother in her house in Ireland and her bringing out from a cupboard a little relic that had a tiny scrap of clothing encased in a gold locket. With great reverence she explained to me that this was a fragment from the skirt of Saint Philomena. Then about a week or two later I was at my other Grandmother’s house and she too went to a drawer and brought me out a similar locket. This apparently rare relic was suspiciously common. But I also suspected that my Grandmothers knew this too but I was struck by the
fact that it didn’t really matter to them: the relic served as a conduit through which they could experience a sense of faith, and that was all that mattered. So right there at the heart of belief was also a knowing fiction – fictioning. S. E. B: That’s a great word ‘fictioning’. It begs the question, which was the object - the object or the story. A-M C: Exactly! And you know it’s probably no accident that be it a drawing, a painting, a letter, or an actual encounter that you’ve got a definite apparent thing that gives a weight to the story you can build around it. Rather like the fragment of the skirt of Saint Philomena. S. E. B: That’s a nice place to end it. A-M C: Yes, it is.
S. E. Barnet is an American artist currently living in London. She has previously published articles in Leonardo for MIT Press Leonardo, and was Assistant Professor for Fine Arts at Otis College of Art and Design. She is currently doing a Ph.D at Kingston University. LINK: www.sebarnet.net
/creamer/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Mikes Kelemen Returns to Transylvania Video still. B&W/ Colour Digital video 12 minutes 30 seconds. 2006. PAL 48 Mhz stereo sound Filmed in Transylvania, Romania. Meeting the Pied Piper in Brasov (x 2) Video still Single channel projected colour video Digital PAL DVD, 48 mHZ stereo sound 7 min duration. 2006 Filmed in Transylvania. Supported by the Hargita Cultural Center, Romania Amnesia, 38, from drawing series. ink or watercolour on paper 12 x 10 inches. 2001 The Prompter of Krumlov Video still SINGLE CHANNEL PROJECTED COLOUR DIGITAL PAL DVD, 48 mHZ stereo sound. 11 mins 44 seconds duration. 2009 Starring Michal Pechoucek The Fabulous Fox 15, from series. (Detail) X 2 Digital C prints. 2008 33 x 24 inches 2008 Amnesia (Detail) stills sheet, Single channel projected colour animation Digital PAL DVD, 48 mHZ stereo sound. 8 min duration. 2001 all rights © Anne-marie Creamer 2010 British artist Anne-marie Creamer’s videos, drawings and paintings have often centred on the existence of artefacts or chance encounters, such as the 200 letters Transylvanian exile Mikes Kelemen wrote to his fictitious aunt in the 18th century, her encounter with a group of dancing Székey children in Romania, finding wedding rings in a cup of coffee on a train at Paddington station or an old coat in anabandoned apartment in Bohemia, and procuring the small painting that the fictitious Vladimir Slapeta commissioned from painter Andrew Grassie. Her art practice is centred on taking an exploratory and experimental approach to narrative and storytelling, where such encounters are combined into reflexive and deceptively simple tales. Keenly interested in the possibilities of a transcriptive arts practice, her films and drawings often feature stories nested within other larger stories, forming a mise-en-abyme structure connected across mediums and formats, within which her drawings can appear in her films or installations in surprising ways, sometimes featuring as ananimated sequence, a still, a spatial device, a found object, or an un-realised film. LINK: www.amcreamer.net
Asking: How do we speak? What do we say? We open up our mouths and out fall stones. by Ruth Barker
/BARKER/ /barker/ Extract from a conversation between Ruth Barker and the archaeologist and educator Lindsay Allason-Jones. The conversation took place in Allason-Jones’ office in the University of Newcastle on 06/08/10, and was transcribed and edited by Ruth Barker. All remarks in [square brackets] are Barker’s additions. This conversation and its transcript were produced as part of Low Metamorphosis; Barker’s Leverhulme funded residency at the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies.
Lindsay Allason-Jones: Somebody once told me that there’s a philosophy of life that says that you only exist as long as somebody remembers you. I thought about some of our Roman tombstones, and I wondered whether, in that case, someone like Pervica might still exist because we know her name again, and so we can remember her again. [...] The question Why is always important. We can ask why does somebody put up a tombstone? We have to start by asking what it might be that the person is trying to say. With a tombstone, the obvious fact that’s being conveyed is that someone who was alive has died, but there are far more nuanced questions. Why has someone else put up a tombstone to them? Why are they using that particular type
of tombstone? What have they decided to put on that tombstone? The other day I took the students to a modern cemetery so we could see some modern tombstones and we even looked at some tombstone catalogues, which are absolutely fascinating. And as we looked around the cemetery the students really started to notice the choices that have been made about people’s gravestones. We found a Bart Simpson on one grave for example, and an Eeyore, and lots of teddy bears and even a motorbike, with a helmet and gloves and boots. I wasn’t sure, before we went, how helpful it was going to be, but it was brilliant for getting the students to think about who is grieving for the dead person, and why they might be grieving - what do they believe will be happening to this dead person now that they’ve died? It’s a way of asking what does it all mean? Ruth Barker: You’re asking in a sense how the memory of a person is being constructed by or for others through the tombstone that they leave. LAJ: Yes. [...] But that goes back to the idea that every artefact tells a story. Every artefact that has ever existed was created by a person. It was created either because that person wanted that object to serve a purpose for themselves, or because they thought that other people would pay to have that object because it would serve a function for them. And whoever made that object made it out of the most suitable material that they had available to them at the time, and they’ve made it to the size, shape and general
design that they think is going to be the most appropriate – either in terms of function or attractiveness. And every artefact is also going to convey some kind of financial input, whether it’s hard coin, or exchange value, or just plain effort. Something of a person has gone into each object that we find. It’s very interesting to think these things through. [RB (The question I wish I’d asked, but didn’t): But what about art? ] [...] LAJ: [in answer to the question I did ask]: That’s a very interesting question. It’s the question we have with many of the Roman tombstones, because certainly you do get stones like Gaius Aeresine Saeneus in the Yorkshire Museum, which shows him with his wife and two kids because even though he was still alive, his wife and children had already died. So the stone is a memorial to him as well in a sense because he’s also depicted on it, and he’d obviously planned that. There’s also a chap who set up a tombstone to a lady called Julia Velva, also in York, and who says that he’s paid for the tomb for himself and his family in his lifetime, and so he’d obviously also planned ahead. But in an awful lot of other memorials you’re not sure if the person depicted has left instructions, or whether their grieving widow or heir has decided how they’re going to be represented. The other day I spoke to a stone mason who had a very nice sandstone tombstone leaning against the wall. He said that it was one of
a pair for a husband and wife - one of whom has already died. So one stone is already out in the graveyard, and this one, which had been prepared at the same time, is all ready for the other partner. The stone mason is storing it until the time comes. [...]
that’s who Victor he was – or at least, he’s certainly black, and whether he’s gay or not is open to discussion. But the students were fascinated in the relationships that you might be able to read from this image, from the way he was portrayed.
RB: i suppose the impulse to memorialise is a desire that hasn’t changed much.
[And so yes, we see and we think and perhaps we learn. We look at the things around us, and they shape us, just as we might have shaped them. And how do we learn to speak? From the past, to the present. How do we speak, and what do we say? What can we ever say? We open up our mouths and out fall stones. Perhaps it’s always the same. And perhaps it’s only ever changing.]
RB: I suppose the impulse to memorialise is a desire that hasn’t changed much. LAJ: Some Roman tombstones give a huge amount of information. Downstairs we have a facsimile of someone called Victor’s tombstone, and the students and I poured over that the other day. Here we have an incredibly expensive, very detailed tombstone, which shows a young man reclining on a bed. It’s so detailed that you can see the fringe on the bolster, the carvings on the legs and the arms of the bed, and even the inlay that would have been on the front of the bed. It’s fantastic, absolutely wonderful. And when you read the inscription you realise that this is ‘just’ the freedman of an ordinary soldier. He [Victor] came from Morocco, so one of the possible readings from the stone is that it’s a memorial to a gay black man. In a sense it’s well known now that
IMAGE CREDIT: Ruth Barker © 2010 LINK: www.ruthbarker.com
BREAKING NEWS: NATLAND SB MAINLY SHOWS CHINESE WORKS by NATLAND SB
In tweet Natland SB art Galleri is a thought conceived in Bergen Norway and is run by a director managing and a disposable curator. It has furthermore no need for artists to participate in the continuation. Those who do not follow can be dismissed. We are with too many anyway. The mistakes in this text are intentional or can be considered as a flowering truth. There is no discussion… only double mono conversation. Who is addressed? Hmm…it is clear nobody and nothing will be good enough but just temporary sufficient. There are simply not too many tunes on our flute left.
sixtth manifest natland sb is a gallery of nothing. SB: This is the requested contribution for NABROAD magazine måg and therefore automatically the Sixth Manifest of Natland SB. It is made up in Fonte Nuova Lazio Italy just before the 2nd Meeting of the Rectangular Table could happen which makes this present again history. That clearly means it has no value but should nevertheless be taken into account seriously. We have an interview. S answers while B asks. We leave out the real questions of the beginning: enough words are spoiled and an equal amount of images is exposed already.
Sixth Manifest NATLAND SB IS A GALLERI OF NOTHING. B: Natland SB has entered not so long ago the Bergen suburban art scene! Does it already economically pay off? Does Natland SB want to make name and fame or is it just escaping responsibilities, staying safely indoors confusing the private for public domain, annoying it with domestic sorrows? Is Natland SB touching any global issues or should we turn some extra lights on? Can Natland SB count till 10 in Norwe-
gian? How Norwegian and how abroad is Natland SB anyway? Green is not your favourite colour? Natland SB hates messy situations? Are you gay? S: You smell like snow from last year sniffed and pissed on by more than one dog although the glasses you wear disturb the setting. Oh, I will obey the intro not to re-chew too much which can be googled as long it is permitted by those who control our bu..… B:This is a good start! It does not help much watching more hard talk. Let me try the other and much greater of the legs: What a splendid initiative: Natland SB! What a load of energy exposed in such short time! Does it intend to continue in this top gear and make a difference on long perspectives? The slogan used for the first seminar seems to have shaken some. How much less is more now? Natland SB choices newly balance the aesthetics with the ethics? What is behind it and who is in front? S: To be kind to the ignorant and short for the followers: Natland SB is a, significant or not, initiative founded around a nail and a couple of bins north of Paradis and south from Slettenbakken. Natland SB started exposing objects less than a year ago and as ever too late but Natland SB at least has created a unique tribute for these inconvenient ready mades. It is a last resort for the ignored, unseen, wasted, abandoned and unwanted creatures, art rejects. Just getting rid of it is not enough and a last salute is welcomed. A repetition focused on the future. Beyond contemporary art is only the temporary art
left: the eternal returns. It is rhizoming Duchamps and Nietzsche … nothing new either. The valuable view is the one that changes. Natland SB claims that the ever-important economy has turned the consumer into the perfect product itself already. New market economy has overcome the handicaps the old fascism had not mastered yet. Coming to the nationality issue, which is seemingly a hot item in the excluding, world: Natland SB obviously shows mainly works that are made in China but it is not pinned down before a Norwegian touch was added. It has been consummated Nordically. On the other hand… yes, it could have been initiated elsewhere too but it was not… the nail itself has no passport. How much nationality can a product have anyway: Oil has no… B: So predictable…screaming neo communist slogans, quickly backing off, getting political correct and leaving the art for what it is...ha… Omnipotent Deo Natland SB is at the moment far south of Bergen and as much north of Rome? That can not be a coincidence. I continue the thought: Natland SB is scared of big and fast and noisy? Postmodern Arte Povera is not really the tea party it could get involved in and the nail is a convenient gimmick. Natland SB is a trendy playmate of nothing complementing the already existing arrogant Scandinavian bore! A perfect scapegoat and hide away for the coward! Anything to add so far, San Benito? S: Correct again mighty snow bandit: Natland SB has no guts, is too polite to insult to the core and frankly too educated and formed to formulate any
original thoughts, just enough monkey to entertain a little within it’s own flock. No great art can be expected from Natland SB, not much more than additional, in the best case multi correct culture instead of that oh so great exalting Arte Povera which changed the looks of this planet so drastically and the pockets of a few. We agree on that too! But Natland SB does not really care about that at all, it just does not care about that, it does no… (long silence)… The nail is also old but yes… the gallery is a pretty neat place, well ordered and looked after and the staff is not sufficiently aware of the danger of taking out the needle… eh…that nail from the real issue that all humans are pieces of unsustainable fucking shit in various united colors… at least there we are equal. B: Hoho parrot, get out of your golden horn of plenty. You think you can get away with this attitude of licking my balls? Be aware that like those balls of David Hammonds the price goes up with the size. Are you tough enough for that? Put your hands where I can see them. I realize now you got them dirty dealing with the filth you call exposements but are indeed excrements. S: Can I ask in return: what are you so stressed and uptight about, dear temporary observer. Is it not just passing time all we do? After all it is in perfect Christian tradition to judge the other: I am so good and they are so evil! Fundamental right. Wrong? You want me to impersonate a detached Greenpeace caretaking metallic monk smelling farts twice during this constructed interview?
No, before you continue I refuse to do so and demand your balls on the table instead and… and please take those silly Corbu specs off! B: … rhetoric bla bla mumble… you do not think those spectacles fit me? Thought it would make me kind of more approved … more whi… more sophisticated and it goes so well with the red scarf, the new dress and the complementing handbag I discovered at Freetex…can I go to the toilet? Any last words? Keep it short. S: Pinekjøtt. B: Can I go now? I can not hold it any longer! I am dripping in my knickers! SB: So, B disposes himself while S thinks about Lazio and starts staring under the table at the hands and for an unexpected maecenas. They both leave prints behind. The word “recycle” is a dirty word and therefore not used. Concluding we are not doing well and our date is expired. The task however is clearly done.
LINKS: Natland SB Galleri Exposements: http://natland-sb-art. blogspot.com/ Natland SB Manifests in order: http://natland-sb-outdoor. blogspot.com/ Natland SB is also on FB Natland SB contact: firstname.lastname@example.org IMAGE CREDIT: Title: Natand SB finds Norway in Rome Natland SB © 2010
RODNEY POINT ,
launch: march 2011 with: secret views
this is art in places | www.rodneypoint.com | rodney point, galery | rodney point , gallery
HEGE DONS SAMSET
One day they found a large crack in the earth. Beside it lay some objects scattered on the ground. An old lamp was still shining in the dark.
some thoughts on humans and nature by Hege Dons Samset
My interest in the humans began in early childhood when I spent most of my time in a tree outside our house, observing the people that came and went underneath it. Like little ants they went about their business, often demonstrating a behaviour that baffled me. Later, at school, I became an outsider and learned the advantages of seeing the world from a distance. This is most beneficial for an artist, and I turned it into a profession and moved down from the tree to travel the world and investigate the mysterious human race. “…most fully and convincingly human, a reflection of what we all are when we’re alone inside ourselves.” – Paul Auster, “The Book of Illusions”
The territory of my artistic practise is nature. Nature is where I perform, stage my photos and videos and tell my stories. My art is always moving as I develop new insights, and a topic at the moment is “quality of life”. I am interested in observing human behaviour and how man coexists with nature, how he relates to his surroundings and treats what he so fundamentally depends on. A nomadic life has brought me to many remote places where I have found people living under very different conditions. By using myself as a barometer I investigate what quality of life means to people and how being close to nature forms us. Nature represents the presence of non-human order,
and this can be a good place for someone who function in other ways than most people. Nature is a fundamental element in my work. I am interested in the meaning of being an outsider in the widest sense of the word, and there are many different types of outsiders. I refer to them in the sense that they usually create disturbances and fear because they represent something unfamiliar and strange, something outside the system society is built upon, outside what is seen as normal. I see nature as a place where they can belong, because they can escape the rules and regulations imposed by society, and function on their own terms, in an environment characterized by diversity. “… a deep wordless
communication with Nature itself, and with this the restored sense of being in the world, of being real.” – Oliver Sacks, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” So what does quality of life mean to us? What does it take to give us the feeling of living a fulfilling life? It certainly means something completely different to a fisherman in the Hanga Roa village on Easter Island, than it does to the owner of an ecological camp in the Atacama Desert, a horse farmer in Iceland, or to a sales executive in New York. What I find most interesting in conversing with the people I live with during my travels is that certain things
are universal, and intrinsically human, whether one lives in the countryside, on an island or in a megacity. Certain basic needs have to be filled in order for us all to live a good life, and those needs are more visible in remote places under extreme living conditions. Yet the same needs are hugely affected by urban complexity and global growth. Maybe the best things in life are free. And maybe we need to celebrate that by making sure we do not miss out on what really matters to us. And maybe we should all spend more time in trees.
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Backbone (Detail The Crack (Detail) The Kingdom (Detail) The Wold is Saved (Detail) Hege Dons Samset © 2010 LINK: http://www.hegedonssamset. com/
HOW TO FIND A FORTUNE by Ina Otzko
/OTZkO/ HOW TO FIND A FORTUNE by Ina Otzko how to find a fortune between all your short-lived stories what’s waiting for you is the land of special sin treatments some babes are built for trouble almost never do you see the man who terrorizes you the man who spies on you, or the man who fights dirty too for and too man man and of
much beauty the silent seducers the man who cheats much brain’s for the who is a deserter, the who has no mercy is a victim
unnatural desires a slave of too much money blowing himself up turning into a man who could steal a country the incredible escaper don’t break your body while you are watching yourself being eaten alive by the man who sweet talks you asked for it and you will get it the way you want it crawl my lovely you leave me cold
IMAGES: How to find a fortune by Ina Otzko, New work 2010. LINK: www.inaotzko.com
READ AMINA’S TEXT: BATTIR in måg issue one here: http://theenvironment.vfolio. co.uk/leadgeneration/254/70 IMAGE CREDITS: Title: Tracing the Line Amina Bech © 2010 SEE MORE WORK BY AMINA BECH: www.aminabech.net
/feature/TEXT/ /bech/ /BECH/ THIRD PLACE
locus Presents: Invisible clarity a study of Genius Loci by Thale Fastvold and Bardo by Tanja Thorjussen
About LOCUS Tanja Thorjussen is educated at KHIB in Bergen and Parsons School of design in New York where she studied, lived and worked for 10 years, and moved back to Oslo in 2006. Thale Fastvold is educated in photography, literature and art history from the
Istituto Europeo di Design, University of Oslo and John Cabot University, and lived in Rome and New York for several years before returning to Oslo in 2005. The two met during curatorial studies at HIT. Feeling they had many things in common they started working together on curatorial projects addressing themes
such as migration, alchemy and liminality. They soon created LOCUS art and curator group and have since been working on curatorial projects, book projects and collaborative art projects. IMAGE CREDITS: Bardo (2010) Tanja Thorjussen Genius Loci (2010) Thale Fastvold
Guiding prayer for lost souls Listen carefully: The way you are suffering Is a result of your own mentality Your karma You don’t have to do anything There are no problems No obstacles You may float Freely Hold on to your meditation Let reality dissipate They don’t exist You don’t exist And so - liberation Echoes of memories Cloud landscapes Surprises in the light Reflections in the waves Sunrays on raindrops Moonlight on misty fields Fog surrounding you All is in your mind If you feel the need to gravitate to reality Follow the sunny visions Create white light Eliminate all unpleasant thoughts Do not be fearful Let it be (This state can haunt you) Be still Your goal is bliss Stay focused Don’t let panic overcome you Walk tall through the darkness Greet strangers with love Make happiness around you You are now ready Choose your path Be open With no judgement Be graceful and serene Enter existence Your spirit is safe We are here with you
by LOCUS 2010 www.locusart.org
Land | Water Land | Water and the Visual Arts Research group consists of artists, writers and curators from the University of Plymouth, exploring landscape, space and place through a wide range of creative and critical practices.
/LETTERS/sweden/ NABROAD ARTISTS IN SWEDEN by Stuart Mayes Artist Stuart Mayes looks at NABROAD Artists living and working in Sweden. Follow the links to the artists’ own websites and projects.
Anders Sletvold Moe: www.anderssletvoldmoe.com Asgeir Skotnes: www.asgeirskotnes.com Ingvild Hovland Kaldal: www.ingvildkaldal.com Guro Olsdotter Gjøl: www.guroolsdotter.com Per Kristian Nygård: www.perkristiannygaard.com Andreas Soma: www.myspace.com/andreas_soma Line Anda Dalmar: www.lineandadalmar.com
Anders Sletvold Moe’s work is inviting and intriguing. He makes installations and interventions in architectural space. He works with the physical material of the space as well as with less tangible elements such as daylight, shadow and reflection. For his exhibition at Mia Sundberg gallery he created a piece that at first appears to be some kind of image on the wall or perhaps even a mirror reflecting light back to us. On closer inspection it turns out that we are looking at an aperture rather than an image. Anders has constructed a false wall that allows him to twist the natural daylight from the window behind the wall. The work is immaculate, its minimal appearance betrays the invisible labour and craft that have gone in to its production. Anders’ installations explore our experience of the built environment. Through shifting our perception he offers us unexpected delights. Video documentation of Anders’ 2009 exhibition at Uppsala Konsthall shows just how subtle and playful his work is. Asgeir Skotnes’ recent curatorial project is Suppose it is true after all? What then? at Johan Berggren in Malmö. The exhibition features work by Ryan Trecartin (US), Matias Faldbakken (NO) &Tobias Madison (in collaboration with Kaspar Müller) (CH). The show presented the distinct creative processes untilitzed by each artist. The press release notes that the artists take “very different points of departure” but are united in “an interest in how a stongly defined visual language (…) can form the basis for identity creation and artistic integrity.” Read the press release in full here.
Asgeir is currently studying at the Malmö Art Academy. The academy attracts a number of Norwegian students many of whom continue their practice in Sweden after graduation. Malmö is easily accessible to both Denmark and mainland Europe which makes a good location for new and established artists. Ingvild Hovland Kaldal’s Men Eating Ice-cream (2007) is a collection of Polaroid portraits. Each images shows a man, usually on the street, eating an ice-cream. We aren’t told who the men are, and most of them are smiling while they proudly hold their ice-cream cone, they seem pleased to have their picture taken. Ingvild’s portraits are subtly sensitive, they show men – business men, fathers, grandfathers perhaps, young men, older man – enjoying the simple pleasure of taking an ice-cream on a summer’s day. This sensitive approach to exploring man’s relationship with objects and contexts runs throughout Ingvild’s practice. Perhaps the most intimate of her works to date is Mom and Dads Herbariums (2009), this installation with slide projectors shows images of both parents botanical school projects completed six years before they met, most poignant are the ten images of plants collected on the same day in different parts of Norway by two people who would later become lovers and parents. In October Guro Olsdotter Gjøl in collaboration with the Swedish artists Jacob Sjöstedt and Henrik Sundblad exhibited new work at Skup Palet in Göteborg. The exhibition continued Guro’s practice of site-specific installation. Her installations are both playful and serious. Home stage. slow
dissolve to: at first appears to be a floorboard bursting upwards to show the insulation material below, however it is much more subtle than just that. The raised floorboard casts a shadow on to one wall of the gallery, the shadow creates the illusion that the gallery is a regular square sided room when in fact the room is unusually pentagonal (five-sided). Guro’s work teases the viewer’s other sense too. The slide projector in ‘Illusions never fake their lies’ has neither slides nor a power cable yet we can hear it working, slowly clicking from one slide to another. It is of course a conceit, the sound of slide projector is played through the gallery’s ventilation system. In a text accompanying the ‘things to forget’ exhibit at Göteborgs Konsthall Guro refers to her work as ‘site specific incursion’. Here the artists’ small interventions to details of existing objects draws attention to how a tiny difference is immediately noticed and then soon becomes unnoticed again – how quickly will we stop ‘seeing’ the dead leaves on the floor under the artificial pot plant? Per Kristian Nygård makes art that engages with ideas of almost hyper-paranoid social utopias. His collaboration with Are Blytt on the ‘Stealthiest State of Mind’ exhibition presents models and drawings of houses and other buildings that highlight the fine line between security and terror. Alongside the prototype ‘Stealth House’ are drawings of underground shelters whose design both protect and imprison. Aspects of social control are explored in Per’s other work such as ‘Social Sculpture for Social Democracy’
– a public sculpture resembling structures used to organise snaking queues of people. Out of context Per’s sculpture recalls minimal modernist constructions whilst remaining firmly located as a device for control and order. The attention to detail in the sculptures and drawings gives them seductive quality. The complex relationship between man and his landscape is a recurring theme in Per’s practice. For his graduation show he constructed an installation featuring a grass hill that is literally coming through the architecture. The half open glazed door of ‘Untitled Landscape’ is held in place by the encroaching nature, the door can be neither opened nor closed. The work is at once both playful and a little frightening. The usually clear boundary between the wild and civilised has been broached. Andreas Soma’s monochrome drawings on paper remind one of cartoon series, in particular the clouds of dust left behind when a character races away, when similar images are produced as wall paintings they take on new authority. A version of this work was recently included in the Tegnebiennale where it took full advantage of the generous wall space. In addition to these pieces Andreas also paints – a series of vintage armchairs for example and other domestic items including houses themselves. In these paintings the isolated subject is depicted against a monotone background or on a simple surface. The paintings are calm and still, the very opposite of the energetic vibrant drawings. Line Anda Dalmar works across artforms that in-
/MAYES/ Stuart Mayes Born, Hullbridge, Essex 1968 Lives and works in London (UK) and Stockholm (SE). Stuart has had a studio in London since graduating from the Media Fine Art MA programme at the Slade School (1997). In 2009 he was International Residence Studio artist at wip:sthlm (Stockholm). He now divides his time between the two cities. His practice is sculpture and installation. Stuart’s work is subtle blend of personal and cultural references expressed through carefully selected materials and processes. Recent exhibitions include: Play at MOCA London (2010); Go-Go at M2 Gallery, London (2009); Hazard Perception (group show) at Charlie Dutton Gallery, London (2009); Brief Encounter at Nordisk Kunst Plattform, Norway; Stonewall 40 Years On (group show) at Clifford Chance, London (2008); Golden Rain (Michael Petry project) at Stavangar 2008, Norway (2008). In 2007 Stuart was selected for Pilot 3 (index of unrepresented artists) by David Barrett, Associate Editor of Art Monthly (UK). Stuart was a founding member of Crystal Palace Artists’, an artist led group that he chaired for three years. He has also lectured in contextual studies at Central Saint Martin’s and Middlesex University, and been a guest lecturer in the UK and abroad. Forth coming exhibitions include Gilding the Lily (group show) at Transition Gallery, London (2011). Stuart will be representing MOCA London at Supermarket Art Fair 2011 in Stockholm.
clude installation, interaction and new media. Her practice is project based, these distinct projects are realised through whichever media is most appropriate. The ‘Nature’ project was a series of site-specific actions that were documented. The project presents one of the contradictions of modern life – the desire to do exercises in a gym that replicate and replace activities that could be an integral part of everyday life. The images of Line on a static exercise bike in park, on a step machine at the bottom of a flight of stairs and using a rowing machine on a dock are at once humorous and unsettling. Line reminds us how contemporary urban living re-packages and sells back to us experiences that are simulacra of real living. Her new project ‘Anyplace’ is a development of previous ideas that tests the possibilities of creating virtual life histories. Visiting the website, or the touring photo-booth, enables one to create an interactive virtual identity. You can decide to appear in other people’s photographs so suddenly it appears that you’ve attended a wedding or birthday party. The project plays with today’s obsession for “living online” and public popularity. Line’s ambition is to make art that welcomes participation and that operates outside of traditional frameworks. Her projects are clever, witty and made with the intention to provide space for her participants to make up their own minds about what they are doing and seeing.
2012.VIDEOS + .BOOKS .MARKS =6036.WORKS
In 2012 something exciting will happen Artists from all over the world will participate in a unique event; 2012 Videos 2012 Books 2012 Marks = 6036 Works
6036.WORKS is a movement, exhibition and an art collection
/opportunity/ Caling ALL artists, international artists, men- artists, women- artists, young- artists, old- artists to take part category 1: video art Category 2: books artist sketchbooks, artists books, creative books, manga books, digital books category 3: marks painting, drawing, kite-flying, grafiti, knitting, you name it
WANT TO BE P 2012=6036.WORKS IS A NABROAD PRODUCTION IN COLLABORATION WITH FRIENDS. submission details, and guidelines PUBLISHED ON http://www.nabroad.org/opportunities.html E:email@example.com
PART OF IT?
For a period of 2 months I had the privilege of living at Rimbun Dahan http://www. rimbundahan.org/home.html
Reflections on my Artist Residency
In this period I was living next to a dance studio that I had at my disposal whenever I wanted. I found myself surrounded, not only by nature and animals but also beautiful architecture by one of MalaysiaÂ´s greatest architects, Hijjas Kasturi, who owns the art centre, and also lives there.
in Malaysia by Kristine Nilsen Oma
I am a choreographer. I prefer letting my work emerge spontaneously, rather than pre-plan too much. I also practice Nichiren Buddhism, which I do as a member of the peace organization Soka Gakkai International, also present in Malaysia. I spend hours doing stream of consciousness improvisations within movement, sounds, talk and singing in order to fathom where the work is heading. I allow the work to shape itself; I try letting go of the control of my conscious mind. I feel that through this process I can discover an honesty that audiences respond to and enjoy. (For me personally the process is a journey of self-discovery.) It was interesting to place myself in an environment so far removed from my day to day living and discover the complexities of a totally different culture. Waking up to the sound of four different mosques every morning at 5.30am set the scene for totally new impulses. Although I practise a Japanese form of Buddhism, as a Westerner I am still far removed from Eastern experience. I am Norwegian, from Bergen. I can be loud, flirtatious, drunk sometimes, and opinionated and will speak my mind. This is obvi-
ously in complete contrast with the traditional female model in Malaysia. A Muslim woman can be arrested for taking home a man at night. When kindly offered the residency I realised I had to learn to modify my behaviour, so I could use this great chance to develop my practice. I was humbled by the fact that I was completely unaware how to act in various situations. I found myself in this beautiful country with a fascinating history. To see Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists living together in peace and harmony was impressive - the largest group of Malaysian inhabitants are Muslims. Another, large part of the population are Chinese Buddhists, and a third part are Indian Hindus. I could perhaps suggest here that the government controls it all and that the freedom of opinion and religion do not exist here. (Muslims are born Muslim, and it is illegal to change faith.) Yet I learned that I couldn’t necessarily see it this way. Am I any freer? Do I have more freedom because I am able to choose what man I bring home at night? Or do I feel happier because I am allowed to be opinionated? I don’t necessarily think so now. I can’t give you any exact answers here; I just know that my life perspective has totally changed as a result of this art residency. I feel more than ever now that although the cultures in various parts of the world differ we are all human beings – we just manifest it in different ways depending our surroundings.
tropical heat didn’t allow me to rehearse in the studio all day, so I spend a good deal of time playing with associative ideas using my experience of Malaysia. ´Marilyn Monroe’s last 20 minutes before committing suicide´ became the title of the work. It was a response to my inner turmoil associated with the travelling and meeting of a culture that made me somewhat feel reclusive and strange. I could relate to Marilyn’s life, not least because she was my age when she died. The work became my comment on a culture of sexuality as opposed to love, which I am actually part of. The response from the local audience was one of respect, appreciation and wonder. People related to what I was doing, and that pleased me as a human being and an artist. I perhaps challenged their views on sexuality and naked skin. I did this in a way that I feel was respectful, yet pushing their views in a more liberal direction. I believe that naked skin and honesty about feelings are part of life. I believe that by sharing my personal journey maybe life can become easier for others. One burden shared is half a burden less. Something like that.
My residency above all gave me a network and an opportunity to show my work and connect with other international artists. My work also developed in a different tempo than usual as the
IMAGE CREDIT: KRISTINE NILSEN OMA ©2010 LINK: www.omamotion.com
/LETTERS/thailand/ THE REASON WHY ART IS DEAD AND ALIVE by Christian Wolther
• Art is dead and thank heavens for that. • Art can never die, and thank heavens for that. • Art is a concept, with aesthetic qualities to transcend it. If art were only a concept, then art would be quite dead in a philosophical perspective. But the aesthetic qualities of art make art stay alive, and thank heavens for that. • Time has come now, to reflect on art as a medium, in order to see its limitations, the way it is institutionalised within its own conceptual framework, or within its own frames or within the gallery or museum or within the book that the works of art appear in. This should be done for the purpose of understanding art better phenomenologically and scientifically, but also for the purpose of seeing how we can start to transport the qualities of art from the institutionalised - so called - world of artand into society as a whole. Art should become attitude and strategy within society and humanity. And this process should start now. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that art just keeps repeating itself, what changes is only the concept and the effect of the work itself. The mechanisms of art, and the conceptual limitations of art, stay the same. And this is not sufficient anymore, I think. Art as attitude and strategy in society have more potential than the
eternal repetition of presenting art works within an institutionalised setting or framework. The second reason is this: We need to make better concepts and strategies in order to improve global world society, and art, science and philosophy, should become a part of this process. Politics and business leaders should come to accept that deeper levels of knowledge and of ethics and aesthetics would actually be appropriate for the 21st century. The world is in need of better attitudes and more appropriate strategies.
values and the knowledge of art more useful and influential in society, we need to open up for new conceptual strategies, and a new attitude towards what art and society can be. Art could become the way we perceive society, because society could become art.
• The future of art should be to become more influential - as attitude, knowledge and strategy, in society and politics. The future of society and humanity should therefore also become a part of contemporary art. Art, society and humanity should be parts of the same project. • So the reason behind the concept I am presenting here is the fact that art is repeating itself - thousands of installation works or paintings or performances are ending up as less than a minor variation of a theme that has been addressed hundreds or thousands of times before. Art is quite often boring now, simply because it repeats itself, or more accurately, the world of art repeats the same mechanisms of the way an artwork works. And this is not enough anymore. Art as we know it is not enough anymore, because the concept is not enough anymore, without it being able to transcend itself or its own limitations. In order to make art and especially the
NEXT: SOLO EXHIBITION ‘UNTITLED OCEAN’ WHERE: THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF THAILAND WHEN: 7.- 28. JANUARY 2011 Opening: Friday 7. January 18:00 LINK: www.christianwolther.com
ANDRE VON MORISSE © 2010 PINK FREUD AND THE PLEASANT HORIZON, (ONGOING WORK) www.andrevonmorisse.com
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comments unedited DET ER ENORMT MYKJE DE HAR FÅRTT TIL PÅ SLIK KORT TID. GLAD FOR AT DET NO FINST EIN ORGANISASJON SOM KAN ARBEIDE MELLOM DET IKKJEKOMMERSIELLE OG DET KOMMERSIELLEDET TRENG VI! (Kunstnar, Bergen)
I have lived away from Norway for 15 years and often thought that an initiative such as this would make sense. (Artist, London)
THANK GOD FOR THIS ARTIST RUN ORGANISATION. BRILLIANT INITIATIVE, GLAD YOU EXIST!
TAKK OG LOV FOR DENNE KUNSTNER-DRIVE ORGANISASJONEN, KJEMPEBRA INITIATIV, GLAD FOR AT DERE FINST! (Artist, Oslo) måg is a great magazine! (Curator, London)
COMMENT: GALINA MANIKOVA (UNEDITED TEXT) Reading “Home is where your feet are” by Marianne Morild. This text has awakened a lot of mind reflections and memories of the past. A norwegian girl alone in a class segregated old english world longing for a walk in a forest... A walk in a forest is THE definition of a norwegian soul...
First it came to my mind, how I was waiting to get my beer at a working class peoples pub with a bunch of friends from a photographic symposium. A rather drunk guy in front of me in the line barked at me in anger, and I could not get exactly what happened before one of the fellow photographers explained to me that I have used a high-class english expression at a working class peoples pub. But could not they hear that I am a foreigner, I asked? No, your English is too good! So I remembered the first time I was in London in 1973, 20 years old. We stayed first with Sainsburys in their west London luxury home. I went to the kitchen in the evening before going to bed intending to get some milk warmed, but I could not find the matches to lit the gas plate on the stove. I went around asking the staff for matches. There were no matches. The hostess got real upset. Finally Sainsbury himself asked what I needed the matches for and I explained. He went to the stove, pressed a button, and — the gas got lit!
Next shameful episode happened during the reception the day after, my second day outside of the USSR. I have heard about a little black dress that was supposed to be fitting at any occasion. During the reception in our honor all the guests kept handing their empty glasses to me, as all the waitresses were dressed in small black dresses. Sainsbury himself kept saving me, taking from me those empty glasses and carrying them away. The day after lady Sainsbury took me out for a shopping round. We have also visited the Tate gallery that she has been an honorable trusty for or perhaps an owner of at the time, I don´t remember. Somehow I have not been either excited or suppressed by all those high class people around. Maybe I have had too much on my mind? We were traveling around talking to different people about Russian decedents and how important it was that they were not forgotten by the western world. We had to find the touching words and understandable metaphors. At the third day I was standing in front of 17-18 years old boys at a private college talking about human rights etc. The boys seemed to be preoccupied with my legs under my mini skirt to a much greater extend than Russian politics. I kept trying to attract their attention to the matter, so I asked if they could imagine how it would feel to be separated from their families and parents for a long time. Oh, they just laughed at me! One boy told me that he had not seen his mother since he turned three... so what?
Next I started thinking about me sitting at a café in Oslo all by myself at a table for one, and nobody as much as looked at me during the whole evening. I got real depressed then! I came home and asked if I was so ugly that nobody liked me or what was wrong with me? A week before that in Paris I could not even drink a glass of wine at a street café without being attacked by compliments and kind invitations from three different guys in the run of ten minutes... But in Oslo I could wonder about for days without being able to exchange a word with anyone. Ja, cultural differences... and crossing the borders... Suffering... levels of suffering and the grades of longing... home? There is no home, no mother tongue... just read a brainstorming book “The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home” by Pico Iyer.
(DETAIL) BOOK OF LIFE, FREEDOMED (2009) 110X 700cm, digital print on canvas © Yngvar Larsen 2009 LINK: http://www.yngvarlarsen.com/
28.02.11 out next: camilla løw harold offeh anneE olofsson yngvar larsen wolfgang stiller mattias härenstam