mag WOLFGANG STILLER Anneè OLSOFSSON MATTIAS HÄRENSTAM by Ben Rolfsen HAROLD OFFEH YNGVAR LARSEN STUART MAYES ERICA EYRES
CAMILLA LØW by Ruth Barker
issue three/ 2011 published by nabroad www.maagmag.com
/editor/ Continued life for any identity is not keeping everything as it was, it is considering what it was and what it is and what it can be. 30 years ago, the Sámi population in Norway embarked on what was to become a pivotal moment in their history. The feature ‘To Be Outside Inside’ – 30 years after the Alta-demonstrations” by Marianne Morild, includes contributions by Gjert Rognli, Kristin Taarnesvik, Thomas Kintel and Geir Tore Holm. Marianne articulates an important aspect of identity and its continued life, arguing that progress whilst preserving an identity and its true history is not keeping anything as it was, but to consider what it was, what it is and what it can be. Thomas Kintel so brilliantly puts it; ‘While Sápmi’s always remains something Sámi, the State can be anything, why not an iceberg’.
Harold Offeh is an artist whose work has challenged the definition of identity through the media of television and film. Despite the racial stereotypes formed by the media, Offeh argues that the major issue in the UK and what holds us back is the class division that cuts across identity and race, and that at the end of the day it is money and education that define and restrain us. Ruth Barker interviews Camilla Løw; through perfected sculptures the artist presents us with a world of objects that have deep relationships to each other as well as the stories in which they were made from. Løw states that she wants the relationship between the sculptures to be similar to the relationship between the sculptures and the viewers - in the same way that one moves around a cityscape. The artists Stiller, Mayes and Larsen talk about objects, their relationship to them and the stories that bind the chosen object to its position within their work. Larsen conveys that for him small objects are the essence of his thought process, whilst Mayes talks about the autobiographical element to the objects he chooses to work with. Hotchpotch is an artist group with a DIY approach to their artistic practice. This is a group of young artists, who have
realised a way of working which sets shared experiences and collaboration high on the agenda, and collectively they share a dedication to developing international reference points and platforms outside their own country, whilst creating opportunities for others as well as themselves. This måg bumper-issue includes the design supplement ‘Thirst for Aesthetics’ edited and designed by three young and brilliant people: Bjørnar Pedersen, Vic Hollup and Ellinor Aurora Ausgård. Through the use of simple design elements they present incredibly talented designers who work in a landscape where art and design meet. The levels of contributions are breathtaking in our attempt to make a great magazine. We would not be Surviving, Making, Smiling, and Succeeding without these collaborations and the generosity of everyone involved. This alone makes måg outstanding.
AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM is editor of måg and Director of NABROAD www.nabroad.org
3 COVER PHOTO CAMILLA LØW
MAGAZINE DESIGN BY NABROAD © 2011 www.nabroad.org PUBLISHER: NABROAD NORWEGIAN ARTISTS ABROAD EDITOR: AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM GUEST EDITOR: PAVLA ALCHIN SUB EDITOR: LILLIAN UTNE SKJŒVELAND TATEVIK SARGSYAN EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: CHRISTOFFER EIDE PHOTOGRAPHY: HILDE KVIVIK KAVLI ADVERTISING: COD DIGITAL MEDIA LONDON Copyright of all editorial content is held by måg. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden.
GALLERY 156 Øystein Dahlstrøm 164 Lynne Collins 174 Anne Guro Larsmon 182 Cos Ahmet 188 Aylin Soyer Tangen 194 Pål Jomås
FEATURES 8 CAMILLA LØW / Ruth Barker 26 HAROLD OFFEH / måg
text 3 Editor / Audhild Dahlstrøm
38 Anneè OLOFSSON / Portia Pettersen & måg
134 To Be Outside Inside –30 years after the Alta-demonstrations
48 WOLFGANG STILLER / Audhild Dahlstrøm
/ / / / /
74 STUART MAYES / måg 90 YNGVAR LARSEN / måg 104 MATTIAS HÄRENSTAM / Ben Rolfsen 122 Q&A ERICA EYRES / måg
Marianne Morild Gjert Rognli Kristin Taarnesvik Geir Tore Holm Thoms Kintel
150 Listen to the Banned / Deeyah 206 Public Art in the Far East / Bettina Hvidevold Hystad and Simon Torssell Lerin 212 HOTCHPOTCH
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CAMILLA LØW by Ruth Barker
/ANE LAN/ /LØW/
1) RB: Camilla, you’re an artist whom I think of as having a very clear ‘voice’ in your work - there is an aesthetic, as well as a set of concerns, which are unmistakably yours. And yet as I look through some recent images, I’m also very aware of how your work has grown and evolved - your practice certainly isn’t static. Could you talk about where those artistic concerns have come from, and perhaps how your exploration of them has developed? CL: I like to think that I work within a set of rules or concerns, not too strictly, but ideas that interest me within sculptural practice, and that I’m constantly exploring as I gain more information about them. It could for example be a question of how much material you can remove from one piece before it collapses or stops making sense - this kind of logic. I think this is how my practice has developed - through a constant curiosity, which leads to one experiment after another.
“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
/CAMILLA LØW/ /LØW/
2) RB: One of the things I’ve always found exciting about your work is the tension that seems to exist between your clear, formal vocabulary that describes space, colour, matter, form, and so on; and a very delicate associative or poetic quality that is able to transcend the physical edges of a piece. I can think of sculptures of yours that I’ve seen for example, which have made me think of dancers, or gestures, or songs. Is that a fair reading, do you think? CL: I’m very aware of the fact that my practice deals with fragments of art history and art theory - at the same time I look to more everyday culture and experience, like architecture, music, clothing, dance, typography - all of the many forms that articulate the relationship between people and their environment. I consider the work as a set of interactions with the viewer that depend on the viewer’s position and movements. For this reason my sculptures relate to human scale and human presence and the titles sometimes also refer to human characters or even to actual humans, though the latter is rare. I tend to place the sculptures in groups or together with a larger installation where they can communicate. In my most recent solo exhibition, I explicitly imagined the
different sculptures as a set of characters on stage, a flashback to the Cabaret Voltaire, or the Dadaist theatre. But in fact, though these works were not exactly abstract, they more deliberately, recalled inanimate things than figures, so they kept one step away from the theatre. 3) RB: I’m very interested in the ways in which your works can articulate as well as occupy space. There’s a very dynamic quality to much of your work even when, sculpturally, there may be a real stillness that remains intact within the objects themselves. There’s one exhibition of yours that I’ve actually seen twice for example: Straight Letters, which I saw in 1998 (2008) first at the DCA in Dundee, and then at The Pier in Orkney. Both exhibitions were very different in terms of the ways in which the works played with the very different exhibition spaces in which they found themselves. Could you talk more about that? CL: My work is made in relation to the space or context in which it will be seen, whether it is an outdoor piece, public commission or an exhibition in a gallery or institution. The space surrounding the sculptures, the architecture and the landscape, is part of what defines and shapes
the works. The sculptures made for these two shows consisted of wooden constructions and concrete cubes stacked upon each other. Bringing in modular elements such as these concrete cubes allowed me to work more directly and spontaneously with the space itself, during the installation of the exhibition. At one point during the conception of the work, I realised it was possible to make sculptures that I could not physically lift, move, manipulate. So breaking the work into modular sections was a way to avoid this, to keep control. And some of the pieces shown at DCA were replaced with other works in Orkney and a couple of new pieces were made during the installation in order to sit within the exhibition and the gallery. I still like David Harding’s favourite line ‘context is half the work’. I think I am always looking at ways of reading a sculpture - making it less autonomous and more mobile, or at least potentially mobile. I rarely fix my sculptures permanently but allow them to be stacked or balanced on each other or against a wall. If a nail is enough to hold a hanging piece up then that’s how it’ll be presented. This is of course a constant battle when making permanent outdoor works. I have recently been working on a new language, or a set of systems that will
/ANE LAN/ /LØW/
/LØW/ allow me to make outdoor sculptures that appear less monumental. By making sculptures that can be slotted together rather than welded, the system will allow for many configurations within a piece. 4) RB: The sense of movement, and relational qualities in your pieces, seem to relate to how your pieces often convey or contain very human qualities. Can you talk more about this idea of your sculptures inhabiting a stage albeit, as you say, remaining ‘one step away from theatre’. CL: There are clear references in my work to the historical origins of sculpture, where the human figure is the main subject. There are often anthropometric qualities - as with the concrete cubes that each weigh just about as much as I can comfortably lift, or the nine pieces in ‘Embraced, Open, Reassembled’ at Sutton Lane (2008), that were all about my height. But the relationship to figuration is often indirect, coming via architecture, or fashion, through looking at the way that the structures humans create or inhabit also describe the body and its
movements. I’m interested in the way that abstraction can create a double presence - objects that are both figure and architecture. As though the separation in traditional sculpture of the bust and the plinth and the room could be erased and maintained at the same time. 5) RB: Do you feel this is a central concern for you at the moment? Is the theatrical metaphor something you’ll work with for a while, do you think? CL: I think the relationship to theatre came initially from the spaces certain works were made for. For example, ‘Culture and Leisure’, the exhibition I mentioned earlier where I imagined the different sculptures as characters on stage, was made for a gallery where one wall was entirely glass, overlooking a sculpture park - so you could also view the entire space from outside, as a kind of frieze. The room was really a gallery, a long narrow room that stepped down over three levels, and walking through it seemed to be a very narrative act. So the show became a kind of promenade, where the audience inside would ‘meet’ each work, each character, one by one, while viewers outside would see this interaction as a kind of surreal cabaret. But, for the future, the central concern remains the idea
of experimenting within a set of rules that themselves evolve, responding both to the spaces I show in and to the world around me. Right now I am working in two very different directions, developing several new, large-scale public works, and at the same time trying to find a sculptural method for making two-dimensional images in the studio. 6) RB: One thing that we’ve not really spoken about yet, is the relationship between your work and the viewers who negotiate it. My own feeling is that this relationship prioritises dynamism and movement, not too dissimilar to how the sculptures maintain relationships to each other. Could you talk about that? How are the sculptures’ relationships to the viewer similar or different to the sculptures’ relationships to one another? CL: I want the relationship between the sculptures to be similar to the relationship between the sculptures and the viewers - in the same way that you move around a cityscape - the relationship between you and the surrounding buildings, signs, images, other people etc. I think the experience of looking at the work is totally dependent on the viewer’s participation, and I have this in mind when placing the works for an
exhibition; the way certain works will frame other works or partially block the view, ask the viewer to look up, to turn around. I hope there is a certain logic to the participation of the viewer, and perhaps a curiosity or satisfaction when the viewer does participate and recognise certain systems, references or fragments within the work. I hope there is a positive sense in which it is difficult to get an overview, or find the correct viewpoint. This might lead to a suggestion of possible alternate paths through the work, an impulse to move oneself, to think through movement. Ideally, there is an accumulation of ideas, of visual concepts, that overlap, and produce a different result depending on the sequence in which they are encountered. 7) RB: I’m very excited by the way you bring together images of figuration (the occupied stage, the anthropometric dimensions) with images of the architectural (the traversed city, the encountered building). Of course, both of these sets of images hinge around the (implied) presence of the human, and you’ve spoken about the importance of your audience in the work. But I wanted to ask you something else as well: Is there a possibility of reading your work as a kind of ‘deferred portraiture’, which differs from the conventional portrait because rather than investigating the sitter or subject, you are rigorously examining the various vessels (the architectural spaces, the projected stages, the tailored garments) that physically and conceptually contain them? CL: That’s an interesting question. I would say that my work is no more or less a portrait than a shirt or a coat is, or a necklace or bracelet, or a chair, or a door. It is very specific, and yet not tied to any individual. To the extent that the works seem to me to recall certain people, I discover that through making the work, rather than the other way around. And the whole process feels to me as if it is most about the relations between things, the movement around them, the gaps and holes and spaces, the way
/løw/ meaning comes in afterwards. Sometimes, though, when I am making the work, I think about an imaginary person who might be looking at it, and imagine how the work could describe them, make them aware of themselves, at the same time as they are looking at the work. But equally, I might imagine another sculpture that takes the observer’s role. And then there are the titles, which always come afterwards, and perhaps say something about me. 8) RB: I’d like to finish by asking you about the future, Camilla. I want to know more about the public works that you’ve been thinking of, as these seem very important to you at the moment. Tell us more about them if you can. I feel as though this shift might bring together much of what we’ve already spoken about - particularly the spaces between your sculptures and the architectural and human contexts in which they find themselves. CL: The commissions that I’m currently working on are all within quite contained and defined places. There are four projects, all in public spaces, in settings that mean people will read the
works within an existing context. Each of the four projects concerns a group of sculptures in a larger configuration rather than a singular piece. People will be able to enter the spaces, to walk around them. One project will also have a tiled ground to emphasise the area. I’m finding myself concerned with solving technical questions without compromising my approach to sculpture. I’m experimenting with new materials, new ways of thinking about shapes and materials, and with apparently simple problems such as how you join one element to another, how a work meets the ground. The underlying ideas remain, but they also develop and adapt. In one group of works I’m concentrating on an idea of openness, of framing, fragmenting and cutting the landscape visually. Another group will be able to be seen from almost directly above, so at this point they will seem to resolve into a flat image. Some of the works will keep a very human scale, while others come closer to architecture. The way that I work means that it makes no sense just to amplify forms I have used in the past. The forms are not symbols or signatures with a life of their own. So I am finding different approaches to this question of scale. One, as I mentioned, has been to strip down, to
open up, to empty volumes and remove barriers. Another is almost the opposite treating massive objects as though they were feather light, aiming to create a total transformation that turns the surrounding architecture into stage setting. Working in these public spaces brings a different sense of responsibility, and a different sense of time. As well as looking at works from all angles, I have to imagine them from the future, imagine them growing older, or remaining the same as the landscape or society around them changes. This element of the unknown is the most interesting, but also the most difficult part.
/LØW/ IMAGES: ‘Valentina’ 2007 Camilla Løw -Photo credit: Ruth Clark Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, DCA, Sutton Lane ‘Ramona’, 2008 Perspex & metal, 520 × 80 × 80cm ‘4 + 4’, 2005 Wood & paint, 139 × 9 × 9cm -Photo credit: Elastic Gallery Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, Elastic Gallery ‘Stela’, 2007 Concrete & paint, 150 × 30 × 30cm ‘Crossover’, 2007 Wood, paint & concrete, 137 × 127 × 75cm -Photo credit: Ruth Clark Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, DCA, Sutton Lane ‘Sister’, 2006 Perspex & metal rod, 260 × 60 × 50cm ‘Interchange’, 2008 Wood, paint & concrete, 132 × 66 × 60cm -Photo credit: Elastic Gallery Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, Elastic Gallery Installation view from ‘Broken Windows’, 2007, Elastic Gallery, Malmø --
Photo credit: Sutton Lane Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, Sutton Lane ‘VII’, 2008 Concrete, painted wood 153 x 30 x 57cm -Photo credit: Sutton Lane Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, Sutton Lane Installation view from ‘Open Embraced Reassembled’, 2008, Sutton Lane, London -Photo credit: Ruth Clark Image courtesy: Camilla Løw, DCA, Sutton Lane ‘Nova’, 2008 Concrete & paint, 120 × 30 × 30cm
HAROLD OFFEH by m책g
photo by m책g: Hilde Kvivik Kavli
/OFFEH/ 1) måg: What is your view on the media’s representations of identity, race and cultural belonging? HO: I think that it’s quite difficult to sum up media representations, but perhaps I can comment on the context of things in the UK. I think there is a perception that we’ve moved beyond the old cultural politics, beyond the political correctness debate. There are Black people presenting the news, Asian people on TV soaps, if anything there is a sense that multiculturalism as a social phenomenon was a mistake and that the UK has lost its cultural identity, although nobody can be sure what that identity was. Complacency abounds and this reflects the conservative and liberal media’s view that because there is legislation and policies in place, things are broadly speaking ok. I think there are still many cultural assumptions that need to be questioned. However, beyond the media representation, the major issue that has and continues to afflict the UK and that holds us back is the class division, this cuts across identity and race. Money and education are still what ultimately define us. 2) måg: How important is the audience and the group to you as an artist? HO: The audience is really important to me as an artist. Through my work I’ve often explored the relationship between artist/performer and the audience. I like the idea of establishing or setting up some kind of dialogue with the audience. More recently I’ve been interested in direct encounters through live art events, but previously I’ve explored how that dialogue is mediated by popular culture, film and TV. With regards to the group, I’ve become more interested in establishing different forms of collaboration, and the idea of a collective is one that intrigues me.
3) måg: As a British artist, how do you believe the art world and artists within it should adapt to the current political changes in the UK right now? What do you believe will be the biggest challenges? HO: I have to take a deep breath before answering this. I’ve gone through so many emotions; fear, anger, resentment, frustration and anger again. I’m particularly annoyed by the late political awakening that’s happened in the past few months, where were these people in May 2010 during the election when it really mattered? So many people I know didn’t bother to vote. People don’t use the powers they have and then complain when the government doesn’t listen to them. Artists and the art world will do what they always do in hard times and that is to find innovative and creative ways to survive. I’m sad some valuable organisations and institutions will be lost, but like the aftermath of a forest fire the clearing will provide space and opportunities for new shoots! 4) måg: ‘Being Mammy’ (2004), is one of your most known works, referencing not only the first African American to be nominated and to win an Academy Award; Hattie McDaniel, but also the stereotyping of black
women during slavery as well as in Hollywood movies. The work includes video, objects and performance- it deals with a subject matter that carries vast amounts of difficult memories from the past. How significant do you believe art is in its relationship, or in comparison to history? HO: I think art and culture have always been the primary tools that allow us to process and engage with history. If you examine any artistic movement of any period it provides a time machine that transports the viewer. I think this question goes to heart of why the arts are essential. 5) måg: Who is Haroldinho? HO: Haroldinho is my Brazilian alter ego; he’s that part of me that lives the Ipanema beach lifestyle, sunshine, cocktails and samba. Haroldinho was a project that developed from a triangle arts residency I undertook in 2003. Myself and another artist, Lisa Cheung lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro for nearly 3 months. Haroldinho is a series of performance postcards that seek to encapsulate my experiences of the city. Haroldinho samba dances (badly) in a series of locations around the city while wearing a street cleaner’s outfit
decorated with carnival embroidery. I wanted to sum up my desire and failure to move beyond the cultural clichés of Brazil. 6) måg: In an interview with Lux Online you say that you love TV and TV programmes and that you find performing for video liberating. Tell us about this relationship. HO: One of my pet hates is when people (usually middle class liberal intellectuals) boast about not watching TV. TV is not inherently bad, but I proudly love it at its worst and best, it is by far the most popular global cultural medium today and to dismiss it is stupid and snobbish. Growing up, TV was my best friend (I had real friends too) it has transported me anyway and every way, it informed and entertained me. The connection with my practice was cemented when I first began to look at the origins of Video Art in the 60s and 70s, it was the first opportunity artists had to challenge the dominance of television, and Video Art was DoIt- Yourself TV. I really love a lot of that early work by artists like Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci and Joan Jonas. It looks like the stuff you see on You Tube now. They were pioneers of the ‘broadcast yourself’ movement.
7) måg: How important is it for you as an artist to have an opportunity to make work during an artist residency? HO: It is really important to have that opportunity and over the years it has given me the space and time to open up my practice. However I don’t think all residencies should be linked to the production of work, I think it’s important to be able to simply observe, absorb and reflect. 8) måg: Tell us about ‘The Mothership Collective’ (2006). HO: The Mothership Collective was a project I developed from an invitation from the South London Gallery in 2006. I was given the opportunity to programme a month long series of artist-led workshops for the public. So we transformed the gallery into a Sci-fi Afro-futurist space, partly based on the works of musicians like Sun Ra and George Clinton. I invited artists to respond to ideas of utopia and futurisms by proposing 1 day workshops, these collaborations with the public produced outcomes that over 3 weeks formed an installation that was then open as an exhibition. It was a fantastic opportunity that really opened up my practice. 9) måg: You are able to comment on difficult subjects with humorous and engaging effects. You also have a large fan-base who follows you online as well as in real life. Is Harold a product of the work or is the work a product of Harold? HO: I love this question! Thank you for asking it. I would say there is a transition currently in process; the work was a product of Harold but in order for it to move forward Harold has to become a product of the work!
/torp/ /OFFEH/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Artist Portrait by m책g / Hilde Kvivik Kavli 2011 Graceful (Arabesque 1) 2008 Photography C-type print, 32 x 32 cm Image courtesy: Harold Offeh Hairography (Pink flick) 2011 Photography C-type print 100 x 80 cm Image courtesy: Harold Offeh Carry Load (London) 2010 Photography C-type print 100 x 80 cm Image courtesy: Harold Offeh Being Mammy, Photographic series 2004 Photography C-type print 50 x 50 cm Image courtesy: Harold Offeh Hairography (Blonde Swish) 2011 Photography C-type print 100 x 80 cm Image courtesy: Harold Offeh Special Thanks to: Eloise Calandre David Steans
ANNEÈ OLOFSSON by Portia Pettersen & måg
1) måg: Who and what influence you and make you want to create work? AO: Well, life and death. Questions that occupies my mind everyday like fear of getting old and dying, loneliness, violence, despair, anxiety and so on. Literature, newspapers and music influence me a lot. But mostly just being! It is hard not to be influenced by life itself, considering all things that happen in it. 2) måg: Adrienne Rich wrote that poets must be ‘twiceborn’; they must first have a political experience of the world and its tragedies, and then they must be ‘reborn’ as poets (artists). Do you feel that your work embodies a political understanding of relationships, which you can then represent through an artistic outlet? AO: Absolutely! All my works are a representation of this. Take for example ‘Evil Eye’ the video I did just before leaving New York after living there for 4 years (I actually moved to NY the 1st of September 2001 and witnessed the 11th of September, the fall of the twin towers. In this video I rewrote and sampled tragedies from NY Times that had happened around the world for one
year, it was hundreds of stories that were woven together and I replaced all the names etc with I. The photo ‘Ai’ was made 1 month after the World Trade Centre tragedy and was my way of expressing my feelings about that. Also a new video I am working on ‘Under a serpent sun’ deals with matters like this. 3) måg: You feature your family in much of your work. How is it to work with individuals that you are emotionally and physically attached to? AO: It is like heaven and hell. It has been fantastic to have my parents in my works since they are always available and willing to please (like one always wishes to please one’s own child). We actually work together as a team, but lately I haven’t used them as much, maybe we are done with each other (well not really), but I think it is more because they are getting older and they also start asking too many questions and that makes the process much harder. Though, my father has the role as my husband in my new video ‘Under a serpent sun’. 4) måg: ‘Happy Anniversary’ (Video, 2008) is a 4-minute loop of your parents dancing to a record, 9 years after their divorce. This video has a beauty to it in under-
standing relationships as well as in understanding that relationships can never truly vanish. Now, most of your work has life beyond the work itself. Is this a conscious aspect of your artistic practise or do you believe this only applies to an individual perception of your work? AO: You are right, it is a conscious aspect of my artistic practise, and one work often leads to the next, often due to the fact that my work is part of my everyday life. I collect and think, than rethink, organise and fix everyday, it is a 24 hour job. Whatever happens in my life, good or bad, I tend to make something interesting, inspired by it. That is what I love about being an artist; I can transfer and transform everything in my life into my art. 5) måg: What are you working on at the moment? AO: I am working towards a big solo show at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, the entire 5th floor. It opens the 4th of March. The title of the show is ‘The face of all your fears’. I will show old works as well as new: 3 new videos, 4 new photographs and a new sculpture. I am also working with the album cover of the
/olofsson/ Scorpions Virgin Killer from 1976. It is a cover showing a nude girl around 12 years old. It was banned as soon as it came out in 1976 and for 35 year it has caused trouble and attention. Just check the Internet! So I did a lot of research to find out
more, and I found a lot of interesting people and facts related to this. In a way I dissected the album cover and literally moved into it. The result was the video ‘A Demons Desire’ and one sculpture ‘Jaquline ?’. The original photo will also be shown in conjunction with my works. It has never been shown in public before so I am very excited about this. Another new video for
this show is ‘Under a Serpent Sun’ is in a way a continuation of ‘Evil Eye’; an obsession with collecting bad news from daily newspapers. The video is actually about a radio, a radio playing only two things: one song and news that are read in a particular fashion repeatedly. But I also teach, right now I work as a professor for the Master 1 students at HFF (Högskolan för Fo-
tografi) in Gothenburg. I really enjoy teaching. To meet young students and talk about their works and sharing the experience I have as an artist it is all very interesting and giving. I worked as a professor at the Art Academy in Bergen many years ago and I remember we brought in Malcolm Mc Laren as a guest teacher for one week, things like that makes life and art worthwhile.
I am working on a new photographic project that I will shoot in May, but it seems to be harder then I first thought it would be. -I need permission to get in to a certain building, so right now I write letter after letter and have meeting after meeting to be able to get access. -Like everyday.
6) måg: In your film ‘You need her and you want her golden hair she sees you but she won’t love you because she really doesn’t care,’ your mother becomes witness to the events of your past. In addition, the audience witnesses both you and your mother. Do you think the use of these ‘witnesses’ leads to a greater understanding of truth?
/olofsson/ AO: Does it make it truer? -That, I do not know. When I work with my parents I don’t tell them before what we will do exactly, so when we did this video my mother was not aware of the letters until she actually sat down on the bed. I find the truth in this that she was not given the opportunity to fake or change things. 7) måg: During your residency in Gdansk, Poland, you hired a bodyguard for protection. Ultimately, your time spent with this individual led you to create a body of work centred on this unusual relationship. Was this in part your intention? AO: Yes it was. When I came to Gdansk in December I got a culture shock. It was like Stockholm, but 100 years ago, at least I felt it was that way. It was dark, cold and poor. I only knew the director of the residency and she was not always around. So I decided to hire a bodyguard. This led me to do the photo series ‘Demons’. Later on, while showing the series ’Demons’ at Jack Hanley Gallery, I made a video similar to the photos at a hotel in San Francisco called ‘Demons Sweet Nausea’.
This video was 7 hours and 3 minutes long and was recorded at night in this hotel with a hired bodyguard. The hotel actually burned down to the ground one week after the filming and one woman died in the fire. The fire started in that room. So the 3 minutes is actually footage from the news of the fire. That was a bit creepy. 8) måg: Tell us about your time at the Royal Art Academy in Oslo. Do you have any specific memories of your time there that shape the work you create today? AO: Well, I never thought I was going to get this question and that would maybe have been the best, it has for sure shaped me the way I am today. It was hard work just to get through these 5 year; imagine a young woman at the sculpture department with two macho male teachers in their late 50’s who had no understanding of what I was doing since I did not do a lot of sculptures. I mostly worked with video and photo installations. The school had different departments and you got the feeling that you should stick to the one you entered. It was a constant struggle and sometimes hell. But, luckily, Bente Stokke came in as a guest lecturer and we found each other and this helped me a lot. She actually found me a flat next to hers and we
watched Twin Peaks every Friday evening together. I remember getting a show at a German museum very early on in my studies. There was a lot of jealousy in the air, so I decided to take time out and leave for New York one year, to be able to work without distraction. But I came back and finished my degree. But after a couple of years in Oslo, I realised that it was time to move back to Sweden. Since I am Swedish it was really hard to get any scholarships in Norway after school. 9) måg: Do you believe it is important for artists to have a digital personality? AO: Both yes, and no. I hate facebook, but I also realise that it can be good for my practise. It took me forever to get a homepage but it also makes things easier, you don’t have to send slides and millions of A4 papers anymore. People can just go in and get the info they need. In a way, I hope it is not too important to have a digital personality, I hope one can cope without.
/olofsson/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Title: Heart Break Year: 2011 Size: 180 x 140 cm C-print Title: Be Witched Year: 2011 Size: 180 x 140 cm Edition: 3 C-print Title: Ai Year: 2002 Size: 150 x 228 cm Edition 6 C-print Title: Betty? Year 2011 Size: 102 x 72 cm (same as Richters Betty paining) No edition - Unique C-print Title: Tomorrow Year: 2004 Size: 170 x 130 cm No edition - Unique C-print LINK: http://www.anneeolofsson.com/news.html
stIller by Audhild DahlstrĂ¸m
/FEATURE / /stiller/
1) AD: Tell us about your relationship with China and your experiences from living and working there. WS: After living in NY for around 7 years and being tired of the daily struggle to survive, which also started to effect my art production, I moved
to Beijing in late 2006. It happened to be the peak of the Chinese art boom and it was quite amazing to witness this. Coming from a culture where those things have been settled a long time ago, I met a very open situation, which would allow me to realise big projects in no time â€“ something unthinkable in NY for instance. Every-
thing there was pretty rough but also fresh and exciting in terms of finding new materials for my works or unorthodox spaces to show my work. I use a lot of things, which I find, for my work. In Beijing I could find so many objects, which were new to my eyes and had a particular aesthetic I wouldnâ€™t meet in our western culture.
/stiller/ /morild/ I stayed in a rural area where only village people and some Chinese artists lived. So me being there as a foreigner was quite an attraction for the village people who hardly get in touch with foreigners at all. I was stared at all the time. Most of the Chinese artists over there didn’t speak English, so the communication was pretty limited to drinking and eating together once in a while. I do mostly everything by myself when producing my art works. The Chinese Artists over there were always astonished that I wouldn’t hire people to do it. That’s what almost every one of them does. I hardly met artists there, who would lay hands on their works by themselves. Most of them had no skills. That counts for the sculptors. I loved to run around those building markets in Beijing looking for materials. I always had to bring a Chinese girl since she was brilliant in negotiating. Foreigners always pay three times more without a local helper. This culture of “everything is negotiable “ took quite a while to sink into my system, since I was used to fixed prices. I participated in quite some shows over there and felt that people were really interested but had no
reference points to compare my work. Chinese art by then was mostly about big paintings. Installation was a field they didn’t really touch by then. So there was curiosity but also a big question mark on their faces. I was a bit disappointed of the quality of Chinese artworks. Since there was such a big hype about it, I expected something different. Contemporary Chinese art was corrupted by the art market from the very beginning, which wasn’t very healthy for their art production. Since the boom is fading, a younger generation of artists seem to start looking for more meaningful aspects in art than just to making quick money. All together it was a great experience and challenge to live there for more than 2 years, which I don’t want to miss in my life. 2) AD: Your work consists of large sculptures and object installations, large paintings as well as small detailed and numbered drawings, what is the relationship between the works- do they derive from the same idea-source or are they separate entities from different conceptual ideas? WS: This is a very complex question and not so easy to answer in a few words. I like to work with very different materials and in different techniques.
If I work too long with one material or subject I start to get bored. Therefore I work on different projects and series at the same time. From the late 80’s until 2000 my work was very strongly related to science. I realised that many of my installations looked like laboratories or scientific research places. There were different subjects and questions that interested me. The laboratories became my very own research centre where I did some weird studies, trying to find some answers or just play around. I constantly drew for the last 30 years. Drawings have always been a very important part of my work. Doing a drawing is the most direct and simplest way to transform an idea into artistic language. I don’t trust an artist who can’t draw. My drawings sometimes support my other works but very often they are independent. They are a form of meditation or relaxation to me. When I do big sculptures or installations there is always a lot of thinking, calculating and testing involved. They are very time consuming. I really love to draw for the simple reason that I have the result right in front of me in a very short time and I can do it without thinking. I mostly don’t know what I am going to draw. My drawings are also more personal since I allow
/stiller/ /morstang/ myself to react to a daily mood or idea, which pops up in my mind. Sometimes they are like little stories or just funny thoughts, which come to me. The Jellyfish paintings belong more to the scientific section. Animals have always fascinated me. They still do. When I was younger I wanted to become an animal observer- doing documentaries about wildlife. The Jellyfish paintings are different from my other drawings. It takes quite a while to do them and they are everything but spontaneous. I do only a few per year. My recent 3 dimensional work focuses more on the human figure, which is somehow new to me. The only figurative works I have done before were the twin works. Right now I enjoy exploring new possibilities. The only realistic parts of those figures are the heads, which are taken from life models. The rest of the body is more abstract. Like the wooden part of the “Matchstick Men” or the orange drapes of those wall figures, which define the lower part of the body. Since I have so many different kinds of work it is sometimes hard for people to follow the thread ( leitmotif ) in my work, but I think someone, who looks more carefully wouldn’t find it too difficult to see the connections. The numbered little drawings started some years ago when I became seriously ill and couldn’t do heavy duty work. They are all done on little paint chips, which I collected from a paint store in NY. I did more than 2500 all
together and showed them several times in one single installation spread over one big wall. The idea was to create little “ aspects of life” which become very rich and detailed once they were all united, like building a complete life so to speak. One could enjoy just this colourful wall or get lost into thousands of little details. It is like when two people are walking on the beach. One is overwhelmed by the panoramic view while the other one gets totally absorbed by all the little shells, stones or whatever is lying on the beach. My drawings have a much stronger focus on the human figure than my 3 dimensional works – at least for the first 20 years of my art production. So coming back to your original question I would say most of my works are strongly related to each other while only a few are totally strangers or unrelated intermezzos. 3) AD: Throughout your work we meet individuals, often men and boys, - one gets a sense that some of them reoccur throughout your work, thus they become familiar faces to us. These faces - are they based on true characters or true experiences by you, or someone you relate to? WS: The work “Tribute to the Hereafter” is drawn on a type of Chinese paper, which is a symbol for money and gets burned to honour their dead ancestors. When I saw that paper for the first time I felt that it is was quite a challenge to work with something that has such a strong formal structure and was so meaningful at the same time. Since this paper has some metaphysical aspect I mostly draw some childhood memories on these papers. Memories have a metaphysical quality as well. I made myself
a stencil for the head shape, which I use over and over again. So that little funny or sometimes stupid looking boy is mostly a representation of me, or my twin brother and myself. Sometimes it just represents memories of some experiences from the past. In my other drawings the figures look more male than female, but actually I try not to define them.
I used to be a part time gravedigger when I was a student. Since then I was pretty fascinated with the human skull. Most of my drawn figures are based on the skull shape, which might lead to a more male impression. To me they are just representing the human being in general. 4) AD: Even the objects that are
featured in your work are reminiscent of characters, or human flesh and existence. Can you tell us more about this? WS: The initial thought for objects and installations is that I felt we are more and more interested in packaging and less in the actual contents. I registered a development towards shallowness and superficial values in
/stiller/ stead of depths and something meaningful. So my idea was to make a research of the actual surface. I took those latex skins (surface) from industrial made forms and transformed them into something, which looked like human skin or organ like shapes. Trying to transform “ outside” into “inside” or in other words getting back to something more meaningful through the surface. All the objects I “skinned” were strictly industrial made objects – none of the skins were taken from organic forms. The presentation of those installations looked like being in a prep room of a natural history museum. Like being backstage, witnessing the process of conservation before the specimens get shown in the museum. That’s the place where they have the real interesting stuff. I was always fascinated by natural history museums. They are always my first choice when I go to another city and check out the museums. I love the way they display their specimens. “How to display works” is always an important aspect of my work. I spend a lot of time building special cases and displays for the works. Archiving, preservation are important themes in my installations. The skins and organ like forms
themselves have a very fleshy quality and putting them into boxes add a little bit more of an intimate character, which makes it easier for people to digest. A lot of people reacted very emotional towards those installations since those organic looking shapes evoke a very strong unpleasant feeling. They were either fascinated or just disgusted, nothing in between. Most people have a hard time seeing real organs or inner parts of the body. I guess it has something to do with being reminded that we all have a due date. All those shapes I created are pretty abstract. The actual transformation into something lively, organic happens in the heads of the audience. I really like when my work can trigger those reflections. I am somehow old school and think artists have a social responsibility. Art should inspire people to reflect rather than entertaining them. That makes us different from decorators. 5) AD: What is the story behind the work ‘Twins’? WS: The twins work series is a pretty personal work since I happen to be an identical twin. Normally, I don’t like to get too personal in my work or let’s say I don’t like art works in general, which just illustrate the emotional state of mind or biography of an artist
without offering something, which is relevant to other people as well. I don’t care about Van Gogh cutting off his ear. It is just a very sad, but personal drama, which has nothing to do with me and doesn’t offer anything to think about. I was always interested in scientific related topics like for instance gene technology. Cloning was quite a hot topic for a while, which raised a lot of pro and contra debates about the subject. Very often there is the argument that cloning is not “natural” or it is unethical. A twin is a natural clone. People very often treat twins like some kind of unit. If one of them has some bad habits it reflects on both of them. Twins always have to fight for their identity. The question “what makes me different from him” is a big issue. There is a lot of competition between twins. Not in a way of “who is better” but in “how can I be different”. The work” twins on scale” is a metaphor for this. There are other twin works like “Twins in bowl”, where two identical heads emerge out of the same “pool” or the” test tube twins”. I was playing with the idea of “coming out of one and the same source”. It is great to be a twin but sometimes it is a burden too.
/stiller/ 6) AD: You had your first exhibition in 1984, -since then an extensive exhibiting career in Europe, Japan, China and the US, what have been the biggest challenges? WS: Every new exhibition space is a challenge since I always try to work with the unique nature of each space. Transformation of the actual space is one of the major aspects of a good installation. Whenever I build up a show I am confronted with specific problems. Some exhibition spaces have a very strong atmosphere, structure and it can be very hard to work with them. One and the same work can look huge or tiny depending on the space. Sometimes I meet a situation, which challenges in a very specific wayâ€“ for instance when I did an installation series in churches in the nineties. I made several installations, which completely covered the altar. It made people really angry. People who go to church on a Sunday have a certain expectation of the space they are entering. One installation I did was made out of little plastic parts, which mirrored the altar. The whole altar with the installation
became a huge massive cross. The interesting thing was that the church audience just saw some â€œcrapâ€? lying on the altar. Part of the deal to show it in that church was to face the crowd and to try to explain why I did what I did. In the beginning the atmosphere was very aggressive but after a while people started to see the big cross for the first time and realized, that this installation was not meant to hurt their religious feelings, but offering a fresh look at a place which they got so used to. I was sweating a little in the beginning - facing this aggressive crowd was everything but encouraging, but it turned out well. In the end they even asked me if I would like to do an artwork for the church, which I refused, since I am not into religion in general. But for me it was a very good opportunity to explain and stand up for my work in front of a sceptical audience. 7) AD: The materials you choose to work with are often of natural resources; wood, fire, wax and honeycomb to mention a few. But you also work with manufactured materials such as latex. What is the process you go through in choosing the right materials for a particular work; what research and experimentation is involved?
WS: Actually most of my works are made of inorganic materials. I hardly use organic, natural resources. But I am not surprised that you assume that the materials I use are natural ones. Latex, which is an organic material, coming from rubber trees and wood are some of the few organic materials, which I use in my work. I was always interested in using materials in a different way and make them look like something else. One could call it fake or simulation. The honeycombs, the burned Matchstick men – none of them are made of the materials they pretend to be. The burned fire look of the matchstick men is painted, the honeycombs are castings from bubble wrap and made out of some special Polyurethane material. Even when I use wax I don’t use natural wax but chemical wax. If I use wax I make it look like stone, snow, etc. All my early works were dealing with the question “what is natural and what is artificial? “ The first laboratory I made was mainly made of metal stencils, which are a random product of the metal industry. Leftovers, one could say, which get recycled later on. They are like repetitive patterns. All those creatures I create with them look very natural. It is almost like a rule I set myself. It is easy to use an organic material to create something with an organic feeling. The same counts for the little specimens out of Latex in boxes. They pretend to be something organic but they are just taken from industrially produced things. Creating something organic by using the opposite is far more challenging for me. The material I chose and the way I treat this material transform them into something pseudo organic. When I start a work I pick a material, which would represent the desired result in the best possible way. So I have no preferred materials. I
/stiller/ treat them equal and use whatever seems fit. I go to industrial fairs once in a while to see what kind of new products exist. I am always on the hunt for materials, which are unfamiliar and fresh to the eye. I really love materials and it is so exciting to find out what I can do with them. Mostly I start with an idea and then I choose a material. Sometimes I find a material and get inspired by the material itselflike the big skull installations. I found those inlays of motorbike helmets made by PU foam in an old abandoned factory in Beijing. When I saw them I instantly thought of skulls, the killing fields of Cambodia. So sometimes a material tells you what to do. 8) AD: What does 2011 look like? WS: This year will be a very busy year in terms of exhibitions. I have several shows coming up in Germany, China, Greece, Italy and Brazil. Greece and Brazil are the most exciting ones, for the simple reason that I have never been or shown there before. The show in Greece will be in a gallery and the one in Brazil at the Mube – the sculpture museum of Sao Paulo. The
planning of this museum show is still on-going and I am not certain yet what I will show. I have several ideas for new projects but like most of the time it depends on available budgets. But even if I would know which new projects I am going to show, I wouldn’t tell you yet. In Germany we have a saying, ‘Don’t reckon your eggs before they are laid.’
wood,metal,glass,polyurethane ,latex size: 157 cm x 121 cm x 21 cm photo credit : Stephen Mallon Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller
‘Jellyfish’ 2009 Drawing chalk, acrylic paint on paper size 42 x 60 cm photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller
‘tote Seelen’ (dead souls) 2008 installation : Chinese bicycle, matchstickmen, wood, polyurethane, acrylic paint size: ca 450 cm x 140 cm x 130 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller
‘aspects of life’ 2007 Drawing ink, acrylic paint on paint chip size 12.8 x 7.5 cm photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘How many degrees is blue‘ Installation view at Röntgen Kunst Institut, Tokyo 1993 mixed media size: around 60 sqm Photo credits: Mikio Kurokawa Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘aspects of life’ 2007 Drawing ink, acrylic paint on paint chip... size 12.8 x 7.5 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘3some’ 2010 Wood, polyurethane, gouache paint size: 150 x 120 x 28 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘Man with hairy armpits’ 1994 Drawing: pencil on paper size : 14.8 cm x 10.5 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘Wunderkammer’ 2003
‘cross’ 1991 installation on altar in church, plastic size: around 220 cm x 160 cm x 90 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller Without title 19999 Drawing pencil and coffee on paper size 24.5 x 17.5 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘Matchstick men’ 2010 wood, olyurethane, metal, gouache paint Size: 220 cm x 20 cm x 23 cm Photo credit: Wolfgang Stiller Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller ‘fundamental new assessment of the surface’ Installationview at Karl.E.Osthaus Museum,Hagen 1999 installation - mixed media Photo credit: Achim Kukulies Image courtesy: Wolfgang Stiller
STUART MAYES by m책g
1) måg: You work with objects, often objects that have or have had a meaning in your or someone else’s life. What is your fascination with objects and their meaning? SM: For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the material world. I am intrigued by our relationship to objects, both the rare and sacred, and the commonplace and overlooked. I have a particular interest in everyday objects, things that get handled and used without much thought. This kind of object makes up a great deal of our material world. The familiarity of the objects I work with enables them to stand for similar objects elsewhere. I try to select objects that will have some resonance with other people. One object can mean different things to different people, so even when I choose generic objects I am aware that they might evoke a range of associations. The treatments I apply to these objects are often labour intensive and time-consuming, this gives me the opportunity to develop and refine my relationship with them. Learning about specific objects is an on-going process and extends beyond the studio. In addition to academic research it is always fascinating to hear the stories people tell when they see fa-
miliar objects in a new light. Discussion is an important aspect of the work and one of the reasons that I like to talk about the work in an exhibition. These discussions contribute to my understanding of how objects function. I am attracted to mutability of objects and their meanings as well as their persistence and resilience. Whatever I do to an object is an addition to what has gone before; cutting up a second-hand shirt for a patchwork does not erase the fact that the fabric is from a garment that was worn by an unknown man. Objects accrue meaning through time, and by the time they have passed through my hands their meaning has shifted again. I work with objects that intrigue me, they might appeal to me visually, aesthetically or emotionally – the best objects are those that do all of this.
2) måg: Are there autobiographical elements to the objects or to your reason for choosing them? SM: There certainly have been autobiographical elements to certain objects and artworks. This is particularly evident in works I made during the period of my partner John’s illness and immediately following his death in late 2007. It is only now that I can see just how intense and personal that work is. The majority of this work is in storage at the moment – it is too personal and raw. Over the last couple of years I have returned to working with objects that have anonymous histories and to ideas that are more abstract. This has been a gradual and largely unconscious shift. I am sure there will be occasions when biographical elements to my choice of objects are more significant again but at the moment they are less so. My practice is a collaboration with objects so it is interesting to work out how the object(s) and I can create something new and at the same time both continue being ourselves. Working with objects that are unknown is more demanding and requires me to approach them as primarily physical materials, when it’s successful, more rewarding.
3) måg: ‘Glory’ (2009) is an installation made up of hand-polished anonymous second-hand aluminium cake-tins, made during a residency in Sweden. Tell us about this project and the subsequent works ‘Untitled (ljus horisont)’, 2009 & ‘Archipelago’, (2009) and how they came about from start to completion. SM: All three pieces were produced during the residency at wip:sthlm in Stockholm. The residency provided me with a studio that was larger and lighter than the one I had in London and in part the work reflects this. I had no preconceived ideas about what I would make, preferring to focus on experimentation and play. The studio’s large southwest facing window offered long uninterrupted views towards the countryside, perhaps it is not surprising that I made work that is concerned with light. The order I made these pieces is related to the changing light (and seasons) I experienced during the residency; Archipelago was first, then Glory and finally Untitled (ljus horisont). Glory started with finding two of the cake-tins at a flea market (loppis). It is always interesting to find multiples of things and I was initially drawn to their physical forms. When I found them they were dusty and tarnished.
Cleaning and subsequently hand polishing them drew attention to their sculptural form but also to the incidental imperfections on the surfaces, the dents and scratches they had acquired through use. The polishing also dramatically affected how light played on them. Over the residency I continued to collect and polish similar cake tins. This piece could be read as biographical – in so much as the process re-invigorated the cake-tins as the residency was re-invigorating me. I was literally making one thing into something new and at the same time acknowledging its history, polishing up myself as I polished up the tins! I spent a good deal of time working on the title, Glory came to me after days of polishing and many list of words and phrases. It is a wonderful celebratory word, for me it hints at many things, in addition to the religious connotations there are references to gay slang (glory-holes) and science (gloriole). Archipelago is a direct response to two landscapes, one interior and architectural and another out-door and natural. It came about through a combination of working in the residence studio and spending time in the Swedish archipelago. I was excited by the possibilities that such a large studio offered me and I wanted to take advantage of that. As my first piece of work made
/MAYES/ in the studio it felt important that I did something that really utilised the scale of the space. The piece is an exercise in making something large from a collection of small components. The piece consists of 29 silver glitters coated anonymous second-hand dinner plates. There are 29 letters in the Swedish alphabet, and the last one is ö, which is also a word that means island. Like much of my work there are various ways of starting to discuss it. Untitled (ljus horisont) was made as the summer became autumn and the period of dusk seemed to lengthen. Again, flea market finds were the starting point. I made frequent trips to various loppis in Stockholm and also sought them out anywhere else I visited. I found three pairs of candlesticks during one visit. To me they are particularly Swedish candlesticks – they are handmade, wooden, neither too decorative nor too plain, and they are particularly Swedish tones of grey. I had no idea how (or if) they would appear in an artwork. In the last month of the residency I watched amazing sunsets from the studio window. Inspired by this Untitled (ljus horisont), I attempted to create a line (or horizon) of light that gradually falls. This was achieved by trimming the bottoms of long candles to ensure that the unlit wicks are level regardless of the height differences between candlesticks. This piece is some kind of ‘live work’ and has duration; it is an artwork only when the candles are lit. The residency version is very much a work in progress and is something I will develop for both outdoor locations and a large gallery space.
/mayes/ 4) måg: You have recently spent a lot of time away from your home; London, and adopted Stockholm as your new home. How has this influenced you as an artist? SM: Being somewhere different has had a very positive affect on me and my practice. I have been visiting Stockholm for many years but it is only recently that I have been there as an artist – it therefore offers aspects that are both familiar and new. This combination has been good for me and has made the decision to base myself there relatively simple. I am very comfortable in Stockholm and this has had a significant influence on my practice. It has provided the opportunity to reconsider how, where and why I make art. I notice that I work much more intuitively in Stockholm than I did in London. The art scene feels more relaxed there than it does in London. It is all relative, and I am not naïve enough to believe that everything is perfect and easy there, however I find things a lot more manageable than in London. I feel that I can be more involved in things and this gives me more confidence. This confidence enables me to be a better artist. I like a city where I can easily attend openings rather than feeling as though I am never going to enough, or exhausting myself trying. The practicalities of getting to and between the studio and galleries are far less stressful than they are in London. I now know that
I prefer to be in a smaller city. Stockholm is perfect for me; it is large enough to be interesting and small enough to be friendly. Establishing myself in Stockholm has allowed me to break old patterns (ways of thinking and habits of working) that are no longer relevant. I am still me, but certainly not who I was. Being in a different place has accelerated the pace at which I have been able to work through things; it feels as though I am making up the time that was out of my control for many years. London is a fast tough city and it does not feel like the right place for me and the art that I make. So far I have found it beneficial to be in an environment that has a more modest pace and friendlier atmosphere. 5) måg: As a NABROAD advisor, what do you believe is the most important value to an artist-led organisation? SM: Authenticity. It is a value that works both internally (i.e. for the organisation’s members) and externally (for partners). It is a very grounding value as it demands a commitment to honesty, respect, self-awareness, and integrity. And like other organisational values it provides a principle for monitoring and measuring aims and ambitions that can develop with the membership. Authenticity is a great strength in the professional world and can pave the way for many meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships. I believe that it is vital that a successful artist-led organisation
/mayes/ remains authentic in the broadest possible terms. 6) måg: How important is it to be working in your studio, compared to working whilst away during an artist residency? SM: At the moment I am between studios – I have moved out of my London studio and have not yet set one up in Stockholm Not having a studio has made me realise how much I need one. The studio is a vital component to the production of work. I am quite traditional in my need for a studio; I prefer to work in the studio even when planning a site-specific installation. The studio is where I play and think,
it is where I collect and edit, it is where I review and develop. I like the sense of permanency that a studio gives me – knowing that there is somewhere to return to. This sense of permanency has become more significant as I have matured and found my own workingpace and methodology. I enjoy being able to work on things over long periods of time and to have materials around me. A residency is something different, it can provide a temporary break and a different focus or pace. Residencies are fantastic opportunities for an artist to broaden their knowledge of the (art) world and to gain new perspectives. The studio and residency are complementary. They offer different and equally important things. I want to develop a good balance between periods in the studio and periods away. It is a skill to know when each one is needed.
7) måg: You write detailed descriptions of the materials you use in each work. Are the titles and the descriptive texts part of the work, or can it be seen as a work on their own? SM: They are definitely parts of the work. I accept that they could stand alone as conceptual artworks. I am interested in making work that is more than the sum of its parts. Most importantly I am interested in making art that operates visually and that gives you (the viewer) an encounter with something real. I want you to feel something when you see a piece – principally the experience should be visual. The title and descriptive texts are additional to this, they offer further information but they should never be able to take the place of
the artwork itself. In this way I know that I am a sculptor and not a conceptual artist. The descriptive texts indicate that the actual objects are important rather than what they (the objects) are made from, for example “business shirts” rather than fabric, and “cake-tins” rather than metal. Referring directly to the objects locates them culturally and reveals the point at which I started working with them. Similarly I use the word “anonymous” to convey that I do not have a personal connection with the used and second-hand objects. My intention is that reading the text gives the viewer ways to think around the work. 8) måg: As objects are reoccurring elements throughout your practise, how does the site -or the site-specific
play part in the reading of the object? SM: I am interested in contextual relationships and ways of understanding. I am very aware of the context in which an artwork is experienced. The site in which one encounters an object is always part of its reading. This has been more or less significant in the production and exhibition of different pieces. Previously I have perhaps tried to give people too much (information) to deal with. Calling a piece ‘sitespecific’ asks the audience to think about the piece’s relations to its location in before considering everything else. At the moment I am questioning the relevance of using terms such as site-specific. Janus (2008) was an absolutely site-specific piece, I was invited to make a work for a very particular location and the lo-
cation determined the piece – it would not and could not have been made elsewhere. Whereas GoGo (2009) although made for a specific site could be shown elsewhere. I am increasingly confident to call what I produce “art” and am now interested in sites that encourage the viewer to read the object(s) as art. For many years (and partially due to my education) I resisted it and felt awkward using the word “art”. I now think that it is asking a lot of people to look at a non-traditional art object in a non-traditional art space and to think of it as art. The idea that people are expecting to see art (because they are in a gallery for example) is interesting to me. The site will always be part of the reading of an artwork – I don’t believe that there is a ‘neutral’ place. For me it is always a question of how much to allow the site to
/mayes/ influence the reading of the work (or object). The stronger my art becomes the more it is able to hold its own and the better its relation to its site – wherever that might be. I have been very fortunate to have made work for sites that have significantly contributed to the development and exhibition of particular pieces. 9) måg: Tell us about the work Brief Encounter (2008). SM: Brief Encounter is a piece inspired by a particular site in conjunction with personal experience. It was conceived for the Nordisk Konst Plattform in Brusand, Norway. The exhibition space is a former train station, the platform and train-line are still in use however tickets are now sold on the train and the station building (comprising ticket hall, waiting room, offices and station keeper’s accommodation) is now an artist couple’s home, studios and gallery. I visited the gallery while attending another artist’s project near-by. I was fascinated by the place and on my return to London I started working on ideas for an installation there. At the time I was embroidering men’s handkerchiefs and while
doing this and remembering the station I began to think of the handkerchief in the David Lean’s film Brief Encounter. This was not long after John’s death and the phrase ‘brief encounter’ seemed to describe the limited duration of our relationship as well as reflecting the film’s motif of love suppressed by circumstance. Model trains were the ideal objects to work with. I made two circular tracks placed next to each other. A pale blue train runs around each track, occasionally, and only then for a fraction of a second, the trains are side by side. Placing the work in the station expands the personal resonance and encourages it to be seen as standing for all of our brief encounters. A pair of embroidered handkerchiefs was shown in the adjoining (former) office, and a larger series of embroidered handkerchiefs were exhibited in the (former) waiting room. It is a bittersweet and undeniably romantic work. A number of children came to the opening, they were fascinated by the trains and sat watching them waiting for the moment when they came together. 10) måg: As an individual, you are an incredibly sincere and engaging person and you have established friendships in many parts of the world. You are a person whose name often pops up during conversations; someone has met you or
someone is a friend of you, does your relationships inspire what you choose to work with? SM: Thank you! My practice is who I am, and I am naturally a collaborative person. The relationships I have with people (professional and personal) are part of how I work. It is great to have the opportunity to work with people who I know and like – it tends to produce more interesting work. The professional relationships I have influence how and where my work is shown rather than the materials or ideas in the work. Though it is not always easy (or necessary) to distinguish professional contacts from personal friends. Often friendships evolve with people I’ve met through exhibitions, teaching and other projects. I find that different people I meet often already know each other or are only separated by one degree. Perhaps likeminded people tend to find each other no matter where they are. When I find people I can work with I am inspired to do so though it may take a long time to develop into something tangible. I enjoy feeling that I belong to an extended artistic family.
/pascua/ /MAYES/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Glory 2009 Hand-polished anonymous second-hand aluminium ring-form cake-tins. Photo credit: Stuart Mayes Image courtesy: the artist Tender 2008/9 Two anonymous second-hand business shirts (complete), cotton thread, wadding, latex foam, muslin hand-polished stainless-steel chain, chrome fittings. Photo credit: Roberto Ekholm Image courtesy: MOCA London untitled (at Quay House, London) 2007 Disposable recycled paper male urine bottles, blue waterbased household paint. Photo credit: Stuart Mayes Image courtesy: the artist Play 2010 Anonymous second-hand gay pornographic vhs videotape. Photo credit: Michael Petry Image courtesy: MOCA London Bed (live work) 2007 Chalk drawing, made over four hours, left to erode Photo credit: Stuart Mayes Image courtesy: the artist ed 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. Play (detail) 2010 Anonymous second-hand gay pornographic vhs videotape. Photo credit: Michael Petry Image courtesy: MOCA London LINK: http://www.stuartmayes.com/
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
YNGVAR LARSEN by m책g
1) m책g: Your practice expresses creative and energetic ideas and projects, you are involved in a range of activities outside your studio, describe to us how you work and how you organise ideas and time.
Without them I would not have been able to glue 4000 cups together to create the towers in Endless Columns/the bamboo is laughing.
3) m책g: Text is an important part of your work; does the text make the work or the work make the text?
2) m책g: What were the ideas behind Snowball Editions?
YL: I come from a DIY punktradition which influenced me a lot at the age of 16-17. The urge to start and do things myself comes from this tradition. My artistic work can be divided into three parts. Firstly I work with projects together with other artists. These projects occupy my time on a very set schedule. On Snowball Editions I work 2 to 3 days out of a month. On the other hand, the collaboration with Martin in Borchert & Larsen takes a few intense weeks when we make proposals for public art. My personal work is most of all using sketchbooks, between my other duties. In these sketchbooks I draw and write down all my ideas, many times over, before I start with what is usually a very efficient production process. By the time I get to the production stage, I usually know what to do. It has also been nice being able to use my two oldest children as assistants while working on some of my larger installations. It has forced me to think in simpler ways. It has also given them the chance to get deeper into my artistic work.
YL: Snowball Editions was started to fill the gap that Norway had for multiples and other arts in editions. I got the artist Per Oskar Leu, who is 15 years younger than me, to join as the cocurator to create as big an age-gap on the artists as possible. It was important for me to ensure that the Snowball Editions was not a generational project, but it embraced all ages. I think we have been successful in this with artists from Kjell Varvin at age 70 to artists who just graduated from the art academies. After having been teaching for nearly ten years it was also important for me to create a platform to work from. In 2007/2008 when we started, nearly all my contacts with the art world were gone. Starting Snowball Editions was a way for me to get back in touch with the art community in Norway. Because I live in The Netherlands, this project has been a good way to maintain my contacts and to stay informed on what goes on in Norway.
YL:. My work are usually ideas which is neither text nor visual. In the process of materialising the ideas, the text and the physical pictures or the objects come together in a symbiosis. During the process I draw and make notes to my ideas in my sketchbooks many times over. If I am lucky, the text/ title clarify the understanding of the physical work. Sometimes I have been accused of locking in the interpretation of my work. However, it is important for me that my work shows direction, and can be read a specific way. 4) m책g: Are you a writer as well as an artist or an artist who uses text in the same way one would use paint, or video? YL: I look upon myself as a visual artist who also uses text, the same way as I use other media. In my youth I worked very seriously with poetry, and I even wrote a few small poetry collections. During this time I discovered that I could use text as a medium for sculpture and pictures. Later I have been inspired by concept artists like Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger and Lawrence Weiner, and the way
they use text in their works. I believe that my fascination for pop art comes as much from female American concept artists during the 80’s and 90’s as from the old men during the 60’s. I have been extremely influenced by their political input to their art. So feminism flows through the thick veins my work practices.
5) måg: You work with digital printmaking, sculpture and found objects, how do you define your practice; is method important to the ideas you want to convey? YL: I have always defined myself as a concept artist. From Joseph Beuys I learned to use the mate-
rials needed for the different artistic expressions. Furthermore, I come from a part of the modern art history that has an open relationship to different medias. Most of the time, I have a pragmatic and practical relationship to the techniques and materials that I use. Often it has been directed by time, money and the ac-
cess I have had to the different resources. The last ten years most of my work has been created using sketchbooks and computers. I started using computers because after I got children (I have 4), there was not enough time for me to work at my studio. I had to share my time between family, other jobs, and all my
art ideas. However, it has become a liberating strategy as I manage to stay focused on the ideas and not so much on the material part surrounding my art. In my prints I have purposefully gotten rid of all texture, to emphasise my focus on the ideas. Other times, like with my sculptures and objects it is important that the ma-
terials carry a meaning. I use lead, because it is toxic, at the same time as it is resistant and protects against rays. I have used plastic and paper cups because they carry references to our bodies and to our endless consumption. For every idea I try to find the right form and technique. Often the same idea shows itself in sev-
eral media before it finds its final form. 6) måg: Your personal political and spiritual beliefs seem to be important factors in everything that you do, and your work reveals an extensive knowledge and research base. Simultaneously, your work avoids the tag ‘complicated’ as it is digestible for individuals of any age and perception. How do you strike this balance, -is it an aspect that you carefully analyze or does it come more naturally through the process of making the work? YL: I have always thought of my art as a place for recognition. My work is the essence coming from a lot of thinking. As I am trying to find the essence, there is a process of simplifying and densification in my work. Through this analysing process I aim to become clearer and simpler. The danger is that the audience sometimes looks upon my work as trite. I think they just have not seen the debts in my work, which can be very frustrating. However, when I choose to build work as the text-sculpture Negation Sculpture on apofatisk theology, I probably have to expect that some people won’t manage to follow. Generally I want my work to be able to be understood on many levels. From a basic level,
compromising color and shape, to a deeper level with references to art history including philosophical and theological issues. 7) måg: You produce many small works as well as collections of works, frequently focusing upon a ‘throw-away’ society. Often, objects have been casted in lead and tin, which makes them beautiful objects. Do these everyday objects symbolise our society, - if so, in which way? YL: For me the small objects have become an essence in my thought processes. They can look like they are throw-away objects, but they are carefully chosen over a long period of time. Choosing which objects to make casts from is one of the most difficult things I do in my work. I want to load my objects with meaning; I therefore need to be precise in my selection. When I create an exhibition I see the gallery room as a street with signs, advertising text, people and trash on the asphalt. In this metaphor of a street, these small objects are the things that are at the bottom of the ladder. Things that we do not want to give a meaning besides them being trash. However, in the Christian tradition where I come from, I have learned that God shows himself in the simplest conditions. A small boy
was born in a dirty cold cave, surrounded by some stinking animals and a set of scared parents. If we manage to see the things we throw away in this light, they can be keys to understand the big picture. An apple carcass in lead can have room for both the seductive and the painful part of knowledge.
/larsen/ 8) måg: Please give us your instant thought or reaction to these words and sentences, or titles of your works: ONLINE: It strikes me that I use the same few web-pages. The endless possibility of the net is limited by my own simple habits. But on the other side, as long as I update I am also alive. DIGITAL EXISTENCE: The last few years I have been thinking on how the society categorises and collects everything we do in the digital sphere. For me this has become an analogy to the term God’s book. How God according to the history writes down everything we do and will judge us on judgment day. What happens today? We get judged on a daily basis because facebook has advertisements tailored to our profile. The digital foot-steps we make can be followed, nested up and used to judge us one way or another. It is interesting to see how many people use the web as their place to confess. Telling everything becomes the only and best way to relate to the possibility to being judged. COLOURS: I spent a study-semester in Ghana, and I think the
extreme color combinations I found there has followed me ever since. My palette has a tendency to be extreme, which you can also see in my love for packaging. I find chewing-gum paper in some of the most beautiful things around. So the colors in my work are there to scream and make noise, and not like an armchair * to rest in (*Quote from Matisse) BELIEF: Like air. I am sometimes unsure if the air is clean or good, but I cannot survive without it. ‘SLOW CONVERSATION’: The making of this piece took 10 years. I had the idea about two bottles creating an hourglass sometime during the 1990s. However the title and the red wine came when we were putting together the exhibition ”The Book of Life” for Kirkefestspillene in Kristiansand. It became clear that this was all about a slow conversation between God and man. The red wine is one of the most important symbols used in the Church, and like the idea that it affects my state of mind. ‘FREEDOMED’: A real paradox that I think our society is plagued by. One the one had we are ”free” at the same time as we are ”sentenced”. We know what we ought to do, but we are incapable of doing it because we are free to do what we want.
‘FOREGIVENESS OR SEALING’: I made this as a part of a series of objects for the Kirkefestspillene exhibition in Kristiansand. The object is an attempt of asking a fundamental question regarding one of the dogmas of the church, the understanding of forgiveness. Are we forgiven or is it just covered up, so that it can be scraped away during the doomsday…. It is of course also a picture on how we relate to the forgiveness on an interpersonal level. Do we manage to forgive or are we just covering it up.
/larsen/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Jesus Loves You 1999 wood, wheels, paint Black Horizon no3 2009 solvent ink on canvas Dimensions: 145cm x230 cm photo: Yngvar Larsen The Systems Love Plaster, ink Dimensions: 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm x 10.5 cm photo: Yngvar Larsen Black Horizon no2 2009 solvent ink on canvas Dimensions: 145cm x230 cm photo: Yngvar Larsen Melancholia 2011 rubber band mad in lead, cigar box with text Dimensions:11 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm edition of 12+ap photo: Yngvar Larsen The making of the Negation Sculpture 2009, Christianssands kunstforening photo: Yngvar Larsen Iris portait 2009 Solvent ink on canvas Dimensions: 120cm x 120cm photo: Yngvar Larsen LINK: http://yngvarlarsen.com/
RODNEY POINT ,
launch: JAN 2012 with: secret views
this is art in places | www.rodneypoint.com | rodney point, galery
HĂ„RENSTAM Maybe I am still just trying to understand the incomprehensible by Ben Rolfsen
/härenstam/ 1) BR: 28th Feb 1986 is the date when the then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot down on an open street in Stockholm. Why have you chosen this theme for the exhibition? MH: Well, first of all, the event made an indelible impression on me. I was 14 and slept over at a friends’ house, when his parents woke us up early in the morning to watch the news on TV. We just couldn’t believe that it was actually true. In the exhibition, I use it as a starting point to explore the moment when authority or what you believe in, fails or collapses. The murder of Palme shook the conviction of the security and the perfection of the welfare state right down to the very foundation. It was, and still is today, 25 years later, totally incomprehensible that something like that really could happen here in our little sheltered corner of the world. The fact that the murder could not be cleared up continues to show doubt in an otherwise rather self-righteous view of the world. 2) BR: “But I mean, it is in Sweden we live after all”, as one of the op-
erators at the emergency communications centre says on the recording from the murder night. MH: Yes, that is precisely what interests me with the recording, the strong sense of unreality: It can’t be true – it can’t happen here. Gradually the shock shines through in the voices of the ordinarily so professional and dissociated emergency personnel. 3) BR: It reminds me of the feeling I had when I was sitting watching TV and saw the aeroplanes crash into the Twin Towers on 9/11 - I could not believe my own eyes. It was beyond the powers of my imagination at that moment, only later did it slowly sink in that it actually did happen. The video in the next room, (Closed circuit) can be read as an extension of the same theme: The gaping hole in the middle of the quiet residential street and Palme’s blood stain in the snow on the pavement - they are both like cracks in the facade of the presumed infallible “Folkhemmet” (the Swedish welfare state). MH: Closed circuit is inspired by a painting by Swedish artist Peter Tillberg from the early 70s, entitled “In the middle of Sweden” (Mitt i Sverige, 1972 -73). The painting’s subject is a similar hole in the mid-
dle of the street. I connected that image with the idea of a biological cycle - a giant body that repetitively swallows, digests and shits. 4) BR: Well, it is quite suggestive and gross (laughs). It has often struck me that you are not afraid to make use of – let’s call it ‘the spectacular’, in your work. MH: First and foremost “the spectacular” in my work is the result of a fascination - I mean that it is something that I desire to see, so I try (and make) to create it. But apart from that, I think that it functions as a kind of seduction, to lure the spectator into my world. Maybe these “spectacular effects” can contribute to make the threshold lower in engaging with the work. 5) BR: The following work, the sculpture Cannibalistic Solitude, is for me even more cryptic and open to interpretation. It conveys an eerie feeling with the large root in the ceiling with crystals and little lamps like a bourgeois chandelier, but also with tests of human hair scattered over it. For some reason I came to think of the scene at the end of von Trier’s Antichrist where a wounded Willem Dafoe crawls into a dirt hole to hide. MH: Cannibalistic Solitude is a more intuitive work. But I think that in a way it builds on Closed circuit through a relation to the “subterranean”. In the video the camera continuously takes us underground,
/härenstam/ and here we have to look up at the root in the ceiling, also in a way placed below the ground. 6) BR: So we’re trapped in the land of the dead. MH: (Laughs) - Well actually, I thought of the sculpture as a kind of “voodoo-antenna” to communicate with the dead. 7) BR: In the small innermost room of the exhibition you screen a video work titled Portrait of a man reminiscent of my father. From behind we look up at the back of a man looking out of a window. The big strong father with his broad shoulders, supposedly the image of the paternally safe and secure, but this man weeps helplessly like a child, unreachable with his back turned. The title suggests to me that this is a work with strong autobiographical elements. MH: I thought that the video could be like a kind of parallel to the first work about the Palme assassination: The shock is similar, though on a more personal than social level, as for the first time, a child experiences their parent being just as helpless and lost as
themselves. And yes, the video is to some degree based on childhood memories; my father suffered from manic depression and was subsequently unreachable, both physically and mentally. He locked himself in a dark room in his - for a child -incomprehensible grief and pain. 8) BR: Dark spaces and the failure to connect, the elusive and unattainable seem to be recurring elements in your production. MH: Well, maybe ...it is true that the feeling that anything at any time can collapse, even in - or especially in - a protected middle-class life, where fear of failure and falling into an undefined abyss is strong, could be some kind of common thread. Maybe I am still just trying to understand the incomprehensible.
Info text: Exhibition at Akershus Art Center, 2011. The title refers to the date when the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot down on an open street in Stockholm. An installation of a video called Untitled (28th Feb 1986) is being displayed in the first room of the exhibition. With chairs along the walls, a coat hanger, green plants etc. The room looks like a waiting room in a dental practice or a governmental office. On one of the grey walls a video is projected (20 min 36 sec, Full-HD, PAL). It is a text piece with sound based on recordings made on the murder night at the Stockholm Emergency Communication Centre. We hear the actual communication between switchboard operators, ambulance – and hospital staff, the police and journalists calling in. A closed door leads to the adjacent room where the video loop Closed Circuit (2011, 3 min 35 sec, Full-HD, PAL) is being screened. The video shows a quiet residential street somewhere in Sweden. The constantly moving camera travels down the street, into a large pothole at the end it is “swallowed” by a huge chewing mouth and turns up on the same street again. This time the street is darker and the sky is red. The camera goes down the street again, down the same pothole that this time leads to a giant intestine, which “we” are passed through until we are back on the street from the beginning and the loop starts over. The following room displays a sculpture called Cannibalistic Solitude (2011, approx. 230 cm in diameter), an oak root that is mounted in the ceiling. The root has little lamps, crystal chains (like from a cut glass chandelier) and tests of human hair on it. Portrait of a man reminiscent of my father (2011, 12 min 10 sec, Full-HD, PAL) is projected in the last small room of the exhibition space. It shows the back of a man, filmed from below, as he stands in front of a window and cries.)
/härenstam/ Cannibalistic Solitude Installation view Sculpture, 2011 Oak root, lamps, chandelier crystals, human hair. carpet size 230 cm in diameter (approx.) Photo credit: Mattias Härenstam Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Closed Circuit Installation view Video Loop, 2011 duration: 3 min 09 sec Full HD-video, PAL, color, stereo Computer animation: Calle Granström and Kristian Mårtensson Photo credit: Mattias Härenstam Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Closed Circuit Still from video Video Loop, 2011 duration: 3 min 09 sec Full HD-video, PAL, color, stereo Computer animation: Calle Granström and Kristian Mårtensson Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Closed Circuit Screen shot Video Loop, 2011 duration: 3 min 09 sec Full HD-video, PAL, color, stereo Computer animation: Calle Granström and Kristian Mårtensson Photo credit: Mattias Härenstam Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Portrait of a man reminiscent of my father Still from video Video, 2011 duration: 12 min 10 sec Full HD-video, PAL, color, stereo Man: Manfred Eisner Special thanks to Jannicke Låker
Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Cannibalistic Solitude Sculpture, 2011 Oak root, lamps, chandelier crystals, human hair. carpet size 230 cm in diameter (approx.) Photo credit: Mattias Härenstam Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Cannibalistic Solitude Detail Sculpture, 2011 Oak root, lamps, chandelier crystals, human hair. carpet size 230 cm in diameter (approx.) Photo credit: Mattias Härenstam Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam Untitled (28th February 1986) Installation view Installation with videoprojection, 2011. Painted walls, door, furniture, artificial plants, etc. Video (20 min 36 s, Full-HD, PAL) projected on wall. Based on sound recordings from the Emergency Communications Centre in Stockholm on the night between 28th Feb and 1st March 1986. Photo credit: Mattias Härenstam Image courtesy: Mattias Härenstam LINK: www.mattiasharenstam.com
UPCOMING: Spring Exhibition Fotogalleriet, Oslo March – April 2011 Mattias Härenstam will participate in the annual Spring Exhibition at Fotogalleriet with the video piece Portrait of a smiling man. www.fotogalleriet.no Beaconsfield London March 2011 Eva Olsson and Jonas Nilsson of Art:Screen has curated a selection of Swedish video art to be shown at Beaconsfield, London during March 2011. Among the selected the works is Portrait of a smiling man by Mattias Härenstam. Later this spring the screening program will also be part of CologneOFF 2011. www.beaconsfield.ltd.uk www.artscreen.se Tidens Krav Oslo April – May 2011 Mattias Härenstam has been invited to do a solo project at artist-run space Tidens Krav in Skippergata 18 in Oslo. Opening April 29th. www.tidenskrav.org Flaggfabrikken presents Nordic Art Express Maya Økland and Hilde Jørgensen of Bergen-based Flaggfabrikken has curated a screening program of Nordic video art to tour the Nordic and Baltic region. Included is Portrait of a smiling man by Mattias Härenstam. So far it has been screened in Oslo and Poznan, Poland. More to come. www.flaggfabrikken.net ‘between appropriation and interventions’ Kristiansand, Norway October 2011 Mattias Härenstam will take part in the group show ‘between appropriation and interventions’, curated by Harald Theiss. It is intended to tour the exhibition to Berlin and Paris.
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
/FEATUREs/Q & A/
ERICA EYRES by m책g
/eyres/ 1) måg: You play with the concept of the Documentary and Reality TV, is this where you find your inspiration for the subject matters you choose to work with? EE: I watch a lot of television, documentaries and reality shows are among some of my favoured viewings. In recent years these genres have dominated television - most likely because they are often cheap to make - so they are unavoidable. At some stage, I became interested in the manner with which people in these programs spoke- monologues that were somehow simultaneously monotone and flamboyant. It was as if this way of speaking became a standard in television and you couldn’t go 5 minutes without hearing or seeing it. I started trying to mimic this way of speaking, especially in Baby Marleena. Reality television also made sense with the way I was working, and created the possibility that the characters have made the videos themselves as a way of communicating with the world, and as a way of reaching out. Although I have to say that I do not restrict myself to reality television. I have tried to mimic other genres such as the family sitcom (in Imaginary Girlfriend), and obviously commercials in Commercials. 2) måg: Throughout your work, whether it is sculpture, video or drawings we meet a compelling selection of characters. We meet women in stereotypical situations and young teenagers explicitly telling us
their secrets and fantasies. Where do you find the material and inspiration for your characters? EE: I draw inspiration for my characters from those that I see on television, films, and in real life. Sometimes a mannerism or personality will particularly fascinate me and I’ll try and imitate them. 3) måg: Using yourself in much of your video work- you are an actor as well as a performance artist and a videographer. How do these roles connect, are they intertwined with each other so that if you were to remove one rolewould the others collapse? EE: Up until now, I have made my videos in this way. I am not a trained actor, and didn’t feel like I could act in front of people so I would usually do everything myself. I would make sure no one was around to hear or see me because it felt embarrassing to be dressed up and try to embody these characters. I knew I couldn’t take myself seriously if anyone else was present. Mostly though, it was just a way of working that I was comfortable with. I have recently stopped using myself as the performer in my work. I began to feel that my primary concern was how to find new and better ways
to transform myself, and that this obstacle was making it difficult for me to consider the direction of my practice as a whole. My most recent project is a remake of an episode of Dallas, with children in the roles. I wanted to give up a degree of control, and felt that employing children (some of whom had minimal acting experience), would bring a new element of unpredictability and awkwardness to the work. Their ages and acting abilities were quite varied, and many had not memorized their lines, so the filming was sometimes chaotic. However, I still filled the role of videographer and editor, so no, those roles have not collapsed without me as the performer. 4) måg: You must have a great ability to observe people; their manners reactions and behaviour. Is people watching a hobby of yours? EE: Yes, I do like people watching and I’m trying to figure out people’s relationships to one another, and the reasons behind their motivations. 5) måg: ‘The Male Epidemic’ (2009) is video where a news channel reports on a male epidemic. Tell us about this work and your ideas behind it.
EE: When I started making the video, all I knew was that I wanted to make a news broadcast that documented a catastrophe with the VHS camera that I’d recently purchased. I created the character of the main newsreaders, and then started rehearsing and trying to create the narrative. I’m not sure I can say exactly where the idea came from, but I was interested in the idea that women would become rabid this situation and would rape the remaining men. I obviously intended that notion to be funny, but I suppose it plays on ideas of women becoming “hysterical”. The psychologists talks about the “death of romance”, which I think is perhaps the most important theme in the work. The women are supposedly raping the few remaining men, not for pleasure but as if they have some instinct to procreate. The rabid women are called “the sex maniacs”, which I think sounds like something from a John Waters film. You never see these women, so your imagination runs a bit wild when you wonder what these scenes of women raping men, and killing other women to get “any available penis” would look like.
/eyres/ 6) måg: How much influence has the work of the artist Cindy Sherman played on you throughout your artistic development? EE: I realise that it is an obvious association, and that Cindy Sherman is the first artist many people think of when they hear the phrase “self-transformation”. However, I don’t feel that our work has much in common asides from the fact that we both have employed that tool. For me, the selftransformations that I have used were incidental, and that my work has depended more on the characters themselves, the circumstances surrounding their lives, and their psychology. I played them all myself because this way of working made sense to me, and felt natural because I prefer to do as much of my work myself as possible. I suppose it’s something to do with my own character and that I don’t like giving people directions, and have always had an “I’ll just do it myself” attitude. Of course I appreciate her work, and enjoy seeing it, but I don’t see her as a big influence. As for influence, I would rather sight Harmony Korine’s Gummo, and the work of Diane Arbus. I still often think of
Arbus’ statement about the awkward difference between the way that we want to be seen and the way that other people actually see us.
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Twins, ballpoint pen on paper, (Detail) 72 cm by 67 cm, 2008. Destiny Green (still), digital video, 7 min. 28, 2006. Family, ballpoint pen on paper, (Detail) 77 cm by 85 cm, 2008. Untitled, ballpoint pen on paper, 33 cm by 29 cm, 2008. All images Copyright Erica Eyres Courtesy ROKEBY, London. LINK: http://ericaeyres.com/
Maria Coin by Yngvar Larsen
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Outside Insid 30 years after the Alta- demons by Marianne Morild
The Sami people are the indigenous people who live across the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Their life has traditionally centred around reindeer herding, hunting and fishing, moving the small settlements along with the seasons and access to grazing for the herd. Today, Sámi people still live in this area, called Sápmi, but the traditional ways of living have been changed by Norwegian influences through laws and cultural impositions, along with the changes that happen to most societies through the ages. Now snowmobiles, sat- navs, and Internet are prevalent tools of daily life here too, and film and theatre industry has become one of the largest employers in the area. 30 years ago, the Sámi population in Norway embarked on what was to become a pivotal moment in their history. In this feature, I have invited Sámi artists to reflect on what it means to be Sámi a generation after that moment, what it is to be a Sámi artist and to be Sámi in Norway and in Sápmi. The result is a collection of images and texts that reflect a sense of great loss, futility and anger – but also a wish to examine contents and borders with the possibilities of change. Gjert Rognli’s image “Somnulence” is, to me, an honestly sentimental image. Sentimental because it evokes a long tradition of paintings of deer being caught in the dying moment, with the painter Landseer as the Victorian master of this very particular art. It is the exact opposite of cave paintings and “helleristinger” -stone carvings- which are depicting deer before the hunt, with all the possibilities of the hunt intact – the lives of all involved at stake. Rognli’s image is brutal in a totally different way, the shamanistic tradition of shape shifting is shown here quite literally, but with an honest acceptance of the end. There are no further possible outcomes of this moment. The Sámi diaspora is large, with Oslo in the south as the Norwegian city with the largest Sámi population, but the notion of a Sámi heartland in the Barents-region is undisputed. But this is about more than just nostalgia. In Norway, what became known as the Alta-case, brought to the surface a problem that had been suppressed for so long: what to do with a nation inside a nation. 30 years ago, on the 25th February 1981, was the last time that demonstrators managed to temporarily stop the machines waiting to begin the
/text/ building of the Alta Dam in Alta Kautokeino in the north of Norway. A group of Sámi people had for the second time since 1979 began a hunger strike in a bid to stop the dam, after mass arrests amongst the 2000 demonstrators who walked through Alta on the 14th January 1981. This is a large number of people in a sparsely populated area – in Kautokeino the popluation is around 3000 people. Thousands of people camped at the foot of the river to block the way for the workers and the machines, some travelling from other parts of Norway, staying in the camps for months through the winter. The clashes between demonstrators and police were the most severe that Norway had seen in peacetime, with several episodes of civil disobedience and violent arrests of demonstrators, court cases and hunger strikes. In September 1981 the works started again, this time with a court ruling that the works were deemed to be in accordance with cultural heritage law and could proceed. The Alta Dam, which had been planned since 1968, was built, with many environmental implications for the surrounding area and with far less energy output than the Norwegian government had hoped for. But the Alta-case had wider effects that could
not have been anticipated by anyone.
What had been done, was a complete blackout of Sámi culture and language over hundreds of years, by Norwegian missionaries who came to Kautokeino and by the Norwegian education system. The musician Mari Boine said in an interview: ‘During the (…) Alta demonstrations there was a lot in the media [about the Sámi people] and I learnt more about my people’s history (…) and then there was a volcano inside me, of anger and rage that had to get out, because I realised what had been done to my people.” What had been done, was a complete blackout of Sámi culture and language over hundreds of years, by Norwegian missionaries who came to Kautokeino and by the Norwegian education
system. The Alta-demonstrations led to a new interest in Sámi culture, with the emergence of young artists like Mari Boine and a renewed focus on established artists like the poet, musician and visual artist Nils Aslak Valkeppä.These artists were embraced by the Norwegian establishment and both Boine and Valkeppä were invited to play significant parts in the opening ceremony at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics in 1994. Boine declined the invitation, feeling that the invitation amounted to little more than tokenism from the Norwegian government. Valkeppä preformed a joik - a shamanistic song at the opening ceremony, establishing to an international, mainstream audience his reputation as one of the leading Scandinavian artists on the folk and jazz scene. This new cultural expression was not only an expression thoroughly embedded in Sámi tradition, it was deeply political. The Alta-demonstrations had a concrete political aftermath, too. The enormous opposition to the dam, along with the numerous court-cases that had been brought against the Norwegian government by demonstrators, challenged the Norwegian government’s sole right over the land where the Sámi people had lived since time before recorded memory. The Minority Rights Group International writes on their website, ‘Sámi
/text/ organisations have won significant concessions from the Norwegian state. In 1980 the Sámi Rights Commission was established to deal with political and economic issues. Although this body has failed to address key legal questions of landownership and resource rights, it paved the way for the establishment of the Norwegian Sámi Assembly, the Sameting, which was inaugurated in 1989. The Sameting has the power to take initiatives in Sámi concerns and to ensure that Norway fulfils its international obligations. In 1988 an addendum to the Norwegian Constitution declared it ‘the responsibility of the authorities of the state to create conditions enabling the Sámi people to preserve and develop its language, culture and way of life’.’ After years of negotiations in the wake of the Alta-case, the Sámi people gained the right to form their own Sameting (Parliament), to have their own flag and to celebrate an official Sámi National day. But these rights are still being negotiated, particularly the rights to landownership. Politically, Norway is in a precarious situation with concerns to the continued rights of the Sámi people. The second largest
After years of negotiations in the wake of the Alta-case, the SáMI People gained the right to form their own Sameting (Parliament), to have their own flag and to celebrate an official Sámi National day. But these rights are still being negotiated, particularly the rights to landownership.
To be outside Norway inside it, may be a good place to begin.
political party in Norway is The Progress Party, a far right party who wants to get rid of the ‘Finnmarkslov’, the law that now states and regulates Sámi rights to the land where they live. This would be a significant step backwards for the Sámi people and a huge blow to indigenous people all around the world, who have watched with interest the development of a dialogue with beneficial legal outcomes for the Sámi people in Norway. My own interest in the position of the Sámi people stems from a curiosity about this culture, so different from my own and yet existing alongside me, in my country, but with little or no access for me, as a Norwegian with no Sámi connection, to learn its language or culture. Today, one of the things that fascinate me about the relationship between Sápmi and Norway, is how we define ourselves in this meeting and how the Sámi people have to confront similar questions to what I do, now that I’m living outside my own country. This is the topic for Thomas Kintel’s text, in relation to Kristin Tårnesvik’s image ‘Statens’ or ‘The State’s’. ‘Statens/ The State’s’ i.e. that which belongs to the state, is depicted here as an iceberg, in pitch dark. This is an undefinable figure, a changing, melting signpost lighting up the darkness. It is also hiding, below the surface there’s more of it. It seems ridicu-
lous that the state would want to own an iceberg. What use is it to the state? This is what the debate about the land in the north of Norway has amounted to, a debate about rights to land well-known in every country that has a recognised indigenous people living inside its borders. In the north of Norway there is rich potential for industrial mining for precious metals and extraction of oil and gas.
this culture, so different from my own and yet existing alongside me, in my country, but with little or no access for me, as a Norwegian with no Sámi connection, to learn its language or culture. Perhaps, if the farright get into power in Norway, the icebergs will be melting faster than we had expected, as icebergs are not seen necessarily as a sign of a healthy arctic, but as an obstacle for access to natural riches. The Alta-case also
drummed up a united force for environmental protection. Still, Norway continues to build industrial plants in this region. Geir Tore Holm has filmed the gasterminal on Melkøya northwest of Hammerfest during summer solstice, as part of a series of summer solstice films. In the arctic the sun doesn’t set at summer solstice. The sun shines on the industrial plant day and night, as if nature keeps watch over mankind’s latest get-up. There was a brief protest from environmental campaigners in 2002 when the Snow White gas field was developed and the terminal for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) was built on Melkøya, but in comparison to the Altacase it was over very quickly. A brief, intense action, a bit like this eye- in- the- sky which through the course of one day and night at summer solstice makes the effort to floodlight the LNG gas plant. The recordings of the artists in the region, Sámi or not, continue to keep this nation alive, by floodlighting it, questioning it, dissecting it and dismembering it and stitching it on to something else. Continued life for any identity is not keeping everything as it was, it is considering what it was and what it is and what it can be. To be outside Norway inside it, may be a good place to begin.
/text/ The State’s by Thomas Kintel Sápmi is a nation, which reaches outside of the state’s control and influence. This lack of state renders Sápmi unlimited. Concepts and notions regarding ‘the Sámi’ are in the same way often indefinite. While art and people both can be and are defined within the area between nations in the state, it is hard to grasp a definition of the Sámi or something being Sámi. For Sápmi everything must in the end be founded in an abstract community across what we may assume as borders. We talk of the politicised ‘Sámi’ which is related to the lack of a simple, but complete demarcation of the culturally defined, which a ‘state’ can represent to different groups of people. In this politicised notion are symbolic figures like ‘Sámi art’ and ‘Sámi artist’, whom, when subjected to them, we cannot take for granted. The art of operating in this undefined political and social field is about navigating in a room where the need to define opposes the necessary definition of the indefinable Sámi. If things are too closely defined it will be too tight for the individual to operate as artist. There are
several different territories for identification of a relationship between Norway and Sápmi; familiarly, aesthetically, culturally and politically. They exist within the territory of the state and they reach out in the abstract area of Sápmi. As much as there are territories where Sámi artist-roles are unclear and indefinable, there are also hegemonies where ‘the Sámi’ is taken for granted as clearly defined. This is a world of opposites and contradictions. Layers of hegemonial structures of knowledge, characteristics, languages and the passing of generations. The right to define. The duty to participate. The necessity of choosing. Sápmi’s territory is a variety of difference, a politicised and undefined territory with a constant convergence of communities. Because the people of Sápmi are different, but equal to the people of the state, the role of the artist is both the states and Sápmi’s. Both limited Norwegian and unlimited Sámi. While the abstract-territorial battles clash in the Sámi art world to define, represent, deconstruct and re-represent, the duties of the state and ethnic incorporation can be taken as granted. With the state as the foundation for identification, its territory becomes an absolute and a place from which things are what they become.
Against this Sápmi’s territory becomes an arena for battles of definitions. While Sápmi’s always remains something Sámi, the state’s can be anything, why not an iceberg.
THE Sรกmi BLOOD IS SURGING by Geir Tore Holm
Something has been and will never be the same. Never has anything been the same. I become. Am sitting at low tide looking out over the fjord, I begin there. What is at stake? I think, whilst the seawater makes my shoes wet. Identity, a rare usable term, not situated in the future, where I will live. Identity means ‘the same’. The same as a picture of myself? A ‘wee’? The picture of myself in tidal water, whilst my heart beats and my stomach works, is beautiful, but so what? What is at stake?
what is to come. Let the unpleasant be. Under water. Everything is black, everything is nice. The lack of oxygen makes my blood beat in my ears and my eyes become shiny, as if the sea needs salt tears. Fellowship. What is at stake? I can breathe again now, with my nose above water. I become.
Feel that I have to piss, the cold water encloses my hips and bladder. Wet in wet. Dreamed about my own Indian tribe in the forest, crept around in the green light, wrote secret messages in the snow with my own golden ink. The spring takes it away. (I am an artist, an uncoordinated figure. Screwed together from newspaper, engine parts, tape and steel wire. Am not damaged by the seawater, just more sunken together, like a sack, a scarecrow that has fallen down. Trying to say something, but only squeaking sounds came out). Is this too self-absorbed and sad? Have turned my back at the cottage, with the secure, flickering flow of entertainment and information. Am ready for
Ref: Originally published in the catalogue for “Same, same but different” Umeå 2003
/text/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Gjert Rognli ‘Somnulence’, c-type photograph, from the series ‘The Forgotten Place’ Kristin Taarnesvik ‘The Movement vol 2’, digital print, from The Treat Report, showing at Barents Spetakkel in February 2011. ‘Sexy’ ‘The Movement vol 2’, digital print, from The Treat Report, showing at Barents Spetakkel in February 2011. Geir Tore Holm ‘Summer Solstice 2007’ film stills, 2007. Kristin Taarnesvik ‘Statens’, c-type photograph, part of the series ‘Hot Spots’, commissioned by KORO for Tromsø University 2008
REFERENCES “To Be Outside Inside – 30 years after the Alta-demonstrations” by Marianne Morild: Statistisk Sentralbyrå Wikipedia Mari Boine; Ban on Joik http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1r76l-N_AM Gáldu Cála – Tidskrift for urfolks rettigheter No 2/2008 Store Norske Leksikon: http://www.snl.no/Alta-saken Bård A. Berg: “25 år i skyttergravene” http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/25_aar_i_skyttergravene.pdf Norsk Rettsmuseum/ Norwegian Museum of Justice: http://www.norsk-rettsmuseum.no/a/?id=79&vn=736 Naturvernforbundet http://naturvernforbundet.no/naturvern/vern_av_naturomrader/vassdrag/30-aar-siden-kampen-omalta-article23247-749.html
Nordic Artists’ Centre Dalsåsen Dale i Sunnfjord, Norway
Call for Applications: Artists-in Residence 2012 Professional artists, designers, architects and curators may apply. Application deadline April 10, 2011 More info www.nkdale.no
Nordic Artists’ Centre Dalsåsen | 6963 Dale i Sunnfjord Norway | E-mail: email@example.com
deeyah FREEMUSE & DEEYAH PRESENT: LISTEN TO THE BANNED
FREEMUSE & DEEYAH PRESENT: LISTEN TO THE BANNED Music that makes dictators tremble and fundamentalists angry. Listen to the Banned is a unique collection of contemporary songs by artists who have been censored, persecuted, taken to court, imprisoned and even tortured for a very simple reason – their music. Music brings joy and gives a voice to the ‘voiceless’ - a power that earns the condemnation of intolerant religious leaders and dictators alike. Presented by International organisation Freemuse and Norwegian artist and human rights activist Deeyah, the compilation is a unique musical statement by artists who are united in one single, important issue – the protection of the freedom of musical expression, a freedom many take for granted. Their stories are told in the accompanying booklet. They include the story of Lapiro de Mbanga, who is currently imprisoned in Cameroon for a song critical of his country’s President and the story of Mahsa Vahdat, prevented from performing solo shows in her native country Iran. Also included are Chiwoniso Maraire (Zimbabwe), Farhad Darya (Afghanistan), Marcel Khalife (Lebanon), Tiken Jah Fakoly (Cote d’Ivoire), Abazar
Hamid (Sudan), Kamilya Jubran (Israel / Palestine), Kurash Sultan (Uighuristan), Ferhat Tunc (Turkey), Aziza Brahim (Western Sahara), Haroon Bacha (Pakistan), Fadal Dey (Cote d’Ivoire) and Amal Murkus (Israel / Palestine). Freemuse is the only international organization dedicated to protecting musicians and composers’ right to freedom of expression. The CD has been compiled and co-produced by the Norwegian Deeyah, an artist who has stopped performing after having endured constant intimidation and physicals threats throughout her career.
‘This is a collection of songs from artists around the world who have faced censorship or had their music banned. These artists and other like them in the different corners of the world must have the right to exist and freely express their feelings and opinions through their art. We can not allow our freedom of expression to be compromised. Music must not be silenced’ - Deeyah
The album is being released by Grappa Musikk Forlag in Europe and Valley Entertainment in the USA. Amnesty International in the UK are also supporting the Listen To The Banned album by making it available through their online store.
For more about Listen To The Banned visit: http://www.facebook.com/listentothebanned http://www.listentothebanned.com Amnesty International online store: http://amnestyshop.org.uk/listen-to-the-banned-cd.html For more about Freemuse visit: http://www.freemuse.org/ For more about Norwegian music producer, composer and human rights activist Deeyah, visit: http://www.facebook.com/Deeyah.deeyah
DUMBBOMB LOLLIPOPDROP a multiple by Yngvar Larsen | AVAILABLE NOW | www.nabroad.org/shop.html
/dahlstrøm/ STATEMENT I attempt to explore place and landscape, the sense of space, -its mental state and its architectural structures. I am interested in the point where architecture and landscape loosens its functionality and where it activates an emotional state. Through the use of photography and computer manipulation I endeavour to reconstruct their existence within our physical world, where place itself takes stage within a performance of disorientation, placelessness and artificiality. By means of abstraction, I wish to add tension by conveying a seemingly realistic style and induce a displacement of reality.
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Cave 2011 C-print Facemount Plexi Size 125 x 171 cm Cage 2008 C-print Facemount Plexi Size 125 x 215 cm Ruin 2011 C-print Facemount Plexi Size 125 x 200 cm Metamorphosis 2011 C-print Facemount Plexi Size 132 x 125 cm LINK: http://o-dahlstrom.com/ UPCOMING: GALLERI BRANDSTRUP 10.02 - 06.03.2011 www.brandstrup.no KUNSTNERSENTERET MØRE OG ROMSDAL 26.03 - 24.04.2011 www.kmrkunst.no KUNSTNERSENTERET I BUSKERUD 28.09 - 30.10.2011 www.kibkunst.no
/locus/ /collins/ BIO Lynne Collins began her career as a sculptor and painter and for twenty years worked in the film and television industry as an artist and model maker. She went on to make short art films and then began to explore the medium of still photography. Lynne is a self taught photographic artist. It is her own working experience of the film industry, combined with child hood memories when film sets were her playground (Lynneâ€™s parents were also in the film industry) that Lynne draws upon when making her photographs. Using abandoned Victorian buildings as her backdrop, Lynne superimposes an image, often in complete contrast with her found location, to make a new narrative. (by Bridget Coaker)
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE: The Edge of Perception # 3 Photography c/type archive print. Size: 102 x 72 cm. Night Walks # 4 Photography c/type archive print. Size: 88 x 59 cm The Edge of Perception # 1 Photography c/type archive print. Size: 102 x 72 cm. Night Walks # 8 Photography c/type archive print. Size: 88 x 59 cm LINK: http://www.lynne-collins.com/
SECRET VIEW OPEN CALL : Secret View : (Video Art)
RODNEY POINT is NABROADs gallery and it is launching Jan 2012 with its ﬁrst exhibition: Secret View. Secret View is a series of exhibitions taking place in secret locations internationally. There will be a digitally published catalogue of all works selected and a special feature in måg magazine www.maagmag.com http://www.nabroad.org/opportunities.html
anne guro larsmon
Girl, interrupted! 4 Situations by Marthe Ramm Fortun Something lingers in this room, caught in the simulacrum of object-memory-history. The momentary interruption is soft like a motherâ€™s scolding. Harsh words seem a token of care in her absence, demonic when she is near. Words are spoken in secret, to encompass a series of domestic rules. Who will maintain these rituals; rearrange the furniture, keepsake traditions? Girl, not-so-comely now.
/feature/TEXT/ /larsmon/ /BECH/ THIRD PLACE
The artist herself is part of the simulacrum, caught in a love affair with the commodity. There is no shape or logic to the past 100 years. A century of violence is transformed into sweeping movements with specific gestures and facial expressions. If this room is a home, it is womb bound and possessible like a Picasso painting. The artist interrupts this space with her image.
Beauty forces itself on the sharp structure of anti-aesthetics, inverting the subject. Like a spread in the New York Post, the images are spilling, pouring onto text. Fresh type ink smudges the door handle, negotiating the neutrality of the gallery space. True to this coalition of object-memoryhistory, Vermeer painted his subjects as startled deer. She adds movement to his brushstrokes.
/larsmon/ BIO “Girl, Interrupted!” was Larsmons first solo-show curated by Michael Rade at STYX projects, Berlin. The exhibition and catalogue was supported by OCA.
OBJECTS /IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Anne Guro Larsmon was born in Finnskogen, Norway in 1981. She lives and works in Oslo and Berlin.
“Lavare I”, 2010. Wooden pole & door handle. 10 x 10 x 150 cm. “Lavare II”, 2010. Wooden pole & tiles. 10 x 10 x 200 cm.
Marthe Ramm Fortun was born in Oslo, Norway in 1978. She lives and works in New York and Oslo.
Larsmon & Ramm Fortun currently collaborates on several projects. For the opening of Girl Interrupted! Ramm Fortun Presents: presented a spoken-wordInvisible clarity performance where she envia responded study to oftheGenius Loci ronment in the gallery by Thale Fastvold space. The insertion of another artistby is Tanja seeking Thorjussen and Bardo to break the sentimentality towards the autobiographical approach to materials and open up a mirage of new spatial relationships. Ramm Fortun created the text 4 SituaAbout Istituto Europeo di Design, tions LOCUS through corresponUniversity of Oslo and John dence with Larsmon. 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.
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 LINKS: Thale Fastvold is educated common they started workwww.anneguro.com in photography, literature ing together on curatorial and art history from the projects addressing themes http://marthefortun.blogspot.com/
“Ohne titel”, 2010. Pipes, door handles & wood. 50 x 25 x 150 cm. “High heels”, 2010. Door handle & found wood. Dimensions variable. “Soaked Chloé II”, 2010. Perfume on wooden shelf. 45 x 21 x 70 cm. “Hesitation Waltz”, 2010. Found objects on wooden plate. 50 x 25 x 100 cm. -Installation view, 2010 “Lavare I”, “Lavare II”, 2010. “Boom. Bloom. Blossom”, 2010. Framed wallpaper & steel legs. such as cm. migration, alchemy 50 x 90
and liminality. They soon “Untitled”, 2010art and cucreated LOCUS Found doorframe. rator group and have since 190 110 cm on curatorial beenx working projects, book projects and -collaborative art projects. “Dying honey”, 2010. Found wood lubricated in honIMAGE CREDITS: ey. Bardo (2010) Dimensions variable. Tanja Thorjussen
Genius Loci (2010) -Thale Fastvold
The Peeping Tom animates the space, adding its scents to her vocabulary. Object hood relies on an observer to transcend into reality. Soaked in it, this manifestation is killing the totem and re-creating it in one sweeping movement. The text is supported by a desire for something outside the body. The palimpsest could be flowered wallpaper, a backdrop for your fading presence.
The State of Being Erased by C. AE In 2010, London based artist Cos Ahmet, embarked upon a new series of works under the banner Altered State. Assembled and inspired by a diverse source from the artist’s personal archive (postcards, found imagery, newsprint/magazine cuttings, and remnants, amongst others) this use of collage marks a shift in Cos Ahmet’s creativity, moving away from his established repertoire of figures and body imagery, igniting a new fascination and passion for the male form, albeit with trace elements of past works.
circumstances, flirt with previous ones, and offer an altered discourse’. (Cos Ahmet) Altered State questions the origin of identity, authorship and originality and their relevance to making art today. A number of pieces include homages to artists and their works that have been a constant inspiration and influence throughout his art career. Ahmet, has in essence, turned the table and is physically exploiting these works as his own as a nod to the original but with his own twist in varying forms of erasure.
This departure has opened sets of possibilities which have allowed Ahmet to make free associations to use found imagery, creating a sub-language within his recognised body dialogues, exploring parallels within the self, shaping, altering and shifting into metafigurative beings.
Within the visual arts, erasure has been an effectual device for artists, displaying the interchange between what is concealed and revealed. Robert Rauschenberg carried out his elaborate gesture in 1953 by erasing a drawing by Willem de Kooning using forty rubber erasers, then appropriating the destroyed drawing as his own artwork.
‘I am interested in conveying information that is transmitted through body, personal encounters and the ‘unconscious body’ something Carl Jung, a contemporary of Freud referred to as “the shadow”, a concept and underlying principle to the human psyche. I appear in my work in several guises, presenting a new face or mannerisms, bearing a mask where I insert myself into new
Under Erasure (2010), presented here by the artist as a triptych, the act of erasure is employed. Under Erasure makes reference to Kouros the Greek statue. The term Kouros was given to depictions or representations of male youths that first appeared in the Archaic period in Greece, purported to represent the god Apollo. This Kouros figure is also applied to the quartet of
works ‘The Arrangement of Knowledge’ (2010), where objects and structures are placed over the kouroi bodies in layers, one on top of another, typical of Ahmet’s repertoire. Under Erasure, breaks with Ahmet’s habitual layers, and instead cuts the whole image away, leaving a silhouette. This exposes an abyss, where a new ‘inner layer’ replaces the original, adding an unknown quantity to the erased body. This omission and silencing of the figure is balanced by the presence of the feet. Strong, existing in an altered state. In each part, the lack of surface features (apart from the feet and the presence of sexual organs) - with the attention on the pose - produces an empathic response of our own feelings, making us aware of the ‘whole’, due to the lack of any distinctive features. Silent, complex yet laced with uncertainty. The obscurity and sheer darkness is much greater and deeper in the narrative, full of unexplored parables that the artist has yet to address, leaving the viewer to contemplate and question not only the artist’s soul but also their own.
IMAGES: Under Erasure (Triptych) 2010 Taken from the Altered State series Mixed media collage of found imagery, printed image of Kouros and Xerox copy on paper. Courtesy The Artist LINK: http://www.cos-ahmet.co.uk/
aylin soyer tangen
/TANGEN/ BIO Aylin Soyer Tangen, born 1981, graduated from Trondheim Art Academy in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Hello’ at The House of Photography Istanbul, 2010, and List of Inventory. (Pieces of an ongoing imaginary theater) at Gallery VER in Bangkok (a gallery initiated by Rirkrit Tiravanija), 2010 - curated by Paal Andreas Bøe. Aylin Soyer Tangen has also made commissioned works for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and has collections in Trondheim Council. In June she will open a solo exhibition at Janus Project in New York. IMAGES: Aylin Soyer Tangen 2010 ‘HELLO’ LINK: http://www.aylinsoyertangen.com/
Cake Although I am a stranger, Andraj, Philip, Alexsandra, and Dragan baked me a cake. I think that they should be allowed to stay in VadsĂ¸. What I think did not matter much when the police came with a chartered plane to fetch them and send them away.
Backward and forward I noticed I was being followed. I was sure. Did he have a clear reason for doing this, or was he just curious? To run was out of the question. Instead, I decided to do something I seldom do; I stared at him, walking the same stretch of sidewalk, backward and forward, several times. Then, I stood still for awhile, not moving anywhere.
/jomås/ BIO Born in Skien, Norway, Pål Gusdal Jomås is currently living and working in Victoria, Canada. He attended the Bergen National Academy of the Arts receiving a MFA in 2006 and has initiated projects and exhibitions in Norway, Russia and Canada. The multidisciplinary work of Pål Gusdal Jomås has addressed processes of globalisation, urbanisation, the blue-collar worker and the industrial cultures. Pål works with text and camera-based methods to question ritual and ceremony in everyday events within his neighborhoods and communities. FURTHER AFIELD Further Afield (2010), is a photographic series that links the Barents Region of northern Norway and Russia to each other while simultaneously emphasising their uniqueness and individual cultural and geographic histories. Further Afield highlights the interplay between the centre and the periphery in two Northern communities, Vadsø in eastern Finnmark, Norway and Arkhangelsk, in Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. This project is about a process and a destination in development. I visited the Mandic family, a young Serbian family
living in Vadsø, where I got to see their cultural landscape, this cultural landscape is that of individuals seeking asylum for their personal and collective histories. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry deported the Mandic family in the autumn (2010) as a part of a mass deportation wherein 77 individuals were forced to leave. The Mandic family were forced to make a home, yet again. Lilacs and mud welcomed me to the city of Arkhangelsk. An urban city; the playgrounds between tall apartment blocks; basketball courts; the muddy sidewalks sandwiched between the roadways and storefronts; the hamlets outside of the urban centre providing energy and food for the city and the string of small shared properties which surround the hamlets. Contemporary urban culture flourishes amongst the backdrop of villages and hamlets on the periphery. Further Afield attempts to show places in development and people in process of change.
IMAGES: Pål Jomås 2010 ‘Further Afield’
/LETTERS/ Public Art in the Far East Bettina Hvidevold Hystad and Simon Torssell Lerin Bettina Hvidevold Hystad and Simon Torssell Lerin writes about their experiences being “Artist in Residence” in China and Japan.
‘The biggest city in the world that you never have heard about”, that was how our guide book described Chongqing. Walking on the streets of the biggest city in the world, in every way you can measure, it suddenly hit us how little we knew about life and the world around us. How could this enormous city exist and almost nobody in the west be aware of its existence’. Travelling to China is like going forward and backward in time simultaneously, suddenly you are an alien on a new planet, you never know what awaits you around the next corner, you never know if the bus will come according to schedule and if it comes if it will be a bus at all. Everyday becomes an adventure and everything you do becomes a challenge. To survive in China, and especially to create an artwork in China, you are forced to lose control and completely trust the people around you, to give yourself away and let what happens happen. In 2010 we decided to travel to Asia, we wanted to experience a different culture, to learn about an art-scene we knew very little about and to see how it would be to work with public art in this context, if it was even possible. We took part in three “Artist in Residence” programs, starting with one month at Organhaus Art Space in Chongqing, China. The second one took place at 943
Studio in Kunming, China. And the third at Kyoto Art Center in Kyoto, Japan. We wanted to push ourselves by placing ourselves in an unfamiliar situation and see how this would effect our ideas and artworks. We wanted to try to understand, learn about and adapt to a new country. In our artworks we use people and their surroundings as a starting point for our work and we try to find a theme we think most suitable for the place we are at. By inviting locals to join us in workshops, happenings and lectures we try to make the art experience more accessible to people that normally donâ€™t visit art museums or galleries. We are interested in letting participants being part of and shaping the artwork. The theme works as a tool for communication and the participants create new relationships with each other and with us. We want to encourage relationships that otherwise would not occur, making the projects dynamic and collaborative. In January 2010 we travelled to China, we landed in Beijing only to find out that our plane to Chongqing had been cancelled due to the worst snowstorm in 40 years. After standing in line for more than 5 hours trying to rebook our tickets, we sat down on the concrete floor when we noticed how people were giggling and getting
ready for this massive group sleepover. 36 hours later we finally landed in Chongqing, a huge industrial city where the Jialing meets the Yangtze River. We were overwhelmed with all the people, the sounds and the smells. After an hour long taxi ride we arrived at Huangjueping, the art district of Chongqing. Here, we were going to live for one month in a small apartment on a street where every house was covered with colourful paintings and where we at the end of our stay would know everybody and everybody would know us. The residence program was arranged by Organhaus Art Space, the only artist run organisation and exhibition space focusing on contemporary art in the city. Living in such a huge city we became interested in how one presents oneself and how this affects ones identity. In ancient China, the way in which one wore ones hair told a lot about ones social position and status. Drawing inspiration from ancient Chinese mythology, we created seven hair-hats. The hats were shaped like different animals and each hat represented different characters in the human feature. We then invited people of all ages and from all parts of society to come to a photo studio where we asked them to choose the hat that symbolised who they were. Fifty people participated, and the photographs were ex-
hibited at Organhaus Art Space. The people in the photographs were no longer divided by age, gender or social status but instead united because they had the same dreams, interests or goals as the other people wearing the same hat. In July we travelled to China once more, this time to Kunming in the Yunnan province in the south. The Yunnan is on the border to Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam and is home to 25 of Chinas 56 ethnic minorities. We were interested in the music traditions of the region and we wanted to meet the people performing the music and hopefully collaborate with them. Musicians and dancers meet at the Green Lake Park, a huge park in the middle of the city to perform and play their music, thousands of people participate every day. The musicians told us about their instruments and about the traditions in the park. How some of the groups had met at the same place every day for several years. This was not only about music, this was a social movement. We decided we wanted to make our performance together with one of the groups from the park. Whilst visiting a drawing class for children, we asked them to make drawings of characters they wanted to see in a Chinese opera. This drawing task was unusual to the pupils as the children were mainly taught
/letters/ to draw by copying the old masters. But in this class, we got to focus on developing each child’s unique style. Based on the children’s drawings we created a stage and masks for the performers to wear. We tried to make the stage and the masks as similar to the children’s original drawings as possible. We then invited one of the groups from the park between the ages of 65 to 90 and started rehearsals. We asked the group to create their own story based on the children’s drawings. After a couple of hours of discussions and rehearsing the group started to relax and they started to play around with different ideas, a couple of hours later they had created an amazing story about a marriage between a dragon and a princess interrupted by an evil man surrounded by a clown. Three weeks later the group was ready to present their opera in the Green Lake Park. The opera lasted 2 hours and combined traditional Chinese music and imagery with the story the group created based on the children’s drawings. October 2010 we travelled to Kyoto, Japan. To take part in the Kyoto Art Centre’s Artist in Residence programme. After working with art in China the contrast to
Japan was overwhelming. The first weeks we spent planning the project and trying to adapt to the Japanese system of doing things. In Japan there is only one way to do something, consequently there are guidebooks where you can learn how to do it! You can buy a manual for everything from How to commit suicide, and How to give oral sex to your husband to How to pass your university exams. Despite this strictness, very interesting underground scenes for almost anything imaginable in fashion, art and music have developed, and the Japanese are eager to show you. Kyoto has been called the city where the Japanese go to learn how to be Japanese. It’s a city full of traditions and it is rich in culture. We wanted to make a project where we could learn more about the Japanese society and to see how people live. Twenty people participated in the Kyoto Dinner Experiments. The participants were invited to our home where they were asked to cook a Japanese fish dish whilst we prepared a Scandinavian fish dish. Doing something they were familiar with, the participants opened up and relaxed and the cooking proved to be a way of communicating without words. For the exhibition at Kyoto Art Centre, a sculpture in form of a landscape was created. The landscape was filled with memories and details from our previous dinners together with the par-
ticipants. The participants were asked to bring a hybrid fish dish to the exhibition opening. Exhibited together with the sculpture were information about the collaboration, the recipes, and our first dinner and our experience and impression of each other.
IMAGES: Categorizing 0,000155% Of Chongqing Using 7 Hats 2010 by SIMON LERIN BETTINA HYSTAD LINKS: www.bettinahystad.com www.simonlerin.com
hotch potch http://hotch-potch.org/
Hotch Potch is an art project initiated by a group of young Norwegian artists who wish to create and develop exhibitions where artists from different countries, backgrounds and scenes can meet, exhibit and work together. The initiators of the project, Marius Engstrom, Petter Garaas and Christian Kolverud are all based in Oslo, Norway but come from different artistic backgrounds and educations. We believe that the act of collaboration is a powerful starting point for creation. We want to bring together artists that we think would benefit from this collaboration and that has the potential to create an interesting environment for the process of setting up an exhibition. In doing this we also seek to challenge our own views and evolve as artists. The Norwegian art scene has seen a huge and rapid development since the last few years. More artists are being educated then ever and a lot of artist-run galleries and exhibition spaces have popped up. This means that the artists themselves have taken the initiative and are creating a scene of their own which challenges the existing institutions and galleries. Hotch Potch wishes to share this initiative and energy outside of Norway. In our first project, Hotchpotch London, we
invited British, Iranian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Spanish artists (thirty seven in total) to exhibit in an old butcher house in Hackney, London. There were established international names as well as newly educated artists in the show, and this created a very dynamic and fresh exhibition. We wanted to combine the professionalism of established artists with the more sub cultural and underground-like strategies of the younger artists included, some of whom came from graffiti, hardcore and skateboarding backgrounds. Hotchpotch London was held during the same time span as Art Frieze and several of the artists represented in the exhibition showed works in both places. Norwegian art critic, Mona Gjessing visited both places and wrote that Hotchpotch formed a refreshing and innocent contrast to the extravaganza of the Art Frieze. Professor of photography and critic/theorist, David Bate said the exhibition reminded him of the Shoreditch scene of the early nineties, which is where most of todayâ€™s British art scene has emerged from. Hotchpotch London gave the artists a new possibility to exhibit their art without being in a marketplace or an institution. In the Lisbon show, we took a new approach. Instead of setting up a show in a big contemporary art hub like London, we chose a country
and city that lies in the outskirts of Europe, and is less involved in the international contemporary art circus. Lisbon and the Portuguese art scene were not well known to any of the organisers of the show and we saw this as an interesting and fresh opportunity. We also wanted to involve the local artists on a broad scale, so about half of the exhibitors were of Portuguese origin. The exhibition space we were granted by the LX factory in Lisbon was a large and very rough factory hall with a high ceiling, it was a big challenge to set up and curate the show. We managed to draw focus upwards by showing a largescale wall painting high on the main wall, and downwards by illuminating the industrial ditches and canals on the floor. This artificial light worked as an independent site-specific installation as well as illuminating the artwork and the exhibition space. The show consisted of paintings, video projections, sculpture, installations, photography and performance. Several of the Norwegian artists travelled with us to Lisbon to work with their art on the spot as well as helping us to set up the show. We were met by a vibrant group of idealistic Portuguese artists that are used to getting a lot out of the limited means they have. Together, we managed to put up a diverse, fresh and inviting exhibition.
31.05.11 issue four: dylan miner KAREN NIKGOLS TOR-MAGNUS LUNDEBY per kristian nygård STEFAN SCHROEDER margarida paiva AJLA R STEINVÅG KJELL TORRISET SADA TANGARA Wolfgang Stiller |
(DETAIL) © Liegende Figur LINK: http://www.wolfgangstiller.com/