mag RUTH BARKER KAI-OI JAY YUNG LISA SLOMINSKI SIMONA BARBERA LENE BAADSVIG ØRMEN ROGHIEH ASGARI TORVUND TORIL JOHANNESSEN RONNIE FABER DAHL LISA STAALSPETS JOANNA PAWLIK
issue five/ 2011 published by nabroad www.maagmag.com
NORDISK KUNSTNARSENTER DALSÅSEN | ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE CENTER DALE I SUNNFJORD | NORWAY | www.nkdale.no | www.facebook.com/nkdale
www.nabroad.org Artist Cabins at Dalsåsen (detail) photo Laura Vuoma
/editor/ ENGAGING THE NARRATIVE in time, THROUGH THE ASKING OF QUESTIONS. This is måg issue five. The cover is by Joanna Pawlik, an artist who explore issues concerning her own disability through collaborations in photography and video. Pawlik says; “One of my aims was to explore the situation of disabled women in the social context; their exclusion or acceptance, as well as in the sexual context, which is (equally) important to me.” Alongside Pawlik’s recent solo exhibition ‘Balans’ at Bunkier Sztuki Gallery a comprehensive catalogue was published connecting visual arts to the topic of disability through essays and interviews. This is the first publication of such work to be published in Poland. Pawlik says about her new work; “At the age of ten I lost my right leg, which undoubtedly has been the most traumatic experience of my life. For years I tried to hide my disability as much as possible. For most of my private and artistic life I had been preparing to reveal what was hidden […]” Artists chosen for this issue are
those who engage a narrative in time through the asking of questions. Toril Johannessen is not looking for answers but she is rather “[…] interested in paradoxes and obscurity. Science or technology per se doesn’t provide any answers […] what I am interested in are their history and in looking at the ways we collectively and as individuals are informed by such systems of knowledge“. Lene Baadsvig Ørmen explores the science behind repetition, whereas repetition is based on a constant conflict; “On one side, you can see it as an endless predictable movement, a prison that you want to escape and on the other hand a comfortable seductive ease, a state of numbness that feels safe. The duality of repetition indicates a certain struggle […]. Is the attempt to recreate a perfect repetition even possible?”
We share our time. But we can never be sure whether my time is the same as yours. It probably isn’t the same at all. But does that matter? “ Recent events may spark questions of randomness in relation to time and place. It may also direct us to investigate questions of what time is and what our actions in the system of randomness could be, as well as how our behavior affects others who we are indirectly connected to in a net of connectedness. In September måg & NABROAD go to Newcastle upon Tyne where we will see NEW SCREEN NEWCASTLE happen in collaboration with Oslo Screen Festival. This event will present the best of video art that explore concepts of the narrative.
Science tells us one cannot create true randomness through any system. So how does one relate randomness to narratives in time? måg’s contributing editor Ruth Barker writes;
Next issue of måg is out in November and we will be publishing commissioned soundworks in a special edition. Much exciting activity ahead, thank you for reading måg and contributing through idea-exchanges and collaborative and creative discussions.
“We gather the moments of time together, and we bring the fragments back towards one another to make a messy and confusing whole. And then we look at the messy and confusing hole that we have made. And perhaps we are none the wiser. Or perhaps there is something very subtle that we have learned, but which we cannot quite grasp yet. We will think it over. It will come to us, later. And all at once we can hardly see the time at all, and it is all around us.
AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM is editor of måg and director of NABROAD www.nabroad.org
5 COVER PHOTO JOANNA PAWLIK
MAGAZINE DESIGN BY NABROAD © 2010 www.nabroad.org PUBLISHER: NABROAD NORWEGIAN ARTISTS ABROAD EDITOR: AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: PAVLA ALCHIN MARIANNE MORILD RUTH BARKER JASMINA BOSNJAK SUB EDITORS: LYNDON RILEY 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. måg © 2011 www.maagmag.com SUPPORTED BY VIRTUAL PORTFOLIO
GALLERY 122 KAI-OI JAY YUNG
FEATURES 18 JOANNA PAWLIK / måg 32 TORIL JOHANNESSEN / måg 44 SIMONA BARBERA / måg 58 LISA SLOMINSKI / måg
text 3 Editor / Audhild Dahlstrøm
72 LENE BAADSVIG ØRMEN / måg
8 NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE
82 ROGHIEH ASGARI TORVUND / måg
106 3º Of Separation - Time / Ruth Barker
92 LISA STÅLSPETS / måg
134 Letter / Ronny Faber Dahl
. . NEUK O L NORW LN EGEN NABROAD.BERLIN
a fest celebr the be interna video that ex conce the nar
tival rating est of ational o art xplores epts of rrative
A NABROAD PRODUCTION WITH OSLO SCREEN FESTIVAL
Denise Hauser (CH/NO) Bull.Miletic (NO) Mihai Grecu (RO/FR) Rimas Sakalauskas (LT) Mariken Kramer (NO) Sabina Jacobsson (SE/NO) Sérgio Cruz (PT/UK) Liliana Resnick (HR) Rob Carter (UK/USA) Timo Wright (FI) Petter Napstad (NO) Geir Esben Østbye (NO) Jean-Gabriel Pèriot (FR) Bjørn Erik Haugen (NO) Ottar Ormstad (NO) Ane Lan (NO) Roghie Asgari Torvund (NO/IR) Lucas Treise (DE) Anne-Britt Rage (NO) The Hungry Hearts (NO) Gayatri Kodikal (IN) Joanna Pawlik (PL) Ieva Balode (LV) Erin Newell (US/UK) Max Hattler (UK) Tina Willgren (SE) Ida Julsen (NO) Ulf Kristiansen (NO) Kaia Hugin (NO) Johanna Domke (DE) Margarida Paiva (NO/PT) Kiron Hussain (UK) Morten Dysgaard (DK) Mattias Härenstam (SE/NO) Joanna Lecklin (FI) Ina Otzko (NO) Duane Hopkins (UK) Donkey&Punch (NO) Henna-Riikka Halonen (UK/FI) Isoje Iyi-Eweka Chou (CA) Farhad Kalantary (NO) Momoko Seto (FR/JP)
NEW SCREEN NEW CASTLE
We see the participation on an international platform for exchange of artistic and creative thought, as paramount. We are thrilled to launch NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE in Newcastle. Taking into account the historic relationship between the North East and Scandinavia there could be no better time to build a relationship between not only North East and Norwegian artists but also international artists. The current richness and vibrancy that exists in the North East art scene is very exciting, and has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to create this dialogue. Audhild DahlstrĂ¸m Director and Founder of NABROAD and Producer of NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE
We are proud to present a varied program of video art including international and Norwegian artists in Newcastle. These artistsâ€™ works are coloured with subjectivity and experimentation, searching for new possible forms, subjects and languages. NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE is a great initiative that aims to stimulate artistic exchange and critical thinking. Margarida Paiva Director and Founder of Oslo Screen Festival and Producer of NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE
THE FESTIVAL Festival producers NABROAD and Oslo Screen Festival are proud to announce the program for the first NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE in Newcastle Upon Tyne. NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE is a Festival of Video Art, and a creative international dialogue, which could see this festival take place regularly in the coming years. NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE introduces a lineup of short films and video works at its festival premiere in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) 09-11. September 2011. Artists from Finland, USA, Iran, India, Japan, Canada, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, France, Poland, Australia, Portugal, Hungary as well as Sweden, China and the UK give NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE 2011 a distinctive feel as it explores concepts of the narrative. Taking place at three of Newcastle’s most unique venues the festival opens Friday with a solo screen by Max Hattler at The Outsiders Gallery and a program at Tyneside Cinema on Saturday 10. September with the Newcastle based artists Duane Hopkins and Henna-Riikka Halonen alongside international artists in a daylong screening program. The main program ‘A Narrative at Something Else’ curated by Oslo Screen Festival, also at Tyneside Cinema will showcase works by the renowned Bull.Miletic, Sérgio Cruz and Denise Hauser and many more. The festival’s opening party reception will take place after this screening, at Tyneside Cinema with another special screening of works by Max Hattler. The third day of the festival we see the action move to the Side Cinema where from 12pm another program commences curated by NABROAD and Oslo Screen Festival presenting works by artists such as Mattias Härenstam, Kiron Hussain, Ane Lan, Joanna Lecklin and Morten Dysgaard.
NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE SPONSORS 2011 The sponsors of NEW SCREEN NEW-CASTLE help realise our initiative of bringing together a collective of Norwegian, Newcastle and North East based artists as well as international artists in our attempt to create ongoing links and encourage creative exchange. Our sponsors are vital in our mission to promote international exchange as well as our attempt to present the best program of video art that explore concepts of the narrative in an exciting environment that is Newcastle. Our sponsors are: The Royal Norwegian Embassy, Virtual Portfolio and NABROAD.
NEDREGÅRD & HILLARY 2009-2011
JOANNA PAWLIK by m책g
1) måg: Your recent works explore issues that derive from personal experiences, and they conceptualise definitions of ‘the norm’. Please tell us why you chose to work with references that are personal to you. JP: At the age of ten I lost my right leg, which undoubtedly has been the most traumatic experience of my life. For years I tried to hide my disability as much as possible. For most of my private and artistic life I had been preparing to reveal what was hidden and to show other women like me. One could say my new works are a conclusion, an end, but they are also a beginning of a new path in my life and artistic career. Also, I wanted to create works, which demonstrate how physical imperfections affecting our appearance (scars, amputations and other visible bodily alterations), influence our emotions and to what extent we are able to accept them. One of my aims was to explore the situation of disabled women in the social context, and their exclusion or acceptance and in the sexual context, which is equally important to me. In a time when physical beauty and perfection are worshipped, disabled women may often feel inadequate. I also understood that to create satisfactory works I had to use other means of expression than those I had used so far (mostly painting). Therefore, I started making films, taking photos, and drawing without a model.
2) måg: Your recent solo show ‘Balans’ (2010) at The Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery (Poland) was a comprehensive exhibition of your recent work accompanied by a catalogue giving a thorough insight into your practise and the issues that you raise within your work. How did this exhibition come about and how important was it to have a document such as this catalogue to explore these issues? JP: Actually, the first exhibition of my videos and photos connected with disability was “Spacer” (“A Walk”) in Czarna Gallery in 2009. It was a breakthrough exhibition during which I revealed my disability in films using to-camera performance. I was my own model, not knowing any other disabled women at the time. I started testing the limitations of my body, assuming difficult positions and dancing (with or without my prosthesis). I also tested the limits of my emotional endurance in public places showing my disability, e.g. by jumping on one leg. Let me quote here a fragment of Sylwia Chutnik’s short story, written for the purpose of the catalogue: “This skipping gets on all our nerves, that skipping is ruining our normal walking on the beach... she appears to be a normal woman, but with one leg. Is she making fun of us? Is she trying to insult us? But we object, because we don’t want to be in a state of discomfort, when something nags at us, but we don’t even know what. This is unpleasant, repellent, and unpleasant, this doesn’t fit into the framework of easy beauty, which we
could eternalise with a digital camera and put in the album of holiday snaps.” After the exhibition at Czarna Gallery I decided the time had come to meet and start working with other women. I decided that the next show of my works should take place at a public institution on account of its social dimension. I reached the conclusion that it would be a good idea to show my project in the country which is considered the most developed in the world in terms of caring for its citizens’ welfare, namely Norway. I had visited Norway many times, I had had an solo exhibition there and after some years I renewed my co-operation with Gidsken Braadlie of Galleri 69 from Oslo. The second part of my project called “Economy of Loss” was shown at Galleri 69 in February 2011. This exhibition was part of a Polish-Norwegian project involving me and Elin Drougge, conceived as a space for reflection about rejection and the recycling of what has been rejected. In the project, we leave room for a dialogue between the two countries, with an emphasis on close examination of the predicament of the disabled in the Polish and Norwegian cultures. The catalogue accompanying the “Balans” exhibition is the first extensive publication on my work. It is a very well-prepared publication both in terms of content and visual value, which should be credited to the whole team of Bunkier Sztuki Gallery. Also, I think that the co-operation with Stach Szablowski (an art critic) and
/PAWLIK/ Alicja Dugocka (a sexologist) added a unique dimension to it, making it much more than an art catalogue. It is the first Polish publication of such work, connecting visual arts in the context of my topic - disability of women - with their place in society and their sexuality. 3) måg: Where does your work sit in the context of the environments you move within? JP: I tried to hide my disability all my life, so I did not know any other disabled people. The “Balans” project was a great challenge because I had no idea what it would be like to meet someone like me; to meet a disabled “sister.” Since 2008 I have met many other disabled people, such as sportsmen or dancers. Until then I was surrounded by Polish artists of my generation who knew me predominantly as a painter. I must say that when I started dealing with the topic of disability very few people from the art world wanted to talk to me about it. Perhaps the topic was too difficult, or maybe some thought it too obvious to be presented in art. 4) måg: Do you believe it is possible to avoid categorisation of your work within the contemporary art scene, or is this a non-issue for you?
JP: This is a non-issue, as long as I can continue my work and hold exhibitions. I am happy to be able to work with people in different countries and on different continents. I have just come back from an artist residence in California at 18th Street Art Center. I worked with former models, actors and sportsmen in the context of the prevailing cult of a perfect body (The Hollywood Image). I am aware that my art is not in the so-called artistic mainstream, but it is not an issue to me. 5) måg: Stach Szablowski writes about your work ‘Infection’ (2007); ‘Infection, with a rivulet of blood streaming out from under the door, with the nervous movement of the hand-held camera and ambience of horror, is an attempt to work through the trauma, telling the story in an idiom […] This film, at which, if taken out of the context of the artist’s work, we could, in fact, direct many criticisms. Pawlik steps outside of the role of a distanced, selfaware artistic author of a project; the personal scope of her work is boundless; the form overwhelmed by emotion. And yet the very thing that could be considered a weakness of ‘Infection’ – that is to say, the artist’s obsessive focus on her own condition turns out to be, in the long run, the strength of the (her) artistic practice.’ What are your thoughts on this analysis of your work? JP: I generally agree that “the obsessive focus on my own condi-
tion” (and later on, the condition of other disabled people) became the strength of my artistic practice. The film ‘Infection’ was earlier described in Stach Szabowski’s review of the exhibition “With Eyes Shut” as the only one which fulfilled the task, the exhibition ‘With Eyes Shut’ showed works in which artists came back to an important event from the past, a kind of initiation, that once changed their lives and that they now wanted to confront again. I suppose that ‘Infection’ may be considered too emotional but, please, remember that it is only an impression of a real event, namely my childhood accident. The accident itself was far more dramatic than what one can see in the film. 6) måg: As well as using yourself in much of your work, collaboration with others seems invaluable to the stories in which you convey. How do you work with individuals to build up a trust so the work becomes stories and not just voyeuristic images? JP: At the very beginning of the creative work on the project I had an impression that what I was doing was important not only to me but also to others. I assumed it would be a challenge. Observing myself and other participants, I noticed that one of the key processes that took place was feeling at ease with each other. I had to be very careful and sympathetic because I was dealing with difficult emotions - I touched the most vulnerable parts of their personality. As a result, I am still in touch with some of the women today and some of
/PAWLIK/ them have become my close friends. Meeting the women whom I invited to participate in the project allowed me to free myself of certain schemata, which had governed my thinking. Thanks to those women I saw my real self. They were a mirror to me. At times very literally, as in the film ‘Symmetry.’ During my collaboration with the women I felt emotional warmth and closeness, which made the loss, which I had suffered seem less. I also think that my works have a universal dimension because of our struggle with an imperfect body image. There are few people fully satisfied with their appearance. Able- bodied people have many complexes too, and as a result, they experience various emotions, just as the heroines of my project. (Translation from Polish: Anna Rociszewska)
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Untitled 2008 archiv print on paper 100 x120 cm Untitled (Oslo Roof) 2011 Untitled 2010 silicone, polyester Still,” Rodney” 2011 Video 20 m Untitled( Laura) 2010 archive print on paper 125 x 187,5 cm Still,” Rodney” 2011 Video 20 m Untitled( Bridge) 2010 archive print on paper 125 x 187,5 cm LINK: http://czarnagaleria.net
NEW SCREEN NEWCASTLE
JOHANNESSEN by m책g
/ANE LAN/ /JOHANNESSEN/
“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
1) måg: Maths, technology and engineering are obvious aspects to your work. Is it crucial for you to search for answers? TJ: No, I am just as interested in paradoxes and obscurity. Science or technology per se doesn’t provide any answers in my work, what I am interested in are their history and in looking at the ways we collectively and as individuals are informed by such systems of knowledge. 2) måg: Your piece ‘Mean Time’ (2011) is a Dutch train station clock that you have re-programmed to follow the pace of current global Internet activity. The more data that is being processed the faster the hands of time turn. This work was part of the recent exhibition ‘The End of Money’ at Witte de With in Rotterdam. A particularly interesting and topical exhibition, ‘The End of Money’ explored concepts of time and value. The exhibition reflected upon the fears, hopes and expectations associated with the end of money and its ominous consequence: the dissolution of an absolute standard of value. Please tell us about this work, the technology and research behind it and how it became part of ‘The End of Money’ exhibition. TJ: The starting point for the project “Mean Time” was the concept of temporality, how we experience time and how we measure and represent it. The concept of revolutions also inspired this work, however in a
less apparent way.
revolution: a return to tradition. During the French Revolution, on the other hand, the aim was to tear down the established in order to build something new, and the term was then used in the sense of an overthrowing or subversion.
The clock is controlled by the activity on the Internet. When there is high activity on the web, the clock goes fast; when there is lower activity the clock will slow down. Thus, the clock is governed by anthropogenic activity, and not defined by The introduction of the time’s “invisible hand” or decimal system, as I make use fluctuations in crystals or atoms. of in the clock for UIB, has its origin in the French Revolution. The work is a further exploration The introduction of new of a topic that I am currently standards was an important working on for a permanent part of revolutionary struggle installation at the University of – out with the old, in with the Bergen (Historical Time, new! But as metres, kilograms commissioned by KORO; to be and litres became standards completed August 2011). The internationally (with some main element of the project exceptions), the measurement for the University of Bergen is units of time - the clock and a clock tower in the courtyard calendar – did not become at the Faculty of Humanities, part of the same system. The where the clock runs on a 10reason for this is complex, but hour system, i.e. the decimal can be explained on a system, instead of our practical level: there existed conventional system for time numerous different units for measure, the 24-hour system. measurement of length, weight, volume etc., and the For ‘The End of Money’, Juan standardisation simplified Gaitán, the curator at Witte de problems with conversion of With, asked me to contribute units. This was not the case with an extended version of a series time units. The convention of of prints that I have worked on 12 months and 24 hours was since 2010 titled ‘Words and supreme and too strong for Years’, which deals with another system to be installed. representation of history Seen from this perspective, a through statistics. As I drafted revolution is not just about the idea of the internet clock rebellion and resistance, but we decided it should also be a also about the introduction of part of the show. Witte de With new standards and new helped me find the train conventions. station clocks and I worked with a clock engineer and a Today there are other battles programmer to create the on time conventions, among technology. them that between the West and the Middle East. The As mentioned, the concept world’s largest clock is currently of revolutions also has a part the clock tower in Mecca, in the projects. The term has which began to tick on the changed meaning through 11th of August 2010. The history. During the English motivation for the Revolution the concept was construction of this clock is understood in the sense of based on a mix of political, rotation, of a return to, which religious and scientific was essentially the aim of this arguments claiming that
Mecca is the earth’s center and that it should be the prime meridian. Hence, Mecca Mean Time should replace Greenwich Mean Time as the international standard. Further to the notion of revolutions: revolutions are obviously a hot topic these days because of the situation in North Africa and the Middle East. A recurring theme with regard to this situation is how the internet and social media play a significant role in these ongoing revolutions. In that sense these revolutions are related to the global temporality the internet has created. 3) måg: For the exhibition “Transcendental Physics” at Bergen Kunsthall NO5 (2010) you created a sculpture, which was the largest object one could possibly get into the gallery space in one piece. You created the sculpture through mapping physical conditions and exploring mathematical solutions within the space. Please tell us more about this work and the challenges you met during the process. TJ: The sculpture was one of two works in the exhibition. The other was two pairs of colour pencil drawings depicting an optical illusion and horizontal lines. A third element for the project was a lecture I did at the department of art history at the University of Bergen. I am interested in what mysticism and spirituality might be and mean and what forms they may take in a time we often describe as rational, and in the lecture I addressed such relationships by drawing a line between natural science and
minimal forms of expression. More specifically, I talked about the lives and works of the German scientist Johann Zöllner and the Canadian-American artist Agnes Martin. In their respective ways, they both worked systematically and methodically, Martin with a focus on geometry, Zöllner using the scientific techniques of his day, while the objects of their investigations were various dimensions of the spiritual. The diptych are direct references to their works, and the title of the exhibition, ‘Transcendental Physics’, is the title of a book by Zöllner on the nature of the 4th dimension, in which he describes his studies of a spiritist medium with clairvoyant abilities and makes these observations the empirical evidence of his own theory. On the practical side of things regarding the sculpture: I spent some time in the gallery space and looked at different solutions to decide roughly the scale I would end up with and the path through the rooms that the sculpture would have to go through. It is a bit like that kind of ‘hands on’ knowledge that you acquire by moving flats; like, how do I tilt the all-too-big sofa to go through that narrow door? Then I made exact measures of every detail in the entranceways that the sculpture was to go through, and in the end the sculpture was constructed digitally in a 3D program. Materials were a challenge - I wanted something solid that could be produced outside the gallery space and that could be transported into the space without too much damage and without the need for extra tools that would alter the shape and decrease the size
of the sculpture. The sculpture is a materialisation of a potential form, something that is present in any kind of space. It is a statement, not a critique.
/ANE LAN/ /JOHANNESSEN/
/JOHANNESSEN/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Mean Time 2011 Clock, computer program 65x53x65 cm Photo: Toril Johannessen Transcendental Physics 2010 Massive styrofoam sealed and sanded 761 x 227 x 148 cm Photo: Toril Johannessen Revolutions in Time from the series Words and Years 2011 Screen print 76x56 cm Photo: Toril Johannessen Conventions in Time from the series Words and Years 2011 Screen print 76x56 cm Photo: Toril Johannessen Mean Time 2011 Clock, computer program 65x53x65 cm Toril Johannessen (In front: 2008 by Christodoulos Panayiotou) LINK: www.toriljohannessen.no
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
SIMONA BARBERA by m책g
/BARBERA/ 1) m책g: Your sound work is based on the integration of sonic art and electronic music. Through visual installations and live performance, you explore relationships between sound and space. Is experimentation, rather than research, the most important element to you in making new work? SB: Most of my sound work is based on a process of elaboration of a sound source and voice-over narration, but its core is more related to the art discourse and to the expanded concept of music, in its theoretical aspect and the use of the space in terms of audiovisual installation. Fragments of my sound works are based on electro-acoustic frequencies developing into noise, organic repetitions, and field acoustic connected to the spacial dimension of the environmental sound pieces, where the visual elements like photography or drawings disclose the non-visual aspects; narration over archetypal elements. Lately I have been working with more acoustic sources and old technology to achieve a different organic environmental sonic perception.
2) måg: The visual and audiovisual aspects of your work often come from nature and situations staged by nature; the drama of the regular seems to take stage for a continued narrative. Please tell us how you approach new work and how you see it in relation to its origins. SB: In several of my works I talk about nature as a mysterious and powerful force, an archetypal force, connecting anthropology and art, transcending the physical perception of objects. In most of my works (Oh, my dark soul! Space 4235, Tromsø, Saturn over Sunset, Black Temporary Space, Bergamo) I explore the condition of transformation over a sort of anthropological ‘pessimism’ which leads toward the unknown: a way to talk about darkness transcending it on a more ancestral level. In one of my sculpture- works I used fish scales as a process of transmutation, fragility; an after death condition. 3) måg: In your practise you explore music as well as visual art. The perception of definition seems unnatural and even non-existent within your work. How do you manage to progress from these definitions which could so easily influence your work? SB: The way I use sound in my work is wide-open and expanded, from live performance to sound installation - electronic
music can achieve complex sonic elements and not only narration.
you deem important to convey about this process through the work itself?
I am certainly far from the more ‘entertainment’ aspect of music and closer to the art form, independent even from the audience. What is really significant to me is the studio work, the self-production of my records and the different visual representations of it, keeping a clear distance from larger forms of production and over- production. I conceive sound and visuals and art as a complex and articulated way to convey concepts and theories.
SB: My imagery is connected with the artistic process whereby anthropology, mysticism and also anthroposophy are combined.
4) måg: You are based in Italy and Norway- what are the biggest differences to how you create work in these two locations? SB: My journey to Norway has been highly significant to me, especially since I explored aspects connected to Northern mythology and experimental music, interconnecting my journey by exploring folklore, like Theodor Kittelsen, who I referred a lot in my work, shooting photos and discovering fascinating details about nature and the self. Autonomy and inner perspective is perhaps the biggest difference I feel when I work in Norway. 5) måg: There is a certain ‘darkness’ to your work, often with an uncomfortable edge to it mixed with romantic sentiments from nature making it somehow eerier and at the same time more familiar. What preoccupies you when you make new work and what do
My interest in exploring different areas of mysticism has found different references in art history: from the experimental film maker Maya Deren to Kenneth Anger, Derek Jarman, Joseph Beuys and Tim Whiten, even Diamanda Galas. In all these sources I found a common approach to the ritualistic aspect: mystery around reality in the cosmic/ alchemic sense; images as pathway to inner vision, magic and shamanism as a key to the world of nature, spirit and self; violence over earth. Myth and ritual speak to the intuition and imagination, not only the self; in sharing and being part of a deeper perception - faculties often compensated by commonness - while the environmental issue is referred to in the deep structures of the intimate archetypical relationship with nature. 6) måg: What is your fixation with ‘myths’ and ‘darkness’? SB: The direct nature connection is related to the exploration of the primal and ancient essence of rituals, where there is no distinction between the ‘natural’ and the ‘supernatural’. The darkness related to it emerges through the commonness of the surroundings; it aims to create
/torp/ /BARBERA/ an unknown mystical space. Myth and anthropology to me are also connected to certain sociocultural conditions, even ecology. 7) måg: ‘I walk into this garden’ (20102011) is your newest work exploring journeys, both physical as well as psychologcal please tell us about it. SB: ‘I walk into this garden’ started in 2007 as the title of a music track recorded on vinyl, following the idea of a magic garden. At the beginning the project drew inspiration from the magic garden of the experimental filmmaker Derek Jarman. The film director was the creator of his own garden, with surroundings consisting of stones, flints, shells and driftwood, wild flowers and sculptures, beside a nuclear station at Dungeness in Kent. A garden is a place where different varieties of flowers come into sight and smell; it’s a place of labyrinthine forms and intertwined branches. Derek Jarman’s magic scenario draws these flowers together in a magic union with the nuclear environment, casting a sort of spell over it, through the circular geometry of his stone sculptures. The same scenario was the set of his films and represents a radical way of living and intertwining together environmental issues to his intimate life and art. My latest work ‘I walk into this garden’ has environmental as-
sociations: the celebration of the cyclical seasons and solstices, and the garden referred to is an enclosed place, a place for rituals, where I declare I immerse myself, my voice. In this project the grasp of psychoacoustics is evident, as the spacial dimension of sound involves my own voice too. The psychological aspect is certainly derived from the need for spirituality, but also reflects the way I reach the physical and emotional aspect connected to live performance. The performance into the work as ritual. ‘I walk into this garden’ was also the title of a live performance celebrating the winter solstice, played in a self-run space in inland Liguria called SP333, using elements found in nature. The latest project has been developed in the Norwegian woods, exploring pagan and neo-pagan tradition, using only analogue big format photography. The ‘forest-garden’ is represented as a constantly changing environment, by a total immersion in this environment where the camera is the medium chosen to dialogue and recall those powerful forces I referred to and disclose the dense forest into a series of fragmented, hanging, still images.
(Italy) 2009 Live performance, portrait 35,7cm x 27,9cm b/w Fine Art photo print by Claudio Cristini
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Saturn over Sunset at Temporary Black Space (Italy) 2009 wall painting Variable dimentions b/w Fine Art photo print by Claudio Cristini I walk into this garden at SP333 (Italy) 2010 Live performance variable dimentions photo: still video by suitecase Looming over the darkest black at Henie Onstad Art Center (Norway) sound installation, wall painting variable dimentions photo by Henie Onstad Art Center Feather at Federica Schiavo Gallery (Italy) Charcoal on paper 42cm x 34cm photo by Mario di Paolo courtesy Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome, Italy Oh, my dark soul! At Space 4235, Norway 2010 sound installation, live performance, wall painting, mix-media b/w print variable dimentions photo by Space 4235 Saturn over Sunset at Temporary Black Space (Italy) 2009 Wall painting variable dimentions b/w Fine Art photo print by Claudio Cristini Saturn over Sunset at Temporary Black Space
SLOMINSKI by m책g
1) måg: You work as an artist and curator - how do these roles influence or interact with each other? LS: At the moment it seems the role of ‘curator’ is forming a complex over-identified role within many contexts and curating is happening in various ways. Curators are assuming the role via education, institutions and so on. I think for me personally, I see curating as an extension of my art practice. For me, curating is the articulation of an idea through a different angle; creating an additional dialogue amongst other practices that I find intriguing. Perhaps because of that outlook, my primarily installation-based practice relies on the strategic placement of objects and multiples to create a similar dialectical tension. 2) måg: Domestic and recognisable objects feature in much of your work, and the way in which they are employed challenge our perception of the object itself - its use and visual representation. Tell us how you set about choosing these objects. LS: Well, I do spend a lot of time wandering around B&Q (the home & hardware superstore). When I’m working on a project, I find myself walking down the aisles of DIY shops in the same way I walk through an exhibition. Elements of interior design or everyday life often are at the
core of my work because I am interested in how an object’s meaning and function can shift, as well as seeing what personal memories or spaces it sparks for me. Similarly, I use it as a familiar participant in the work so the viewer experiences how an object’s meaning and use can shift and can take on their own ‘take’. 3) måg: ‘Untitled (Installment)’ (2007) is an installation piece that very much represents your fascination with domestic objects. Please tell us about the concept behind it and the objects chosen. LS: Yes, ‘Untitled (Installment)’ is a slightly older work. I produced a wall-based pattern with hundreds of doorknockers and hinges. Then in contrast to the complex pattern on the bright blue wall, I arranged four stark white doors in a diamond shape on the floor. I presented them in a re-ordered, decorative, and non-felicitous way. The new scene from these interior objects became a complete removal from the everyday.
4) måg: You recently exhibited the solo project ‘It’s gonna work out fine’ at Tenderpixel Gallery in London. This exhibition featured 100 pieces of laser cut emoticons in Perspex which covered a whole wall in the gallery. Your fascination with pattern and the language of patterns has in this piece an additional layer as the pattern itself represents a language of emotions used in digital communication via computers and mobile phones. What was the starting point for this work and what do you want to challenge with it? LS: Yes, like what I was describing with ‘Untitled (Installment)’ my practice often involves an interrogation of space, which until this new work for ‘It’s gonna work out fine’ was always interior or physical space. The Perspex installation, ‘Pookie’, is my first work looking at virtual space.
The doorknockers and hinges (inexpensive, but referencing through shape and faux brass coating an elevated and historical version) became a part of a new reading and definition using only their decorative, non-useful qualities.
The use of emoticons is consistent to previous work in process by isolating an element from the everyday narrated by the individual. For ‘Pookie’ I was thinking about our reversion back to hieroglyphic-like symbols to communicate our state of mind. I wanted to take these non-physical representations, which we are accustomed to only seeing on computer or mobile phone screens, and reproduce something tangible and extremely physical.
The doors as such did the same. This re-order explored the space between function and decoration while questioning systems of space through pattern.
Through these physical representations I attempted to create a space of solace. I composed a radial pattern reflecting decorative techniques found in religious
/SLOMINSKI/ spaces, and meditative sequences such as mandalas. ‘Pookie’ composed a physical space and subsequently a response, from the micro-actions implemented by emoticons. : ) 5) måg: Is it important to you to direct the audience’s understanding and reading of the work? LS: I think it is really hard balancing my conceptual intent, and what my audience may walk away with after seeing one of my installations. On the one hand, after almost a decade of art theory lectures, I know that art is open for interpretation. Yet on the other, it is important for me that the viewer has some entry point into the work. So I am not overly concerned with having a ‘correct’ singular reading of my work because the concept often involves forming a new field for interpretation of not only the work itself, but also how we view space in general. It is more important for me that a dialogue between the viewer and the work is produced. 6) måg: Your next solo exhibition is happening in Miami at Dimensions Variable in September. What are you planning for this show? LS: My solo-show ‘Dreamy Nomads, Baby’
opens on the 10th of September, and is paired with a 2-week residency in Miami at the Fountainhead Residency preceding the exhibition. I am attempting an exploration through memory and its actualisation as a physical place; specifically thinking about how public spaces and tourist attractions become a backdrop to so many varied memories. Also, how memory can distort the accuracy of place and experience... there is no shared experience via memory.
screen-prints on paper. When installed in a grid the composite image is wallpaper-like, whilst the colour of the velvet flock fades from black, through greys to white.
The focus of Dimensions Variable is to feature exhibitions by individual artists and collaboratives that address the space specifically to produce one cohesive project. They aim to provide a project platform, especially for multidisciplinary practices.
7) måg: ‘The Bottom Line’ (2011) is a show you recently curated featuring the artists Richard Ansett, Patrick Coyle, Jang-Oh Hong, JL Murtaugh and Irene Perez Hernandez.
‘Dreamy Nomads, Baby’ builds from an exchange of text messages to designate a space as a significant memory. The text messages are: just passed our place. miss u xx Amazing!! …where r u? X <3 The messages are interpreted by alternating flashing light boxes at separate ends of Dimensions Variable, each paired with a separate mirror sculpture signifying the difference in a connected memory. The main sculpture will be a fountain-like sculpture made of household mirrors and other multiples. I will implement my use of domestic materials and patterns to ‘build’ having a memory sparked and how memory re-constructs events. Another work in the show will be a wall installation of flocked
The residency at Fountainhead leading up to the exhibition allows me to create a site-specific installation and produce it mostly from local domestic objects. So I am hoping this will become an additional play on the concept of materialisation and memory.
The show attempts to challenge thoughts on our economic climate and technological ‘connectiveness’; the notion that less is more, a shift away from the auxiliary to focus on the fundamental. Can you tell us about the conceptual process for this show and the work you did with the artists? LS: Yes, what I liked about the concept of “The Bottom Line” is that it is a conversational or situational reference but with very visual or illustrative wording. I was interested in choosing a phrase operating outside of an art context and applying it across varied practices within. So while it has implications for the economy and our fast-paced connection to information, it can also describe different approaches to making work. It was the combination, both blurring and highlighting the
/SLOMINSKI/ possibility of the bottom line in practice and concept, that made selecting work really compelling. One artist I chose was Patrick Coyle, who exhibited work from his ongoing ‘Spell-Check Stamp’ series. Coyle also performed during the private view of ‘The Bottom Line’, providing a narrative via story telling for his physical, installed work. Through spell-checking contemporary ephemera via physical red line stamps, he challenged the notion of what the most vital information is. The attention drawn by his mark designated the unwanted, as opposed to the essential. I also exhibited the work of Irene Pérez Hernández. Her practice is concerned more with form and in particular with the properties of materials. I chose work from her ‘Loop Series’ as a physical and process-based investigation of the bottom line. Heating and twisting steel to make the loops, the final shape of the work was determined only through the course of working directly with this noncompliant material. By working simultaneously with and against her materials Hernández allowed the result to be essential but also un-predetermined. Additional works in the show included a wall-based installation by JL Murtaugh. He implemented his often site-responsive tactics to investigate the cultural-administrative potential of a site.
Photographer Richard Ansett produced a new photograph ‘Image_06_083’ questioning the notion of documentation being a misconstrued or biased truth. While conceptual Korean artist Jang-Oh Hong created a light-based installation in the gallery window. Playing with theatrics, Hong used his work to explore the bottom line as a level of exposure. 8) måg: What do you believe are the challenges to curators and artists in the UK at the moment? LS: I think the main challenge, which is also an exciting juncture for contemporary art at the moment, is the intersection and diversifying role of the artist. The challenging part is doing this with purpose and confidence. We are in a time when there is an electrifying connection of artists to curation, design, architecture and writing. Our challenge is to state intent, and accept, no matter how varied the works.
/SLOMINSKI/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Dreamy Nomads, Baby (print detail) 2011 Flocked screen print 16.5 x 23.4 inches each, grid installation of 18 Dreamy Nomads, Baby (digital mock-up) 2011 Digital image by Lisa Slominski Itâ€™s Gonna Work Out Fine 2011 Installation view Photo by Nick Dehadray Dreamy Nomads, Baby (print detail) 2011 Flocked screen print 16.5 x 23.4 inches each, grid installation of 18 The Bottom Line 2011 Installation view: Curated by Lisa Slominski, featuring work by Ricard Ansett, Patrick Coyle, Jang-Oh Hong, JL Murtaugh & Irene Perez-Hernandez Photo by Nick Dehadray Pookie (detail) 2011 Laser-cut Perspex & magnets Photo by Nick Dehadray Dreamy Nomads, Baby (digital mock-up) 2011 Digital image by Lisa Slominski LINKS: www.lisaslominski.com www.dimensionsvariable.net www.fountainheadresidency.com www.tenderpixel.com
LENE BAADSVIG ØRMEN by by måg måg
/Ørmen/ 1) måg: Your newest work, “Noticing Absence”, is the title of an installation consisting of video, ink on paper, and sculpture. The pieces within the work are all individually titled and tell their own story of moments in time – or moments in time where movements become a repetition of themselves and sometimes even dissolve into nothing. Can you tell us about the pieces in this work and the narratives you wish to convey? LBO: I see the pieces in “Noticing Absence” as a continuation of “Notes on Resistance”, where I explored several ideas based on resistance as a common starting point. I was particularly concerned with movement and time and it was the capturing of movement I aimed for in the pieces. In this collection of pieces I was particularly occupied with the idea of drawing traces, changes and different stages of transience. 2) måg: Much of your work expresses poetic thought, what does your investigation consist of in the making of new work? LBO: When developing new pieces I always start with a conflict or curiosity that I deal with or recognise in my personal life. Take for example “Bird Against Wind” - it was developed after a frustrating winter in Copenhagen, where I always seemed to battle the
wind on my bicycle. This feeling of despair and being held back can be translated into different levels in life, including the process of making art. “Searching” can be seen as a continuation of “Erasing Darkness”. Entering the field of the unknown, searching for something, without knowing what that something is. The person in the video is actually my father, and the location is the woods right behind the house he grew up in. I chose not to indicate these facts in the finished result, because I find the abstraction of the idea more satisfying. I do think though, that it was an interesting detail to dwell on in the process of making the piece. He is searching through his past, walking forward with his feet, but still searching for something he left behind. 3) måg: Erasing darkness - repetition and recollection have the same movement, although in opposite directions. For what is recollected has been, it is repeated backwards. Our desire towards repeating what we remember can be the act and will to live forward. Tell us more about this concept and how it relates to your wider practise. LBO: I am interested in repetition as a concept or as a method of investigation since it is a natural movement we deal with everyday, and somehow an obsessive part of our nature. Repetition is based on a constant conflict. On one side, you can see it as an endlessly predictable movement, a prison that you want to escape and on the
other hand a comfortable seductive ease, a state of numbness that feels safe. The duality of repetition indicates a certain struggle I can relate to and has already been repeated several times in my artistic research. Is the attempt to recreate a perfect repetition even possible? What I find interesting is the attempt we make of it. Recollecting is heading towards the past, and it turns backward. Repetition takes you forward and then recollects the starting point again and again and again. A movement always has a beginning and an end, but sometimes it is hard to tell exactly when it begins or ends. I always find video loops more interesting to work with than linear narratives. The concept of repetition relates to my wider practise in different levels. I deal with the movement of repetition in my creative process and also when working on the same idea in different mediums. When repeating the same intention with different tools something new appears within each attempt. 4) måg: What are you currently researching? LBO: The research I have done up to my latest work is ongoing; there are still a lot of issues I want to investigate. At the moment I am dealing with repetition as a phenomenon, and how I experience or respond to it through a phenomenological perspective. By that I refer to a subjective experience, perceiving external stimulus through senses. I mainly experiment with drawing and video.
/Ă˜rmen/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Notes on Resistance (Traces on paper; 22th of december) 2010 Performativ drawing 42cm x 59,4cm Erasing Darkness (wolwes) 2009 Graphite on paper 120m x150m Notes on Resistance (Black Circles) 2010 Ink on paper 42cm x 59,4cm Noticing Absence (Transition) 2011 Ice sculpture on MDF pedestal LINK: www.lenebaadsvig.com
ROGHIEH ASGARI TOrvUND by m책g
/TORVUND/ 1) måg: In a recent interview with Utrop TV you say that you often feel bored at exhibitions in Oslo, where you live. What makes the art boring and what is it lacking? RA: With regard to a work of art, I expect to experience something that will affect me and that I will not come out of the exhibition untouched. Good art makes you have more ideas, more reflections and more feelings afterwards, it is a kind of repercussion. A good film that has touched you; -you think about for a long time afterwards. Art has a function and it is to help or allow people to see what they would rather not see. Good art is like a fine wine, it will continue to ferment further in my head and it should be able to put tracks in my body as it will continue to appear as a reflection and a reference. If a work of art cannot capture ones attention and disappears after a few seconds, then it is dull and superficial. Art must be able to change something in our mind with its message. Although there are some good political works in Norway; most works tend to hang on to the trends and follow them until long after they are out of date. There is a recycling of the same art for a long time here. This is not just a method that is used in art; there is a culture for the same in other
Norwegian forms of communication, for example in the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation where many elements, both interviewees and sources are the same as they have been for almost fifty years. There is a clear sign that one do not dare go a step further to find new venues or to explore new sources, that one is afraid of change, new methods and ideas. Norwegian art is much about conceptual art, it was OK in its time, but it does not mean that one should stop the development as an independent minded intermediary in relation to one’s contemporaries. In Norway we ‘do not wish’ to follow the developments taking place outside the country and are stuck in a kind of introspective oddity. Where has the art gone and where are we now? This is not an interesting topic for a number of Norwegian artists. Having a strong personal reference, and asking the big questions about what happens in the actual world we live in, is almost a taboo area for some. One should not ask a question or raise opinion in any way; so it remains at a standstill. Hello - the world goes on! We cannot stand here and stomp the same site. 2) måg: In the interview, you also talk about the connection between women and the importance of this kinship and bond. You explore this in your work; ‘Room to Live’ (20022007), which was filmed both in Norway and in Iran. RA: I made the first film in Norway,
with Norwegian women in a swimming pool, in 2002. I felt a lot of closeness, community and intimacy. There was a sisterhood that I had missed. But I did not remember it; it was a recollection. I had already spent 17 years in foreign countries without understanding it. The women helped each other, they had a lot of physical pain related to rheumatism. There was no obstacle in displaying emotions within the community. They were free to show their pain, grief and joy, and all this reflected something in me, but I did not realise it until I went back to Iran. By chance I was at a ceremony where I met another women’s community. It was absurd that women dressed in hijabs were compared with women from Norway in bathing suits, but there was one common denominator and that was the community - both groups were naked, they were psychologically naked. There was permission for sorrow and pain. An interaction that created a community. Although I thought it seemed absurd to put them next to each other. The joint soundtrack is a song or a reading where you shout the name of god in a thousand different ways. There is something special when a group is formed in this way. This is a private ‘room’ - more private than this you do not find. 3) måg: Your background is journalism. What made you interested in journalism and how does this influence your work as an artist?
RA: I am a direct person. When I meet people on the street, I talk directly to them and am never disappointed with their response. I want to ask the bigger questions - I never treat a response as if it is of no concern. I feel maybe it is a talent of mine to communicate; I will permit myself to say that I have that talent. When I ask, I’m not just a subjective human being who asks with a camera; I’m as objective as possible. I am dedicated and I use myself. -Maybe that is why I want to explore other people too. Call me Socrates. Why? It seems like I’m trying to provoke with my questions, but I’m not, I’m looking for the truth. Socrates was bullied throughout his life and was sentenced to death. Because he often asked the direct questions that were not liked by the rulers. Then comes the journalistic method. It is often the case that the journalist is told by his editor: Remember to be subjective and that you should not be partisan... etc. But as a journalist, I failed in this. I could not be a good journalist; a good journalist working for CNN or the BBC follows the mandate they have; they work for their editors. I never worked for my editor - I have always worked for what concerned me. My curiosity never ends. I ask the man in the street about the meaning of the most important things in his life, and I get a response. I have developed a method of working that is mine. 4) måg: It is clear that much of your work has a political agenda rather than a conceptual one. How do you see your work fit into current European art trends? RA: I think it is very easy. It does not fit. There is no sense that I should fit into a trend with this or that. It is my expression, I am not a part of something recognisable. I am alone in what I do. I work full time with a mixed expression, and I’m actually a mixed person from before. I also expect that some will throw stones at me... Socrates! 5) måg: Please tell us about the recent performance ‘Catharsis’
(Katarsis) at Galleri BOA in Oslo. RA: It is always difficult to describe a performance in an interview. I always plan for a long time and what I do always involves complex and complicated actions that must be experienced live. I use video, objects and action where the audience is a active part in the work. Elisabeth Medbøe (an artist from Oslo) said about the performance: “It was powerful to see how Roghieh Asgari Torvund used herself and put herself in the right mood to bring out the strength in the performance. Participants were put into a situation of coercion, a form of deprivation of liberty, and thereby abuse, that they were not prepared for. A documentary video from the Shia Muslim ritual of Ashura was shown in full size on an entire wall depicting people who whipped themselves. Beyond the religious-historical memory, this appeared as a collective contemporary catharsis from pain, daily harassment and coercion. There is both voluntary and involuntary interaction between the performance artist and audience, so the strength of the performance will never be the same twice, but it does raise a number of existential and ethical questions.” 6) måg: Much of your work is observation-based, often without any direction as to how we, the audience, should read it. How do these
observations sit with your more political and narrative works where you directly challenge and tell a story? RA: My art is about people, and it derives from my experiences, from what I’ve seen, and what I see now. OK, I have something that exists in my body and is stored in my head. And what I observe is not just by coincidence. Coincidence happens though, but it is characterised by the references I have and what I’m concerned with, whether that happens to be my mother, the woman on the street, a man in Australia or street children on the Metro in Paris. 7) måg: Travel is evidently important to how you create your work. Is travel in any way connected to your interest in exploring issues that may be relative across national barriers? RA: I want to be inspired by people, and I find it inspiring to see the common denominators between people; it is fascinating. I cannot find much difference between the man I met in the bazaar in Tehran, who sat on a corner selling small pocket mirrors, and street vendor in London. Perhaps that is what makes me want to find out more about other people and their stories. 8) måg: This summer you will be spending some time in Berlin making new work. Please tell us about this.
RA: Last time I lived in Berlin, I discovered that I knew several of the languages spoken in the different immigrant groups in the city. I found this interesting to explore. There are many complex groups and social structures within the youth culture in Berlin. This is something that I want to research and I want to find situations in which to create new works.
/TORVUND/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Room to live 2007 Video 13m Room to live 2007 Video 13m Room to live 2007 Video 13m The Birdgirl 2007 Video 9m 20s Till the whistle blows 2009 Video 2m 23s LINK: www.roghiehasgari.net
STÅLSPETS by måg
/STÅLSPETS/ 1) måg: In your artist statement you have written: “When I work I try to find space for doubt and insecurity.” Please tell us how this process is developed and how you search for these emotions through your work. LS: It is not so much a process as a way of thinking, a positioning of myself and the themes that I investigate in my practice. Artists have the privilege of affording grey zones and contradictions in their treatment of complicated questions. Being able to admit uncertainty is rare in today’s society and I think that it is important that there are spaces where doubt and uncertainty are accepted. Politicians cannot afford this, neither can corporations; more or less anyone who tries to make short term change or sell something has to simplify and make a clear statement as to what they want. Complicated questions do not usually have simple answers. -Life is full of paradoxes. I work with narrative art, often using words together with images. My aim is to give the viewer something to think about. To leave room for alternate meanings - that there is more than one perspective, more than one true image of reality. Art making is a lot about re-evaluating what you see. Trying to see things for the first time, in a new way. A picture contains not only more than a thousand words, but more than a thousand images/viewpoints.
2) måg: One senses a clear conceptual link to the narrative and the use of the material in your work. Do you believe that the understanding of the materials one is working with impacts the conveyance of concept? LS: I do not think of concept as something pristine and immaterial that becomes corrupted, warped or distorted by artistic technique. The material is part of the concept. I like the word idea better than concept because the word idea suggests a thought process rather than a statement and art production is like thinking with your hands. To me, the pen works as an extension of my eyes and arms and I think of the video camera in the same way. I come up with ideas for work quite intuitively. I make a lot of notes. These notes are based on observations that I make, of word games, things I have seen or heard, drawings or photos, quotations that I like, etc. I look at these notes, organise them, and try to find meaning. I also often start my working process with the naïve desire to create work. I buy materials and I start - not everything is planned. For me it is crucial to work with a variety of techniques. There is also an ongoing dialogue between the works. I position them against each other. The starting point is often fictional texts that I have written to be part of the work, though sometimes I start with just an image too and the text comes later.
3) måg: ‘Nudisterna /The Nudists’ (2010) is a series of drawings (pencil on paper) depicting naked people performing acrobatics in the woods; their faces are expressionless and cold, it depicts a humoristic sadness and awkwardness. What is the story behind this work? LS: I saw a documentary about the nudist movement in Sweden in the 1920s and was inspired by that. The nudist movement believed that doing sports outdoors without any clothes was the key to staying young and healthy. At that point in time there was also an utopian belief in progress, in the future, when everything would be different; better. The people in the documentary struck me as vulnerable yet not victimised. They wanted to be as ‘natural’ as possible. However what becomes clear when you look at this subculture is that it is first and foremost nothing that has anything to do with being natural. It is a group of people engaging in a strong cultural context. To me it seems like they were trying to recapture some lost innocence; a Garden of Eden. In discussions about gender-issues people tend to use shaky arguments about what men and women were like in the Stone Age or point to minor physical differences to make up for social and economic inequalities. The idea of finding out what the human body is actually capable of, is more interesting. To me the nudists seemed at least to challenge their contemporaries’ visions of
possible lifestyles and that is always a good thing. 4) måg: You often refer to nature and the memories of nature in your work and you describe how nature becomes part of your physicality. At the same time, you explore how nature can exemplify or contradict emotions through works such as ‘Mindscape’ and ‘Olika Möjligheter/ Different Possibilities’. Do you tap into memories of nature or do you investigate nature through its current states? LS: I am more interested in the human condition, a sense of being-in-the-world, than in nature itself. “Different Possibilities” deals with time and unpredictable change more than nature. “Mindscape” is a picture of what wilderedness could look like. In the video work “Follow You into the Dark” the surroundings become part of a journey through a mountain but more importantly into sub consciousness. Places and spaces are used as metaphors, as imagery more than scenery. Any interest in nature is really an interest in the cultural idea of nature as an otherness more than nature itself. 5) måg: There is satire and humour to your work, often rooted in contrasting differences. Where do you take inspiration from? LS: I get ideas for my work by observing and listening to my surroundings, trying to capture small absurd stories about everyday life. The little shortcomings and
misunderstandings in everyday life. Lately I have been interested in describing the untold stories that exist around us all the time. What people do not say to each other but communicate with their body language all the same. What I find touching and treat lovingly in my work often tends to become humorous to the viewer, although I never try to be funny when I work. I can see that my work has these humoristic qualities but it is never anything I aim for. In my working process I try to surprise myself. I do not like predictable art or when you know all too well where a story is going beforehand. If I refer to something well known I want to give it an unexpected twist that makes the viewer see it in a different light. Humour is more a state of mind than a theme. 6) måg: Your recent video work ‘Follow you into the dark’ (2010), takes us on a journey through a tunnel that is under construction. How does it communicate with the issues and concerns explored in your paintings? LS: “Follow you into the dark” is a text-based video with a narrator that takes the viewer on a journey into a tunnel. I see the tunnel as a clichéd image of life and death at the same time, in that it can symbolise different states of consciousness such as sleep or wakefulness. The video starts with a narrator telling the viewer to relax, to become heavy, to go to sleep while entering a dark tunnel. Once in the dark, the viewer is taken through several dream
scenarios before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and coming out on the other side of the mountain. “Follow you into the dark” and the paintings you refer to were made to be shown together and I worked on the video at the same time that I made the paintings. The idea was for them to work independently as separate pieces but I also want them to add something to each other thematically. They belong to the same fictional geography.
/STÅLSPETS/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Mindscape (Detail) 2010 Oil on canvas 70x100cm Wanderer (Detail) 2010 oil on canvas 70x100cm Follow you into the dark (Detail) 2010 7 min hd-video The Nudists pencil on paper 70x100 What you don’t know (Detail) 2010 oil and acrylic on canvas 60x60 cm Hidingplace 2010 oil and acrylic on canvas 60x60 cm LINK: www.lisastalspets.com
THE ABSTR ACTION OF BARRY LYN DON ARE BLYTT
3ยบ Separ - Ti
Of ration ime
How can we write about Time? H about it? Perhaps we can only e space opened up by conversat a glimpse of it by sitting around t us leaning forward into the spac We take time to be together. Tog the time we are given into tiny c between ourselves. I have a not china cups of coffee. Together, w that are handed to us. We stretc and tear into moments. And as w moments, handling them and ho ask how they each behave and might be made of. We pass the moments around, fe wondering what they will taste li one at a time.
How can we ever even think ever approach it through the tion. Perhaps we can only catch this small table, with the ten of ce between ourselves. gether, our voices pick apart chunks, and we share it out tebook. Some of you have we pull at the pieces of time ch the pieces out until they pop we touch these separate olding them up to the light, we d what they do and what they
eeling their textures, and ike. We will share them with you,
The First Moment (histories, and t The first moment is sandy coloure sedimentary rock. As you pass it hands dislodges tiny flakes from long does it take for dust to accu Our histories are linear, but they c perspective, and many stories a Our histories are linear (are they? Events as yet in the future may re Two kinds of nostalgia: one is refl non monumental; the other is re
The Second Moment (the Now, a The second moment is pale and reflecting the heat from our han We are present. We are making work in the mom that we occupy and take respon The work we make now exists in We are within our time and we c It is subsuming. And yet it is not regular. The time and now slowly (where does it g We grow our beards and shave smooth skin of our chins with our
The Third Moment (that some thi pior to others coming to pass). The third moment is smooth, as t has been cast from a mould and a thin and ineffectual faรงade. I find it difficult to tell time apart Time is the process by which thin Narrative is the way we see or te one after the other. Things that have happened (or m past can be re-presented or re-im The narrative has curves and loo gets ahead of itself. Parts of it are and parts of it have never been Sometimes we feel that that whi becomes recognised as failure.
the past). ed and dry, stratified like to me, the pressure of our its surface and I wonder, how umulate? come from a single are written out, or unrecorded. ?) but they may not be fixed. ewrite our history of Now. flective, non time-specific, and estorative, and may start wars.
and where we might be). d warm, nds.
ment of time nsibility for. time, and cannot do otherwise. cannot see past it, or out of it.
e we are in goes now quickly, go?). them off again, feeling the r fingers.
ings must happen
though concrete d then clad with
from narrative. ngs happen one after another. ell these things,
merely been thought) in the magined in the present. ops and repetitions but it never e invented, seen. ich was utopian, quickly
The Fourth Moment (dreamtime The fourth moment is many colo and we cannot agree on its sha How does time feel when you th Dreaming removes our percept What does it do to our dreamtim The dreamtime of the world is th the moment before time, when to happen in their proper order, was not located before the pre This is wild time, un-owned and u Itâ€™s too mysterious for me. Then someone says â€˜You know, before twelve noon,â€™ and every
The Fifth Moment (the collage o The fifth moment is growing and There is something vulnerable a You tell me that the fort was her Together we build a collage of t contested traces of things that h in order to try and understand. Taxonomy melts as narrative loo Time exerts itself in all its subjecti help but look for motive, we kno may not always be present. We tell stories through the woun
The Sixth Moment (entropy) The sixth moment is infinitely frag It falls apart even as I pass it to y I try to rescue it, pressing its sides its former shape, but I know that This moment has no prescribed A seam of unpredictability runs it cannot help but erode, decay To disintegrate over time is this m I know that there is some small p interrupt the natural order, and I do not want this moment to en its passing.
e). oured, ape. hink about a dream? tual inhibitions. me? he moment before all things, n things had not yet begun , when the past esent. un-broken to harness.
John Cage never got up ybody laughs.
of taxonomies) d still malleable. about its unexpected youth. re before it was built. time, drawing together the have happened,
oms. ivity and, though we cannot ow at heart that conclusions
nds we find inscribed.
gile. you, who are sitting next to me. s together in order to preserve t my efforts are hopeless. ending. through it so that y, and fall apart. momentâ€™s normative state. perversity in my efforts to yet I cannot help myself. nd. I find it beautiful, and I regret
The Seventh Moment (the time beating, breathing, bleeding, b The seventh moment is a small t This is the moment of timeâ€™s cyc decaying and growing again, o and weaker, or the stars rotating heavens. This is the moment that authors our births, and our deaths. It is a moment of marking time t the shedding of our skins and th Every month we bleed. We have our body time and we blood in our ears, like the way we (hope to) see o our children grow up. As we pass this moment back a we realise that all other momen
The Eighth Moment (the clock). The eighth moment has some p We touch it and it is easily mark and we realise that we can ma constructing this moment into a We draw divisions on its surface and we decide on how long ea The moment becomes, in our h a clock, a calendar, a standard It is regular and we use it as a g Its rhythmic sounds are reassurin use it as a lens through which to and to arbitrate their subjectivit We find this comforting, as we re can make all the others seem m
We turn to one another and rela
We know now that the meeting
And I have to go soon, as I have
of bodies, birthing). torso, soft and wriggling. cle, of things growing and of our limbs growing stronger g in the planetarium of the everything:
through he meter of our heart beats.
e know it like the pulsing of
our parents age and
and forth, feeling its weight, nts seem to stem from it.
. parts that need fixing. ked, ake it ourselves, a tool that may be useful. e ach should last. hands, d. guide. ng, and we realise that we can o pass all others moments, ty. ealise that this one moment more manageable.
g is almost over.
e a train to catch.
We gather the moments of time fragments back towards one an confusing whole. And then we l hole that we have made. And perhaps we are none the w something very subtle that we h cannot quite grasp yet. We will later.
And all at once we can hardly s around us.
We share our time. But we can n is the same as yours. It probably that matter?
How can you write about time? canâ€™t. But you can always spec
e together, and we bring the nother to make a messy and look at the messy and confusing
wiser. Or perhaps there is have learned, but which we think it over. It will come to us,
see the time at all, and it is all
never be sure whether my time y isnâ€™t the same at all. But does
? I donâ€™t know. Perhaps you culate.
This essay was commissioned as part of 3° of Separation, a project conceived and organised by artists Jo Coupe and Catherine Bertola. For more information about the project and all the artists involved, go to www.3degreesofseparation.co.uk Ruth Barker is a contributing editor to måg and a Glasgow-based artist originally from Leeds, in the North of England. She completed a first class BA (Hons) in Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art in 2001, and an MFA (Master of Fine Art) at GSA in 2004. She will begin a practice based PhD at Newcastle University in Autumn 2011. From a background in site and context specific practice, Barker’s most recent work has been primarily text and performance based. She produces work for galleries as well as for more public locations and sees a balance between the permanent public commissions she’s worked on (often civic memorials), and her essentially ephemeral, transient performative work. Recent and current projects include performance commissions for Segedunum Museum, Wallsend; ReMap festival, Athens; the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies, Newcastle; Machon Hamayim Gallery, Tel Aviv; and the Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Art. In 2008 Barker designed the first permanent British war memorial to commemorate non-combatants killed in conflict. The Choir Loft is a grade II listed monument, and is sited beside the Cenotaph in Blackpool, UK. LINK: www.ruthbarker.com
mag KAREN NIKGOL STEFAN SCHRÖDER PER KRISTIAN NYGAARD VICTOR MUTELEKESHA TOR MAGNUS LUNDEBY AJLA R STEINVAAG KJELL TORRISET
issue four/ 2011 published by nabroad www.maagmag.com
KAI-OI JAY YUNG
/YUNG/ Kai-Oi Jay Yung graduated with BA(Hons) Fine Art from University of Dundee. Prior, she held a London technology public relations career, clients included Microsoft, Sony.
The Lines, Tate and Interlace, Nottingham Art Gallery. Yung is a published critical writer, lecturer and ACE freelance artist assessor. Fairs include Scope NY and Miami, collections include Asia Art Archive. Forthcoming includes ACE funded Brazil/Belize research.
Solos include: Interval; A Narrative Psychosis, Cornerhouse and RIBA funded Paradise Stories. Group shows: Image Wars, Abrons Arts Centre, NYC, Tarot de Marseille, La Friche La Belle De Mai, France, Sock Exchange, FACT, Far West, Arnolfini, Nightcomers, Istanbul Biennial, Kopas Experimental, Seoul and Wormhole Salon, Whitechapel Gallery. Residencies include: Happy Stacking, China with Grizedale Arts & Vitamin Creative Space, Libya Exchange with British Council, Cove Park and Villa Waldberta, Munich. Curatorial projects include Everbloom; Pocket City Pollination with Eyebeam, plus Following Bauhaus with Artur Zmijewski, Yung devises and leads workshop projects including Zaha Hadid Architects, MIF, Art of Social Engagement, Contemporary Chinese Art & Globalisation and Treasures, Tate Liverpool. Awards include: PAD, Chinese Arts Centre and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Guardian/Courvoisier Future 500 and British Councilâ€™s National Charter TN2020. Talks include Living Between
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE The End Is Nigh 2006 Hand drawn, painted, collage 36cmx45cm Heal Land 2007 Hand drawn, painting, collage 30.5cmx43cm Oh! 2007 Acrylic painting 42cmx59.5cm Everyone Welcome 2007 Hand drawn, painting, collage 30.5cmx44cm We More Than You 2006 Hand drawn, painting, collage 41cmx59cm LINKS: http://www.jay-yung.com http://jayyung.wordpress.com http://blip.tv/kaioi-jay-yung
/LETTERS/ Space 4235 Ronny Faber Dahl
In august 2010 I went to TromsĂ¸, where I rented a space while studying for a year at the university, and had some cups of coffee with my friend Sigurd Gurvin. We ended up creating a gallery, 4235, that was supposed to flow as it pleased. Artists got the key; they proposed a project and got to use the gallery for an exhibition. We had the â€˜birthâ€™ opening with an existential performance by Marie Askeland. During this time, Sigurd became father to a little boy and I was living in the gallery, organising, and bathing in a mason concreteblending bowl. Shit conditions for a while, but the idea was to let something take form out of nothing. Chaotic as hell, and it still is, but I believe that creativity and freedom are naturally connected to a hellish chaos. And from then until now, the participants of 4235 have been a good blend of artists working with all kinds of projects. Many of the exhibitions and events have been audio-visual project based work. We also wanted 4235 to have a unique poetic approach to projects, without much reference to academic texts and discourse. In the end we plan to have a gallery that can function by itself, without any economical challenges. I guess we want to create our own highly private and corrupt environment without any public interest at all. The only public interest is the people coming to the events and interacting with the programme. For now, this seems to be a really good way to do it, as we do not stay at one place too long. And as for art as objects for sale, this aspect has totally vanished as the artists have nothing to sell, while the visitors are usually broke but the best people to
drink with. There is a creativity that can spontaneously happen and vanish at the same time. Today, we are in Italy, where we have hooked up with self-run artists in the north Riviera, at SP333, a farmhouse/ gallery for performance art. I and my beloved Simona Barbera struggled for a while to get an agreement to rent a gallery in downtown Genoa, a medieval coastal city in north-west Italy. The Art Academy of Genoa will be closely linked to the gallery as I am studying for my Bachelor’s degree here, and it will be a place that students can use for projects. We looked for a space in a little town with a bay where the gallery could be five metres from the beach, but that didn’t work out. It is hard to be too far away from the city, and as for me, I do not believe one can have autonomy anywhere ‘outside’ today. If autonomy is to be there it has to happen by itself. Never ask for it, just take it and do it. And at this date we have the new 4235 up and running - it is in an old, noble building with the smell of the 16th century that’s been turned into rented studios and apartments. The house in Tromsø was a old town shop come house, pretty western looking. The new space feels more decadent and darker. As for the 4235 name, it is not a site-specific project, but a project of nomadic nature, like a wheel, and the name may incorporate heavy pagan number references for a pentagram, who knows? What I know is that it has a syndical project form, with all the artists interacting to determine its form and its dis-formalities. This involves a general need to self-organize
and source art spaces for art today, if it is to stay 100% self-run, not just 75%. To a large extent, what an artist does is exhibit, so a gallery is what we wanted. We are partly inspired by anthropology and theory writers - Pierre Clastres, Susan Sontag, Fiona Bowie - and ‘sofa-anarchists’ like Hakim Bay, with his theories of TAZ (temporary autonomous zones). The space may at times feel like a family dinner party, or a Sufi gathering. Not a hypothetical space, but an existing physical and practical art space with its own rules. The main rule is that it is an art space completely run by artists, and in theory it resonates with anarchism as a work space without any relation to production or leaders. I have mentioned a space for a new ‘Punk spirit’ before, but I guess if one look for that spirit and demand it, it will just die out. This is not a fucking bungalow with free alcohol, and to not relate to anything but ourselves would be a failure. I am also interested in ritual anthropology, where the body is a centre for power and gestures in society, where our daily or more special doings centre around it. In this project we want to self-empower the body, and let it go, as spaces that have too many interests are disempowering. With regard to creating and experiencing, an exhibition can resonate with ritualistic practice. 4235 has no special political ideas at all, rather creativity, cooperation and emotions linked to ideas. When it comes to rituals, it always goes two ways - that some rituals can transcend the body and others can disempower. Complexity arises depending on whether one experiences different rituals as liberating or not. People are different, with different stories. 4235 is an alter-
native, and we invite interested artists to propose future projects. CONTACT: email@example.com LINK: www.space4235.com IMAGE: 4235 Genova and Tromsø by Ronny Faber Dahl
Elise Boularan, (Detail) Lapsus Prompta #8, 2008. 60x60, signed limited editions. www.eliseboularan.com
30.11.11 måg issue SIX:
Flávia Müller Medeiros KNUT HENRIK HENRIKSEN SASHA HUBER MAX HATTLER HC GILJE TOR NAVJORD YTTER ELISE BOULARAN