KNUT HENRIK HENRIKSEN
issue six/ 2011 published by nabroad www.maagmag.com
SASHA HUBER LELLO//ARNELL HC GILJE SVEIN FLYGARI JOHANSEN FLÁVIA MÜLLER MEDEIROS YTTER TOR NAVJORD TROND NICHOLAS PERRY
/ :m책g is mobile: now available on windows/android iphone/ipad /
/editor/ We’re back, releasing måg issue six; exclusively for web and mobile. Now you can read måg on the go through our (beta) mobile reader developed by Virtual Portfolio. måg has always been an artist produced and free publication and will continue to be free and as we see each issue gain an ever-increasing readership internationally; our work has not been in vain. For this issue we have an exceptional list of artists, many of whom have developed sound conceptual practises and are exhibiting internationally in highly acclaimed institutions. In our attempt to give our readers a different look at the artist and his/her work, - we hope the texts will introduce something new and revealing about them and their work and processes. Lisa Panting, curator and co-director of Hollybush Gardens in London speaks with the Berlin-based artist Knut Henrik Henriksen. Henriksen talks about his recent installation at Hollybush Gardens’ as well as his relationship with architecture and the materials he is using within his work; ‘I try to organise the material instead of giving shape to it. I like the honest approach. I like to think of all the decisions that go into the production of any material, the whole cycle – the labour and transport. I try to reorganise this and integrate this into my work. I like to try to create sculptures
with maximum effect and minimal effort/energy.’ Beaconsfield’s director Naomi Siderfin writes about Svein Flygari Johansen’s solo show at the London gallery. The exhibition is a poetic contemplation on issues relating to current events as well as historic significances. It is Johansen’s first solo show in the UK and it certainly displays an artist whose body of work is fundamental and highly significant to the Norwegian contemporary art scene. Siderfin writes:
‘The work links themes of indigenous culture with capitalist meltdown and patriotism with global politics: subjects that, now, even affect one of the most independent oil-rich countries in the world and which undoubtedly resonate in an international arena.’
The Bergen-based artist collective YTTER, consisting of four artists have an outspoken ambition that the language around art also should be defined by artists, -as an important supplement to the language held by historians and theorists. YTTER writes about their recent participation in ART IST KUKU NU UT. We are also very proud indeed, to present to you a sound art release: a limited-edition of 50 sound art works by FM/AM. ‘Entry Point’ is available on pre-order at www.nabroad.org -A production of noise and beauty; an international project supported by nabroad and produced in collaboration with FM/AM for the exclusive release through NABROAD. This sound release is followed by an essay by Jordi Carmona Hurtado. Finally, it is with great pleasure that we can announce the performance artist Agnes Nedregård as our guest editor for måg issue seven (out 29. February 2012). Agnes has hand- picked artists for the issue, artists who work in the field of performance art- many of whom are an inspiration to her own practise. So, welcome to måg issue six and welcome to all you iPhone, iPad and Android users, now you can read us wherever you are. Thank you for subscribing to måg magazine!
AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM is editor of måg and director of NABROAD www.nabroad.org
6 COVER PHOTO KNUT HENRIK HENRIKSEN HOLLYBUSH GARDENS
MAGAZINE DESIGN BY NABROAD & Rodney Point © 2011 www.nabroad.org www.rodneypoint.com PUBLISHER: NABROAD EDITOR: AUDHILD DAHLSTRØM CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: PAVLA ALCHIN MARIANNE MORILD RUTH BARKER JASMINA BOSNJAK LISA STÅLSPETS SUB EDITORS: LYNDON RILEY LILLIAN UTNE SKJŒVELAND 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
GALLERY 140 ELISE BOULARAN 146 JANE SVERDRUPSEN
FEATURES 26 KNUT HENRIK HENRIKSEN / Lisa Panting 40 LELLO//ARNELL / måg 58 HC GILJE / måg 78 SASHA HUBER / måg 92 TROND NICHOLAS PERRY / Lisa Stålspets 106 FLÁVIA MÜLLER MEDEIROS / måg & Catherine Hemelryk
text 3 Editor / Audhild Dahlstrøm 8 AM I MAKING UP WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? / Naomi Siderfin 18 ENTRY POINT & TAHIR TAHIR TAHIR TAHIR TAHIR / Jordi Carmona Hurtado 120 ART IST KUKU NU UT / Ytter
Am I ma wh really ha
SVEIN FLYGA 11 November – BEACONSFIE by Naomi S
aking up hat appened?
ARI JOHANSEN â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 12 February ELD,London by Siderfin
/JOHANSEN/ Exhibiting for the first time in the UK, Svein Flygari Johansen, an artist with considerable influence in Norway, might not have surfaced in London for some time longer, since his international projects have taken him East rather than West, had we not had the good fortune to engage with him more than thirteen years ago. The ambitious and provocative work does not easily lend itself to the market (although it features in a number of national collections) and there are few commercial galleries in Norway. To further obscure him, there is little to be found of Flygari Johansen’s work on the web and what is still available (of considerable press attention) is to be found in national press rather than international art magazines. Online conversion of these articles from Norwegian into English is so crude, that the reader becomes acutely aware of just how much must be lost in translation – particularly frustrating in the case of work that is not easily documented and conceived to come alive in the mind, in the moment. The work links themes of indigenous culture with capitalist meltdown and patriotism with global politics: subjects that, now, even affect one of the most independent, oil-rich countries in the world and which undoubtedly resonate in an international arena. Flygari Johansen is based in Oslo for most of the year actively engaged in the
discourse of contemporary art. He was a founder member of the artist-run Galleri Struts, Oslo and curator of Zoolounge, Oslo during the 90s and teaches in a number of art schools. As part of his London project, Flygari has invited former students Frode Halvorsen and Jorid Levke Eide to make new work for Beaconsfield’s ongoing FlatScreen programme.
The work links themes of indigenous culture with capitalist meltdown and patriotism with global politics: subjects that, now, even affect one of the most independent oil-rich countries in the world and which undoubtedly resonate in an international arena.
It was as a curator that he first engaged with Beaconsfield in 1998 (1). The long association has enabled us to co-produce this new commission and to rework a number of earlier works for London in the context of today’s climate of global recession and trend for adopting terrorist tactics as a form of personal catharsis. Flygari Johansen is a landscape artist whose fundamental identification with nature is at the core of his work. At heart a creature of the forest and fjord, he spends the summer months high up inside the Arctic circle, wild salmon fishing on the river near which he grew up in the northernmost city in the world – Alta. His relationship with the river was forged as a boy campaigning against a power station. The local Alta-Kautokeino waterway was the site of the only instance of civil unrest in Norway’s recent history: a political controversy that came to a head in 1980. Centred around Sami land rights and the conservation of one of the largest freshwater fish reserves in the world, this clash with the Norwegian government over the building of a huge dam attracted international support. The dispute not only had a huge impact on the national psyche but specifically shaped Flygari Johansen’s interests. Like his hero, the 19th century painter Caspar David Friedrich, Flygari Johansen reflects upon the impact of civilisation on nature, but asks how do we understand nature and what do we do in its name? Linked to these questions, disjunctions between ancient and contemporary cultural identities have been a
recurring focus and several earlier pieces on the theme have been recreated for this exhibition. The language of the work connects imagery from the organic world with high technology, fusing water, sticks and stones, Ammonium Sulphate and bacteria with sophisticated computer programming. Code for all Flygari Johansen’s digital works is written by Jonny Bradley with whom he has collaborated since 2001. In the Upper Gallery, a burnt-out camp-fire is surrounded by the sounds of surface and underwater field recordings from the River Alta, Call of the Wild (London), 2011. Sonic depth is controlled by a live, digital feed from the London Stock Exchange. The artist describes an earlier version (Call of the Wild, 2001) as his ‘breakthrough piece’. Now owned by Samiske Samlinger, the organic elements of this version were finished in chrome. The artist speaks of coming from a place where there was no art and where expression came through politics and an oral tradition repeated around fires - and the campfire is a big theme – the encapsulation of a beautiful memory from childhood given a contemporary form, shaped by the expediency of capital. Water, carrying political themes, continues as a motif running through his artworks which finds another form in this exhibition Drawing Russian Rivers, 2005, an aerial video tracing waterways in a circle from a passenger plane. The circle described by the fire-stones echoes the porthole window in the Upper Gallery and is re-drawn on the back wall by Måne (Moon),
Beneath the railway line, the new commission utilises the special sonic feature of the Arch space – the overhead train traffic to and from Waterloo station. The almost constant vibrations from the passing trains rattle a table in the gallery space below, on which sits a glass of milk. The glass is precarious but never quite falls from the table to smash on the concrete floor .
2011 a video projection derived from the early silent movie Laila (2). Picking up this subject The Fence is a couple of framed digital prints documenting the artist’s replacement of a traditional Sami reindeer fence in the Northern territory with an industrial fence. This was an action taken in the name of art, with a real-life outcome that effectively converted ‘landscape’ to ‘territory’.The images were originally presented as part of a larger work in 2007, where the pieces of the old gate were used sculpturally to construct the word Schizotopia – the title of the piece. This work points to a bitter battle raging in the Northern border regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia over the privatisation of what has been common land for thousands of years. Notions of identity crop up again in the bacterial work set in Agar lab gel. The words We are growing up as patriots are written with the artist’s saliva and emerge on the picture plane over the course of the exhibition as the bacterial culture develops. A new piece conceived for this exhibition, Malevich Circle, 2011, develops in the same way and reinforces the circular theme, completed by an oil drum linked to Snowman, 2003 The melting, digital Snowman, a reminder of decimated ice caps, is an iconic piece that continues to tour internationally. The snowman’s rise and fall corresponds to the fluctuating price of crude oil, fed in real-time from Reuters’ oil sales service and here, reinforced by the reek of used motor oil. Beneath the railway line, the new commission utilises the
/JOHANSEN/ special sonic feature of the Arch space – the overhead train traffic to and from Waterloo station. The vibrations from the passing trains rattle a table in the gallery space below, on which sits a glass of milk. The glass is precarious but never quite falls from the table to smash on the concrete floor (3). To reach the table, the visitor must negotiate a limestone promontory. The earthwork recalls a cinematic landscape (4) and glistens with crystals of Ammonium Sulphate – a chemical used as an industrial fertilizer and a close relation of the potentially lethal Ammonium Nitrate, also used as a soil nutrient and sometimes abused as an explosive (5). In the foyer of the Arch a young girl stares at a glass on a table, compelling the vessel to move along a table until if falls over the edge… (6). Moving into the space, the visitor is confronted with a suspended pool of Thames water, reflecting on the floor the image of a swimming trout which, as the visitor advances, recedes. When the human is still, so too is the fish. Circumnavigating the pool, the earthwork is revealed and beyond, the vibrating table where the glass turns up in real time. Am I making up what really happened? has a cinematic drive, moving the viewer is through various time-spaces in rapid succession to raise awareness of temporality and
survival. The trout in its pool of water offers a real time encounter with nature, a distraction from the anxiety of the paranormal destruction witnessed a moment earlier. The pool simultaneously conceals the other constituents of the installation: the fertiliser sculpture (embodying an illusion) and an unexploded bomb – juddering in the present in response to the London train timetable. Landscape, politics, circles – new forms arise but old themes endure, worked and reworked – enhanced by acceptable levels of confabulation. The retrospective works in this exhibition are illuminated by the new commission, where an oblique reference to the 22/7 Oslo bomber, nationalist vigilante Anders Brevik, brings the artist’s preoccupations full circle. What starts as a passionate local interest in the principle of land rights – issues of ethnicity and territory in one of the wildest parts of the world – fans out to a more contemplative vision of identity and landscape: the self-interest of any single ethnic group will self-evidently lead to the edge of the table…
Am I making up what really happened? has a cinematic drive, moving the viewer is through various time-spaces in rapid succession to raise awareness of temporality and survival. The trout in its pool of water offers a real time encounter with nature, a distraction from the anxiety of the paranormal destruction witnessed a moment earlier.
NOTES: Naomi Siderfin studied at Newcastle University from 1981-85 and at the Royal Academy Schools, London from 1987-90. She lives and works in London. Naomi Siderfin is the director of BEACONSFIELD, London. http://beaconsfield.ltd.uk This is the third in the Beaconsfield series Phase, which turns the spotlight on mid-career artists with whom the organisation has a significant relationship. All Photos: Beaconsfield & Svein Flygari Johansen 1. In 1998 the curatorial trio Offside (SFJ with Per Gunner Tverbak and Christel Sverre) approached Beaconsfield to co-curate British Links, a season of time-based art for Oslo’s Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter. (Bruce Gilchrist , Rona Lee, Hayley Newman, Bob and Roberta Smith, Geir Tor Home etc....) indirectly leading to Flygari Johansen’s creative parternship with Jonny Bradley. SFJ went on to commission Beaconsfield Artworks for the Stavanger Speculum (Earthshake, 2000) and UKS Bienniele (Element, 2001, Alta Museum) 2. George Schnéevoigt, Laila, 1929: the story of a girl torn between Norwegian and Sami cultures. 3.Robotics by David Buckley 4.“the Zone” as representing ‘life’ in soviet film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, 1979: a story of the human struggle for spirituality 5.film clip from Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979 6.Ammonium Nitrate is banned in London by MI5 and may not be sold in to farmers in Northern Ireland. Ammonium Sulphate is also banned in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ammonium Nitrate is believed to have been used by Anders Breivik in the recent car bomb targeting government buildings in Oslo.
a sound ar Proudly- we present to you, a limited-edition of 50 sound art works by FM/AM. ‘Entry Point’ is available on pre-order www.nabroad.org/editions.html A production of noise and beauty; an international project supported by NABROAD and produced in collaboration with FM/AM for the exclusive release through NABROAD. Essay by Jordi Carmona Hurtado
SOUND Forever present, a firm foundation. Noise traffics the urban landscape in unison with our inmost filth and desires- in the social contexts of family, workplace, spare time and public space- in the density of images manufactured and regulated by consumerism, economy, globalization, media, popular culture, politics, legislation and education. Noise is nausea reflected. It is the vehicle in fracturing reality towards a reconcilement with the factual nature of social and political conditions. A thousand volcanoes rising up! (by FM/AM)
FM/AM is a musical and artistic project dedicated to sound, resistance and publishing in the public sphere. FM/AM utilises a selection of radios and the frequency register between accessible stations to summon a sonic meltdown of harsh noise, drones, black ambient, free impro and devotional music. Performances are improvised within predefined strategies into site-specific compositions of 15 to 40 minutes. All sound derives from the static of the radios. No additional amplification is used. The FM/AM rig consists today of 104 units. FM/AM activities include concerts, sound performance and publication of own and others works. FM/AM is artist Tor Navjord, born 1974 Melbu, Norway. Engaged in the non-profit initiatives 68/14 and A Temporary Collective Effort (ATCE), member of noise outfit Nordrljos. Navjord works in: 2D, 3D, sound, text, performance, research, social engineering projects and community building. Recent FM/AM performances: Il Dukuna (Genoa, Italy), Entrée (Bergen, Norway), Norwegian Telecom Museum (Oslo, Norway), Kurant (Tromsø, Norway), Insomnia Festival (Tromsø, Norway), Collaborations: Svulst (Taakeferd), Vebjørn Guttormsgaard Møllberg (Haust, White Juice), Sindre Foss Skancke (Utarm, Stabwound Empire), Bjørn Thevik, Thought Noáidi (Nordrljos). Discography: FM/AM Channel series volume I (2010) FM/AM Channel series volume II (2010) FM/AM Entry point (co-prod with Nabroad 2012) FM/AM Live archive volume I (coming 2012) LINK: http://tornavjord.tumblr.com
We have some information. Some information about THAT. WHAT ? THAT.
TAHIR TAHIR TAHIR TAHIr TAHIR
So the fact is, the fact is THAT, that that and that. THAT restarts. From la Tunisie à l’Égypte, de la Grèce to Spain, from Israel to United States. It’s the world history wich starts again. I don’t know if we can start again, yes I know it’s complicated, but we have time to start again, I don’t know if we can start. From West to East, from South to North, from East to West, from North to South, from West to North, from East to South. THAT, that means, that means what ? What does it mean what ? It means that it means that, it means. DMCRCY + RVLTN. Athens + Paris. Moskow, etc. It means it means it means. Endurance. Action. HELAS. Hélas. HELL AS. Woeful. Athens. Madrid. Paris ? Berlin ? À Paris, un beau jour... Londre, Londres, London. Banlieu. Ban. Lieu. Paris. London. Berlin ? Burning cars, burning bus, burning commercial centers. Valencia. Everything is fireworks. Everything starts with Fireworks. Mallarmé. Machado. Capitalism wants no problems for the rich. À bas le vieux monde! He is, he will be, he has been always OLD. Et même les vieux le savent, even old people know that. THAT. Tahir. However, in fact. But Action introduces Problem. Heroism is Action. Insanity is Action. Action is Medecine. Listen, listen, listen to the world that restarts, THAT restarts. Listening get into the problems, into the people, listening divise problems, Ear and Mouth. Get to the world, EAR, my darling. Speak to them, my
dear Mouth. Pronounce New Words. New world for everybody, for every body, and leg and arm and head and foot and so on. SO ON NEW WORLD. Multiple new divisions and new assemblages of legs and arms, and heads and feet, and so on. Ulrich et sa sœur, Hyperion et Diotima, Friedrich and Cosima, AND. The WORLD. Mariage-à-trois. Mariage-à-infinity. The desert is, the desert was, the desert will be OUT. OUT. OUT. On connaît la chanson. We don’t want to listen to anything about that! Police partout, justice nulle part! Sauf... ¡ A las asambleas, a las asambleas, por el triunfo de la __________ ! The hero is she. She is her, ear, dear. Silence, please, we’re trying to listen to something, we’re trying to listen to the whole world. We’re acting, be serious my dear. Noise is capitalism. Respect. Silence, big silence, my dear BE. It’s an assembly, we are in an assembly, we are assembling each other, we fight the old world. Stop speaking, stop the noise. Lo llaman democracia y no lo es. Que no, que no, que no nos representan. Nobody represents Nobody : that’s the fact, THAT, Tahir. Be realistic, do the impossible. Do it, fool !
BIO : Jordi Carmona Hurtado has no money but he has some friends and a little darling, he sometimes writes, sometimes speaks to others, sometimes he tries to act, something he does nothing that is what he really desires, like Beckett on his rocking chair or a homeless. But still, he is a little bourgeois, quelqu’un qui devient philosophe, he hasn’t totally quit the old world.
HENRIKSEN by Lisa Panting
1) LP: You recently traced the upper edges of an art fair booth revealing the jagged line of the booth construction. The work brought together two fundamentals in your practice - the idea of architectural ‘doubts’, where you highlight and bring into view spatial oddities - and drawing. Perhaps we can begin by saying something about these two cornerstones of your work - space and the line? KHH: Yes, I would like to say something about the piece I made at Frieze Art Fair. It was a new architectural drawing. All booths at the fair have a jagged line at the top of the booth wall. They also have one at floor level but this is hidden by the skirting board they have placed there. Why? – all these jagged lines are there for a reason as the whole fair is a temporary building placed in Regent’s park. The grounds are uneven and this is reflected in the structure built on top of it. As they use the same sized materials to build these walls in the fair - the unevenness in the park becomes visible on the top of all walls at the fair. You can say that the structure of the fair is actually a massive cast of the unevenness of the park grounds underneath. It’s a massive sculpture. This is an example that demonstrates how I use architectural frustrations to define my sculptural drawings. At Frieze I made an ‘eyeliner’. It is a drawing made of pastel, drawn on the edge of the gallery booth. In almost every building/ space - you have a stumbling
block, a place where things aren’t resolved and where the architect couldn’t fix a spot that remained unfinished and never properly formulated. This could be a line, a joint where two buildings meet, unforeseen problems with ventilations and other technical difficulties, new streets redefining an urban volume in a city. My sculptures can be drawn back to these lines - that highlight public volumes that have changed over time, these architectural frustrations and the lines are almost archeological digs. The lines reflect changes as well as formulate my sculptures. 2) LP: To me, this new piece creates a connection to previous works that have been motivated by architectural intervention such as ‘Architectural Doubts’ (2004) at the Hamburger Bahnhof and ‘Ghost in Fribourg’ (2005) – something about demarcation, the periphery and the frame. Your work seems in these instances framed by the various locations - from public institution, public space to private gallery. The work often starts with an identification of what you see as peculiarities in given architectural structures. So for example in Berlin at the Hamburger Bahnhof, you identified the dividing line between the entry area and the exhibition space. By building a wall here you bring attention to discrepancies in the architecture or to an unclear architectonic situation as you call it. Obviously it also brings to the fore other aspects such as making the public negotiate
the building in a different way (flows and counter flows), as well as being in dialogue with monumental sculptures and institutional critique. KHH: I use lines to analyse space, as a working-method. I often draw out combinations of lines in a space, on a plan drawing, to see where the locus, the most intense area is - where most lines cross, and to see how irrational meeting points, barely visible to the eye, can formulate something that interests me. I have done several projects where lines, curves and volume of a given space define my sculpture. These sculptures can almost be seen as casts of the space with its invisible lines - and we are back to the ‘eyeliner’ and the beginning again... 3) LP: So, would you say that your practice is really linked to the practice of drawing? I am thinking about a recent series of works using paper and charcoal that ‘draws’ upon the surface of wood chip wallpaper. This is a very economical or minimal approach to drawing and material that simultaneously embodies two fundamentals in your work - the use of prefabricated materials and drawing. KHH: Many of my sculptures start with a line. With the line I can visualise time -changes in a building or on a site, for example; Ghost and Architectural Doubt, a public volume that has changed over time…. A line is not a drawing just because it’s a line… but it helps our understanding to
think in this way. I see the charcoal woodchip drawings, ‘Black avalanche’, more as sculptures or material exposing something that interests me. It’s a meditation on wood … on the making of paper with wood inside it, burnt wood/charcoal is carefully dusted from above. The curled shape of the paper allows for the dust to settle on the woodchip and make visible the materiality of the paper. Different elements of wood are on display; paper, woodchip, charcoal - like a sculpture talking about sculpture where the material reflect on production and the process implied in the making of material. But it is also a drawing.
The eyeliner is made of material normally used for drawing, but what interests me is the act of highlighting of the ground in the park underneath the booth. Should I call them drawings or sculptures? It seems I bring doubt into everything I do. When I work I often use standardised material. I try to organise this material instead of giving shape to it. I like the honest approach. I like to think of all the decisions that go into the production of any material, the whole cycle – the labour and transport. I try to reorganise this and integrate this into my work. I like to try to create sculptures with maximum effect and minimal effort/energy.
4) LP: Can you expand on your interest in architecture? It seems to have a psychological charge to it - as if the codes given by buildings and structures speak of human presence as much as the buildings themselves? KHH: When I began making my architectural sculptures, the first wall I made was a portrait of my father. Instead of making a classical drawing or photo I invited him to build a rather massive wooden wall in a gallery with me. This sculpture was curved into the corner and I let this ‘irrational architecture’ be my portrait of
/HENRIKSEN/ him and a play between father and son. Since then I have done several of these architectural sculptures. I always look out for things that interest me - like human failure reflected in a building, and this defines my sculptures conceptually and formally. I want to mention a piece I made at Kunstmuseum Bern. It was entitled ‘A story about the sun, the moon and a chipboard removed to reveal the pearls of water’. The Kunstmuseum was renovated and rebuilt by Atelier 5 who were students of le Corbusier. From the original plan drawing I found out that they had covered some of the windows in the basement. After some research I realised that they had done that because of problems with condensation, so condensation was running down the windows and onto the floor. This caused major problems – so they temporarily solved this by closing the windows off. What I did was to make a sculpture based on this. I opened the windows with a cut in the panels that was covering them. I cut them in a curve that was defined by the height of the space. I took the material from the cutouts and placed it to define a more full circle. I opened the view to the outside, let the window be a window, and I let the daylight in. The title refers to what I did.
5) LP: In your recent show at Hollybush Gardens there was a piece that measured out the volume of the space - there was another piece that showed the cutout of a beaded curtain that also described the absent line. Can you talk about this absence, does it connect back to the idea of control? KHH: I often think about how I occupy space. I will not say that my work is about dominating a space as a control device. I am interested in dimensions and lines and volume in general. How lines and corners effect the way you sit or work in a space – how you feel comfortable, what dimensions are made for you…i.e Corbusier tried to make an ideal volume in his private housing - and I doubt it was successful. There is a film of him drawing a sketch for his unrealised project in Paris. I find it a radical drawing. He makes a line right across Paris – parallel to the river Seine. Over Le Marais he drew a massive square - showing where he wanted to put his mega-city. It’s a performative drawing, indicating a radical idea – one that I can relate to, treating Paris like one big system of intersecting lines.
/HENRIKSEN/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE (Front Page) (detail) Sticks to measure volume (Hollybush Gardens) to be rebuilt somewhere else, 2011 Wood and colour tape Dimensions variable Untitled 2006 Tape Dimensions variable Untitled (woodchip and charcoal dust) 2011 woodchip wallpaper and charcoal dust 50 cm x 276 cm Sticks to measure volume (Hollybush Gardens) to be rebuilt somewhere else, 2011 Wood and colour tape Dimensions variable A story about the sun, the moon and a chipboard removed to reveal the pearls of water 2011 Museum wall cut and removed Diameter, 3.6 m Architectural Doubts 2004 Wood, rear view 15 x 30 m Berlin North, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany A story about the sun, the moon and a chipboard removed to reveal the pearls of water 2011 Museum wall cut and removed Diameter, 3.6 m All photos: Knut Henrik Henriksen & Hollybush Gardens LISA PANTING is co-director of Hollybush Gardens, London. Represented artists are Johanna Billing, Andrea BĂźttner, Karl Holmqvist, Kirschner & Panos, Eline McGeorge, Falke Pisano, BenoĂŽt Maire, Bruno Pacheco, Claire Hooper, Knut Henrik Henriksen, Ruth Proctor
LELLO//ARNELL by m책g
1) måg: LELLO//ARNELL consists of Jørgen Craig Lello and Tobias Arnell, and you have collaborated since 2003 - tell us how this collaboration started and how it has grown in the past 8 years.
collaborating remain: a sense that what we do together is better and stronger than what we did on our own, a more productive and inspiring day-to-day working situation and the efficiency of having someone to bounce ideas off.
2) L//A: måg: Our first collaboration projIn your artist statement you ect was in fact a matter of write that you ‘utilise logically chance. We were sharing a broken lines of thought, false studio at the National statements and fictional Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, scenarios in their examination and a couple of days before of how the world is interpreted the school’s annual ‘Open and understood’. (One work Academy’, our sculpture that springs to mind reading professor stopped by to have a this is the work ‘Yin and look at what we had prepared. Yang: The Struggle What we had prepared, in Towards Balance and fact, was nothing - except a Harmony’(2011)). How does big messy studio space. this concept unfold within your Needless to say, our professor research? was not happy, making it clear that a public display of our L//A: studio was completely out of If we were to condense our the question. conceptual baseline into a single expression, it would have Two days later we presented to be ‘world view’. Our work our first collaboration: The has always revolved around Re-enactment of the Battle of the perception of the world Dunkirk, in which we had around us as opposed to the transformed our studio into a actual world around us. Within battlefield (not very difficult), this category, we often work waging war on each other with perceptions that are from either corner of the room. tainted by deviation, deception, delusion or After this initial cooperation, derangement. we realised that we were working with similar topics, with We generally like to assume similar aesthetic preferences. these modes of view and We also realized that we exaggerate them further, worked well together as a taking a frame of mind and team. This sparked a few other polarizing it maximally. Added collaboration projects during to this, working with a cloud of our time at the academy, and outer concepts and towards the end of our gravities, the core concepts education we were working are often warped into strange almost exclusively in new shapes. The idea is collaboration. basically attacking human civilizations’ perception of In the years since, we have of themselves with their own course continued to develop weapons: fiction and forgery. within our collaboration, but at the core, the reasons for The Yin and Yang work is in
many ways such a work - the pathetic, dilapidated symbol itself being the object onto which the frustration, agitation, even madness connected to an idea of finding utter peace of mind destroys it and creates something completely new. 3) måg: Working together, have you adopted roles in relation to each other and the work you produce? L//A: Not really in any crucial sense. Certain tasks have fallen naturally to the one or the other, but for all intents and purposes we both actively participate in the making of our work. Probably, we are both mild control-freaks, so when one of us is working on a piece, the other will be hanging over his shoulder perhaps with a tip on how to do it better. 4) måg: The titles of your works create connections with outside narratives that might actually have a life of their own. What importance do you place on the titles and in what order are they conceived? L//A: Usually, we develop our work using large amounts of raw input. Some core material which functions as the backbone of the work, and then a lot of peripheral input which tugs the development of the work in different directions materially, aesthetically and conceptually. In the end, the hardest part is always formulating this cloud of influences and ideas into a title which supports the viewer’s understanding and experience
/LELLO//ARNELL/ /PAWLIK/ /TORRISET/
/LELLO//ARNELL/ of the work. We find that the title is often the key to understanding the work.
your research is dedicated to exploring history and its shortfalls?
5) måg: Your works are sculptural; even the two-dimensional works have a sculptural nature to them, as if they ‘grow’ out of the surface. Is this always intentional or is it an effortless gesture?
L//A: During coffee-breaks and general ‘down-time’ in the studio, we regularly discuss current events, literature and history as they come across through newspapers, novels, documentaries and so on, consumed ‘off hours’, so to speak. A lot of the time, our research material appears after a statement like, ‘You know what I read last night?’
L//A: From early on, we both found sculpture to be our main field of practice, working with large scale installations and sculptures. This grew even stronger through our early collaboration, and though we have increasingly been working with wall-works and 2-dimensional work, we do consider our main field to be sculpture. We also have a sculptural approach to most of our 2-dimensional work, and many such projects actually start as sculptures early in the process. With our sculptural ‘heritage’ or origin, working with 2-dimensional work as if it was sculpture comes naturally to us and it is rather the process of how we develop a work that gives it a sculptural aura. 6) måg: Historical events and historical individuals occupy your work, often with a humorous twist; you turn events upside down, which results in a conceptualisation of understanding and a re-telling of history itself. How much of
These are social conversations rather than direct research for new concepts, but parts of this combined mind-flow - anything from dramaturgical techniques to historical anecdotes - begin to form new ideas and concepts which will go into our research base. As the process of developing the ideas progresses, we usually start the work of immersing ourselves in the topic. Though we don’t actively search for historical downfalls as such, history, luckily - at least for us is brimming with them: sooner or later some sort of anecdote or story emerges that is unique, tragic, idiotic, insane or very funny. 7) måg: Please tell us about your recent work, ‘...I found myself, depleted, on my hands and knees, sweat pouring, my head spinning. Beside me, a bottle of
Sprite, horribly mangled but intact. I slowly unscrewed it, took a large gulp and instantly vomited. I knew it would happen - I knew what I needed to do: my Spirit Guide had foreseen all of this...’ (2011) L//A: This piece is a good example of a work which manifested itself through a cloud of associations, aesthetics and contradicting concepts. During the research for our last solo exhibition at Galleri Erik Steen in Oslo this spring, we were working a lot with modernist architecture and design from the first half of the 20th century. This subject matter has been bubbling in our research bank for ages, and it is primarily the visions of what modernism could mean, the dogma of the ideas behind it, that fascinate us. This era, in which there was a true, unstoppable belief in human endeavour and promise, was also a time in which ideas about the value of civilizations - and thus the humans inhabiting them reached their inglorious peak, but it also saw the emergence of the idea that the ‘primitive’ was a virtue that modern man was losing touch with. Within these core aspects, in addition to thoughts on contemporary corporate identity-building and the incomprehensible alchemy of the financial markets (incomprehensible even, it seems, to the experts), this work started to shine through. In the end, the title - which almost functioned as an explanation to ourselves - was authored in order to conjure up an apocalyptic scenario in which this clash of the sane, reasonable, rational and the
/LELLO//ARNELL/ mystical and paranormal has occurred in the mind of the protagonist. 8) måg: Through viewing your work one gets a sense of your interest in how the world is interpreted and understood, expressed through your ability to conceptualise and humorise elements of ‘truth’. The work ‘Reverse View’ (2009) is an installation that consists of a paint-bucket and a reversed map of the world cut from polyestercoated aluminium. The work provokes a notion of an uncanny accident that represents a mirrored world view. Please tell us how this work might represent a corner stone of your ongoing interest in these subject matters. L//A: The world map is one of the most universally recognisable images in the world. It is a super-brand and has been used as a symbol of knowledge and power through the ages. A world map is, in itself, far from being an objective transfer of knowledge. Technically, a world map is impossible without modifying the data it contains. Transferring an image from a sphere onto a flat surface just does not work. The projection (read: alteration) you use in order to make this possible defines what your map will look like. For instance, the world maps most of us are
used to looking at have a projection which greatly exaggerates the size of Europe versus Africa in addition to placing it (Europe) at the centre of everything. The reversed world map has been a recurring image in our work. We found that people looking at a reversed world map often had great trouble pinpointing what exactly was wrong with it - probably thanks to its super-brand characteristic. We had, in other words, turned their world up-side-down without them realising. The truth that can be found in a map is thus nothing more than a ‘version’ of the truth. Your truth has been modified in order to suit your belief (i.e. ‘We are the greatest civilization’). To find an unshakable truth, perhaps you need to consult with someone higher up? Wouldn’t He be able to shed some light on what the truth really is - perhaps through some kind of uncanny accident? I mean... if He turns up in a slice of toast - why not? 9) måg: Your next solo show is at USF Gallery, which is an artist run gallery in Bergen (Norway), what’s in store for this show and what subject matters will you be exploring? L//A: Our show at USF will be a continuation of the concepts we have been working with during the past year. In fact, we developed our show
‘The Charlatan Mind’ in part for Gallery USF, with the intention of showing it there as well. However, during the year we have, as we almost always do when planning to show work more than once, come to the conclusion that we want to make something new to show. For The Charlatan Mind, we wanted to break new ground with regards to our body of work, especially concerning the conceptual aspects. We wanted to develop an exhibition that was a lot more intuitive and experimental, with a solid narrative as the foundation. It was not our intent that this narrative should be told through the exhibition, but rather that the narrative would help dictate the direction of the development of the exhibition, and throughout its production would be an invisible mesh binding the show together and tightening it up in spite of the separate pieces being very different kinds of work. We were very happy with this method as a framework and have continued to develop it. For the show at USF we will be showing mostly new work taking this ‘modus operandi’ another step ahead.
/LELLO//ARNELL/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE The Protagonist Gazing into His Own Reflection 2011 Mirrors and MDF 200cm x 150cm Gentlemanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Traveling Shrine 2008 Chairs, porcelain, silver, crystal, wood, shrink-wrap 140cm x 80cm x140cm Examination of Modern Living (after Herbert Matter) 2011 Chalk on blackboard 200cm x 150cm Reverse View 2009 Polyester-coated aluminium and paint bucket 110cm x 120cm Those Eyes; They Follow Me 2011 Acrylic on wall-to- wall carpet 200cm x 150cm Yin and Yang: The Struggle Towards Balance and Harmony 2011 Acrylic on MDF 120cm x 120cm Taking One Step Back in Order to Take Two Steps Forward 2008 Varnished world globe (cardboard, brass and wood) 35cm x 35cm x 105cm Hercules Slaying the Hydra 2011 Powder-coated steel and aluminium 350cm x 250cm x 300cm ...I found myself, depleted, on my hands and knees, sweat pouring, my head spinning. Beside me, a bottle of Sprite, horribly mangled but intact. I slowly unscrewed it, took a large gulp and instantly vomited. I knew it would happen - I knew what I needed to do: My Spirit Guide had foreseen all of this... 2011 Fingerpainted chair LINK: www.lelloarnell.com
HC GILJE by m책g
/ANEGILJE/ /HC LAN/
“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: As an artist working in the fields of image, light and sound, your body of work spans what one could define as ‘periods’ where it has developed alongside the advances of technology. How do you define your own practice and how do you see your artistic practice continuing to move with technological advances? HCG: Since I left the academy in Trondheim in 1999, my work has usually involved a computer, a video camera and/or a projector, so I don’t think that the technological advances of the last ten years have radically changed my practice. As I see it, my work is shown in quite different arenas depending on the format of the work (installation, single-channel video, live cinema or stage). People who know my experimental videos might not know my installation work, those who have seen my installations might not know I do live cinema performances, etc. I think most of my work circles around an interest in how we construct and experience our world. In the past five-six years I have spent a good deal of time developing and implementing a set of audiovisual tools to transform, expand, amplify, connect, compose and capture spaces. It’s the possibility of composing with image, light, sound, and motion in space, that attracts me to using custom-made software and hardware. I think of light and sound as a flow of energy, and I build control structures to be able to mould and direct this energy into an expression.
2) måg: Tell us about your concept ‘The Extended Now’. HCG: It’s not really a concept, it was one of the things I wrote about in the essay, ‘Within the space of an instant’ in 2005 for a book about real-time art. With the expression ‘the extended now’ I tried to describe the experience of the present as a space within time (based on ideas from Henri Bergson and, more recently, Francesco Varela), where time almost seems to be suspended. It was also an attempt at describing a state of mind that for me often occurs when performing, but also when I get ‘sucked’ into a concert experience. A few years ago I discovered the writings of Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, and he has formulated this experience beautifully in the expression ‘lost in focused intensity’. I am interested in the muddy relationship between space, time and speed. To quote the French philosopher and curator Bernard Stiegler: Speed means rate of progress or motion. In that everything, even things which are ostensibly not moving, has a rate of motion or progress, and that an object’s speed can only be perceived in relation to that of other objects, speed is pure difference. Only through the perception of different rates of movement can we apprehend time, and by extension, space. If nothing changes, is it then the same space through which time passes, or does it appear not to change because my body is used as a measuring rod? If I go to the same space over a few days and I notice no
change, isn’t that because things have different durations? Just because I am not able to perceive any changes could just mean that I perceive at a different resolution. You can see different durations with slow motion and time-lapse for instance, which would not be visible with my own duration as a starting point. Think of the different durations in a city, of the buildings, of the people, the shops, the green traffic light etc., old buildings like churches from the 11th century, or even mountains. I think this is something essential in my work that I always find hard to put down in words, how duration and change are structuring elements, so I not only work with transforming spaces but also with controlling the flow of time through an object or space. For instance, a shadow that moves indicates
3) måg: Your work has always explored concepts of space, but in recent years, your work has entered a more direct conversation with ‘the room’, or ‘the space’. Your site-specific work constructs new and emphasised spaces, within which lights and space modulation often result in narratives within the empty room. How do you approach new spaces using a site-specific approach to creating work? HCG: Improvisation is a keyword for me. Before I improvised mainly with other performers, and now I have tried to move this into an improvisation with spaces. I see it as a sort of feedback process between me and the space. My perception of the space influences what I project into the space. The space is transformed by my projections, which again influence how I perceive it. I guess I am
objects, so I spend a lot of time trying to create a rhythm or pulse, in the movements of the projected light, that makes the space ‘breathe’. On a pragmatic level I spend one to three weeks in a space, producing material, where a lot of the time is spent on just listening and watching and just being in the space, before I am able to make some aesthetic decisions about the structure of the piece. I would say I am some sort of cross-breed between a painter/sculptor, composer and choreographer: I paint/ sculpt with light, I create audiovisual compositions, and I work with movement in and through spaces. I think the audience also plays a large role in the construction of these spaces. I recently saw a documentary with Olafur Eliasson where he talked about how the audience is co-producing the reality, and I think that fits quite well with my work too. 4) måg: Sound is a large part of your work - tell us how you compose sound and how you integrate it into your work.
a passage of time, so by being able to control the speed and direction of this shadow I am able to influence the subjective experience of time.
looking for ways of creating states that, to borrow a term from sound, resonate in your body.
HCG: I have worked with sound in many different ways. First of all, I have had a lot of inspiring collaborations with sound artists/musicians/ composers like Justin Bennett, Yannis Kyriakides, Jazzkammer and Maja Ratkje. Their way of thinking about sound has definitely influenced my own work.
I am trying to animate (in the original sense of the word: to bring to life) spaces and
I like the fact that you can shut your eyes but you can’t close your ears. Sound is important in
/ANEGILJE/ /HC LAN/
establishing a sense of presence, maybe more than image. In the few works where I have worked only with sound it is remarkable how effective a sound point is in focusing the attention of the audience. The French cinema sound theorist Michel Chion talks about sound as a way of anchoring the visual in the present. He uses the cinematic punch as an example: What would the image of a punch be without the sound? He coined the term synchresis, describing ‘the spontaneous and irresistible weld produced between a particular auditory phenomenon and visual phenomenon when they occur at the same time’.
The sound intensifies the perception of the image, and vice versa. I sometimes work with a direct relationship between image and sound (in fact sometimes the sound is generated from the image), thus creating a tight relationship between what you see and what you hear (like the cinematic punch), and then I move these audiovisual nodes around in a physical space, composing with movement of sound and image.
In other works, the sound functions more as a glue, making for instance two seemingly unrelated visual spaces connect because they have the same soundtrack. My use of sound is usually primitive. I work with several simple sound sources placed around in the space, and very often they play the same loop, either out of sync with each other or at different speeds, creating a sound texture which changes as you move around in the space. It is the spatial aspect of working with multiple sound sources, that appeals to me. 5) måg: Using technology within your practice, your approach to it and its possibilities as well as its continuing progression must have an impact on you as a person as well as an artist. Do you see yourself as much a developer and researcher as an artist? HCG: Research on technology, construction of devices and development of software is often a natural part of the experimental process of creating a work, for me. I sometimes wish I had the perfect technical assistant who could do all this for me, but that’s not very likely to happen. (And it would most likely result in different types of works.) I belong to a generation of artists that values the importance of sharing information. Many of my projects would have been nearly impossible to realize if I hadn’t had access to the information and tools that other people have chosen to share, and that’s why I also share
I feel strongly connected to the spirit of the DIY movement, and I think it is a quality in itself to understand a little bit about how things work, especially in a world where we are surrounded by a myriad of black boxes of which we know nothing about the inside.
For me to express myself using technological tools I need to achieve a similar level of proficiency. This is also necessary in order to go beyond the expected functionality of the tool. So you can learn to play the guitar and become really good at it, but maybe the interesting things first happen when you tune it in an untraditional way. So for me as an artist it is important to leave room for errors and surprises when using my tools. The process of making art for me is not about realising an idea or a concept. I start with maybe a notion of what I am after, sometimes not even that. It’s like walking without a specific goal, but you know you’re there when you have reached it. Where/when/how you walked will influence where you end up.
6) måg: How important is the understanding of technology - its limitations and possibilities in order for you to create work that represents an idea and a concept rather than a representation of what technology can do?
It’s a continuous process of improvisation - trial and error within the constraints of the specific situation. These constraints could be the physical structures of the space I am going to work with, but also very much the limitations and possibilities latent in the tools I use.
HCG: Technology in relation to my artistic practice means for me tools for producing and controlling image, light, sound and movement.
Therefore the ability to go beyond the standard ‘repertoire’ of technology is important for me, in terms of its becoming a tool that helps me to express my vision. I guess this is why I am bit reluctant to hire ‘experts’ to help me realise my projects, because the trial and error phase of a project often yields the defining moment for me.
software and technological solutions I use in my own projects. I think blogs and user forums are extremely important in terms of sharing - this community gives the one hundred people in the world with the same interest the possibility to exchange ideas and to develop projects.
I think it is important to have a fundamental knowledge of a tool for several reasons. I often talk about myself as performing or improvising on a self-built instrument. To be able to play an instrument intuitively you need to get the basic motor skills internalised so you don’t have to think every time you play a chord on the guitar.
7) måg: As an established international artist, do you feel part of a specific arts community either
geographically or conceptually? What and who do you relate to in regards to your artistic practice and where would you say your work sits in relation to the broader contemporary art scene today? HCG: As I mentioned briefly in the beginning I feel I am more ‘in between’ different scenes, also geographically. My experimental video and live cinema work have been presented extensively world-wide, my installations have so far mainly been presented in Europe, and my work with dance and theatre has mainly been in Norway. I don’t have a strong connection to a specific arts community, but I do relate to architects and artists who construct spaces, artists who work with pure light and/or sound as their expression, and artists who work with audiovisual composition. If I should mention names, then perhaps artists as different as James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, Mike Nelson and Kjell Bjørgeengen. I don’t know where my work sits in relation to the broader contemporary scene, but I guess I am quite far out in the periphery. 8) måg: Your recent solo exhibition at iMAL in Belgium earlier this year showed your most current work. This exhibition portrays what one could consider a ‘mature’ body of work - is this installation an indication of what we will see in the future? HCG: The exhibition in Brussels
contained the large-scale installation Light Space Modulators and the first in the Projected Light Object series, Circle #1. They represent two of the directions I am currently interested in, projected light spaces and projected light objects. A third would be light animations, where I work with animating shadows using multiple light sources. I plan to present these three directions in my biggest solo show so far at the Woodstreet Galleries in Pittsburgh in January. I have an eclectic mix of projects coming up in the next half year, but eventually I hope to have time to finish some more soundrelated work.
/HC Gilje/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Fuglane, TrĂ¸ndelag Teater 2010 Pprojection and set design Variable dimensions Akusma, (Acousmonium in Minoritenkirche) Kontraste festival 2011 Projected light space Variable dimensions Blink at Almost Cinema, Ghent 2011 Projected light space Variable dimensions Blink at Almost Cinema, Ghent 2011 Projected light space Variable dimensions Light Space Modulators at IMAL, Brussels 2011 Projected light space Variable dimensions Circle #2, Wellington Lux 2011 Projected light object Diameter 90 cm Blink at Almost Cinema, Ghent 2011 Projected light space Variable dimensions Blink at NIMK, Sonic Acts Amsterdam 2010 Projected light space Variable dimensions Blink at HKS, Bergen 2009 Projected light space Variable dimensions All Photos: HC Gilje
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
SASHA HUBER by m책g
/HUBER/ 1) måg: History is presented to us by those who wrote it, and it is common knowledge that the history we are presented with is not necessarily a representation of truth; despite this we continue to define the writing of history as truth. Through your work there is a strong interest in rewriting history through the use of performance, photography and video. You often recreate historical artefacts, adding contemporary understanding of history through a layered contemplation which is critical as well as conceptual. How important is it for you to add layers of understanding to history as well as to question it? SH: I am fascinated by, and thankful for, the artist’s privilege and responsibility to explore history and try to make sense of it. It is a way to speculate, to ask questions, and maybe to suggest answers about who we are. History is never finished; it remains alive and is as such an endlessly renegotiable terrain. 2) måg: In your work you often use yourself, referring to your family history. How important is your own history within the broader
representation of history? SH: I am from Zurich in Switzerland and my mother was born in Port au Prince in Haiti. In 1965 she and her family emigrated from the Haitian dictatorship to New York. Switzerland and Haiti differ completely from each other, and this difference made me interested in the history of Haiti. I have only been there as a child and have not been able to return due to family pressure. My mother has been constantly worried that something could happen due to the ongoing unstable situation. This condition inspired me to make one of my first exhibitions in 2004. The work was called Shooting Back – Reflections on Haitian Roots and was part of my Master’s thesis, which investigates Haitian history and my roots. It criticises some individuals who have contributed to the historical and social conditions in Haiti, from the 15th century up to the 21st century, and who have made it what it is today – the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. The work consists of portraits of the conqueror Christopher Columbus, and of the former Haitian dictators François ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier and Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier. I have developed a working method that allows me to visualize and communicate my opinions. All the portraits have been realised through the violent act of ‘shooting back’: a process that uses a semi-automatic stapling gun and approximately 100,000 staples. All three portraits were made on abandoned pieces
of plywood picked up in the streets and wasteland of Helsinki. I experienced the act of ‘shooting back’ concretely, and indirectly discovered a way of helping and defending Haitians in a symbolic manner. Each shot represents lost human lives, which can perhaps be counted in their millions. To date, I have worked in this way whenever I have found that the motive corresponds with the symbolic meaning of the technique. It has become my expression of political criticism when combined with an aesthetic rendering of the subject matter. Eventually, I have become interested in my own ‘micro family history’ due to an urge of understanding where I come from and the need for digging deeper. 3) måg: The work ‘I Love JaNY’ (2010) stands out from recent work as very much a close exploration into personal aspects of your own family history. How did this work come about and what does the broader context behind Jany Tomba’s story reflect? SH: Jany Tomba, my aunt, has been a mentor and inspiration since my childhood. For a long time I had an idea of making a project with her and it took years to finally get it started. It is a portrait of Jany as an early generation black fashion model in New York City, but also a story of a young Haitian woman immigrating to the States and not knowing what the future would bring. The broader context focuses on the place and time of her
evolving career. In the post racial movement of the 1960s, Jany managed to maintain her cultural identity, becoming a role model to many including me. I hope her timeless message of integrity reaches today’s generation as well. 4) måg: ‘I Love JaNY’ was exhibited at Taidehalli Studio in Helsinki, Finland in 2010 and travelled to be part of the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ exhibition as part of Turku European Capital of Culture 2011. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is the largest exhibition of contemporary art photography ever seen in Finland. The event provides a link between international trends and world-renowned Finnish photographic art. Tell us how you became involved in this project and if being part of this important retrospective has influenced you. SH: The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ exhibition is an important acknowledgement of my career as an artist and I am curious to see where the work travels from there. Originally I met the UK based curator Sheyi Bankale in Helsinki. I introduced him to my work in general, and in particular to the Jany project that was not yet finalised at the time. Sheyi and the rest of the exhibition team thought it would fit within the concept of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The exhibition was organised by the Finnish Museum of Photography. 5) måg: Your work comprises projects that are uniquely engaging,
/torp/ /HUBER/ well researched and executed - one project which stands out is ‘Rentyhorn’. It is both complex and symbolic, but also powerful in that it makes the inheritance of colonialism visible. Please tell us about Rentyhorn, and how the project was born. SH: In 2005 I came across the newly published book Reise in Schwarz-Weiss: Schweizer Ortstermine in Sachen Sklaverei, a book on Swiss participation in slavery and the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, written by the Swiss historian and activist Hans Fässler. I found it interesting and contacted him. We got to know each other, and ever since, he has kept me informed about his activities. On 28th May 2007, the 200th birthday of the influential Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) was commemorated, both in Switzerland and worldwide. Hans noticed that the presentation of Agassiz’s legacy was not very transparent. Hans knew that Agassiz was also an influential racist, a pioneering thinker of apartheid and had proposed racial segregation in the US.
side of Agassiz and to rename the mountain Agassizhorn (3946 metres) in the Swiss alps ‘Rentyhorn’ in honour of the Congolese-born slave Renty, and those who met similar fates. In 1850 Agassiz ordered Renty to be photographed on a South Carolina plantation, ‘to prove the inferiority of the black race’. This whole history inspired me to take action and to carry a metal plaque bearing a graphic representation of the slave Renty and the new name, Rentyhorn, to the top of the Agassizhorn, on the borders of the Swiss cantons of Berne and Valais, to symbolically carry out the renaming. Furthermore, I initiated an international online petition (www.rentyhorn.ch) and, eventually a whole installation of photographs, a video, drawings, letters and a book came together. Later on I continued my research in Rio de Janeiro during an artist residency, producing a further intervention, photographs and a book in collaboration with Brazilian academics.
Therefore he launched the campaign ‘Demounting Louis Agassiz’ and founded the transatlantic committee of the same name, and invited me to join.
6) måg: Your recent show show was part of the Fittja Open 2011 in Sweden, There is an emphasis on process-oriented work methods and you are exhibiting the work Remedies (2010-2011), which is a collaboration with the artist and designer Petri Saarikko. Please tell us how this work could be seen as using ‘process-oriented’ work methods.
The aim of the campaign was to make known the darker
SH: I have been working with Petri
for over a decade on a multitude of projects. The Remedies concept started over ten years ago in New York by my self-healing two warts on both my thumbs. We thought that if it could work for us we could share it with others, and we started to notice that the world is filled with remedies. We developed the work during our artist residency in Botkyrka Konsthall in Stockholm. 7) måg: What happens next? SH: Petri and I are invited to participate to the 2nd Ghetto Biennale 2011 in Port au Prince, Haiti. It is the first time in 27 years that I return to Haiti and this time with my own family. It was my long time wish to return some day. To return within the art context is amazing and we are curious how it will be and how it will go... The Biennale is in December and co-curated by Andre Eugene, Jean Herard and Leah Gordon.
/STEINVÅG/ /HUBER/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Rentyhorn - The intervention 2008 Digital C-Print, 75 x 51 cm Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Photo Siro Micheroli, © Sasha Huber Louis Who? What you should know about Louis Agassiz Intervention, Praça Agassiz, Rio de Janeiro, 2010 Video, 3:50 min. Photo by Calé, © Sasha Huber I love JaNY 2010 Photo by Siro Micheroli © Sasha Huber Rentyhorn - The intervention 2008 Digital C-Print, 75 x 51 cm Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Photo Siro Micheroli, © Sasha Huber The Rentyhorn metal plaque (engraved aluminium on wood) 2008 33 x 31.5 cm Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Louis Who? What you should know about Louis Agassiz Intervention, Praça Agassiz, Rio de Janeiro, 2010 Video, 3:50 min. Photo by Calé, © Sasha Huber I love JaNY 2010 Courtesy Jany Tomba private archives.
TROND NICHOLAS PERRY by Lisa St책lspets
1) LS: You work with sculpture, often in collaboration with other artists and the result is often determined by a certain amount of chance. There is a social aspect to your work, your projects encourage participation from the audience and I have more than once heard you say there are no observers, -only participants. Can you elaborate on that? TNP: My studio in Warsaw is in one of the roughest parts of town. -Gangs, drugs, poor housing conditions and unemployment- and many artists as well. For quite some time I felt uneasy going to and from my studio. Some months ago, I had a show locally. A hundred people came to the opening and among them, a man who lives in the tenement house next to me. He is sixty-four years old, and his son is still living in the same flat. The man was so pleased with whatever strangeness opening up in his backyard that he came down and gave me his thirty-year-old guitar. I am working on this guitar now, trying to address it in a musique concrete sort of way, composing a video and a tune made out of all the things a guitar can be used for, using it in untraditional ways. Next time he comes to an opening, he will see a video and hear a strange piece of music based on his gift. Who knows, maybe he will bring a clarinet next time. His son comes by my studio constantly, and we are designing solutions for his bedroom now, like as small loft where he can sleep. I have never actually been inside their flat, but I like the idea of us stretching out towards each
other and influencing each other’s lives. Of course, all people do that to some extent. I do it with art and design. 2) LS: Your most well known project is a boat you built in collaboration with the artist Erik Pirolt. The name of your project was K.Y.S (love, humility, pain). You sailed your catamaran from Norway to Germany and The Netherlands. In 1947, the Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl sailed on a balsa raft across the Pacific Ocean to prove that it was possible to access Polynesia from South America on a very primitive boat. How important is Thor Heyerdahl to this project and to you as an artist? TNP: Heyerdahl is important, not because he proved some fact that was later proven dubious, but because he used his education and status as an ethnographer to create adventure. He found some potatoes and old pottery in one part of the world, assumed it came from another part, and off they went on this wild and hazardous journey. Also, when he chose his crew members, one of them was chosen solely on the basis of him being able to, single headedly, shoot his way out of a situation where he was totally surrounded by nazis. Not your average ethnographer. With K.Y.S Heyerdahl, our inspiration was to use the art world in a similar way. 3) LS: K.Y.S started in 2002 and is now ending. You have decided to destroy it in a theatrical
manner. You plan to film the destruction and add a quasi-philosophical monologue to the images. In a sense, you are making a funeral for the boat, a ritual killing of an object and a collaboration that has been going on for almost 10 years. Why did you decide on ‘killing’ the boat instead of selling it or giving it to a museum? What does the ritual ending to the project mean in terms of personal progress? TNP: We are actually making a movie not only about the destruction of K.Y.S, but also about our theories on aesthetics. The main concept being that true beauty rises from will power, and not technical skill, talent or qualification. A few years ago favela structures were quite popular in art and design circles, I guess it was because they underlined the DIY aesthetics that were already familiar through the punk scene. It was always a paradox to me, the way we used the visual language of desperation in a calculating way. Like colour on our palette, not being economically desperate ourselves. Our desperation comes from the opposite side of the economical spectrum, from homogeneity and the buffet of pre-made solutions. Spectators of K.Y.S were often astonished and extremely positive to what they saw, common people realising that it really is possible to do it yourself. To the spectator unaccustomed to art, objects that work and do something funny or daring is not intimidating, and I hope these objects can function as
/PERRY/ a gateway for them to enter the fantastic world of creativity. DIY does that. In the film we try to give examples of this in a humoristic way, but I would not exactly call it quasi-philosophical. Philosophers rarely manifest their ideas in a material way. The destruction of K.Y.S is a decision based on several factors. For one we think that it will bring tension to the film we are making. A real action sequence where we destroy an art object instead of a car or what not. Also we have been going on about this construction for ten years, and we both feel it is time to draw the line. The boat is nine meters long, four meters wide and it weighs five tons, so selling it to an art institution is very difficult, it would mean that it has to permanently be in one place. We want to move on and clear space in our heads for new things. A five ton baby is difficult to maintain both economically and time wise. 4) LS: To the observer it seems that you take your ideas from an image universe that is directly connected to what you see and think, -that your images have double meanings. You confirm that you used to be very interested in shamanism and the occult. But, lately you discovered that the magic you were searching for is much more present in fiction and poetry than in occult literature. You say that moving to Warsaw made
you become aware of the heterogeneous cityscape. History is written in the architecture with skyscrapers side by side with communist blocks, old houses full of bullet holes and so on. Now you are moving towards an aesthetic of a multitude of symbols that contains many mechanisms loosely connected in different ways, creating a whole that is more open and versatile. The personal and fixed symbols that you used to be interested in as an art student now seem too rigid in their form and too much like totems. Has moving to Warsaw had any other impact on your ideas about art? TNP: In a city like Warsaw, with its heavy-laden history, your surroundings are very in your face both socially, architecturally and politically. For me it has been a natural departure point from surrealism in its traditional form of accessing and depicting the subconcious. The language is still there, but it has to stand the test of going public much more now than before. Instead of masturbating my inner totem, I am trying to synthesise my surroundings. Art as I knew it has decreased in interest and impact. It seems too egocentric. It has to be put to use somehow. Artists like Pawel Althamer does this. He uses his artistic language to adress and depict his surroundings. I really like that. Most of my friends and colleagues here are either architects or designers. There is a strong crossover trend here, and it creates a new space with different parameters, one of them being how what you do will be recieved by people with no relation to the
gallery. Art does not have to be populistic, but the city asks for it to dare show itself, because the city needs it. It needs fresh and strange ideas. Warsaw has taken a serious beating over the years and I think it feels quite frustrated. It needs to be cheered up, but it also needs a reflection of what it actually is. The surface sensation of Warsaw is quite schizofrenic, like a giant assemblage in reality which I cannot just accept and live in without incorporating its palimpsest structure in my art, or at least in my inner dialogue about art. 5) LS: Your latest project, ‘Quantum (music machine)’ is a collaboration with your girlfriend, the architect Agata Sander. This music machine is a sculpture made site specific for a canal in Warsaw constructed by the principle of a watermill that turns as the canal runs through it and plays a song. When we talked on the phone you said, ‘There is no intellectual language in this project even if you can intellectualise it. We thought it would be interesting on a constructional level. The instrument was made to play the song, it only knows one song and that song dictated the whole building process.’ You also say you thought of the instrument as something you could give to the local community to enjoy for a limited amount of time. How do you relate to places and spaces in your practice? Your work is not quite site specific, but yet it seems as if your works emerge from their birthplaces. Is the link between your work and the spaces and contexts
influenced by the furniture to behave and interact in accordance with the function of the work. Not user-friendly in other words.
that your work is exhibited in, important to you?
Do you think of the furniture as art or as design and is it important to make the distinction?
TNP: In the case of the music machine, it definitely originated from its birthplace in a very concrete way. A canal that was quite controlled and easy to work with in a technical way. We were directly working in dialogue with the inhabitants of the nearby blockhouses. They all knew the canal very well, and we simply wanted to add something to what they already knew. In other settings, I am often tempted to add a total contrast to the given surroundings, for example my studio. When I open it up I want visitors to experience an alternative way of thinking in a more abstract sense. -In a gallery; likewise. 6) LS: Your next project is making furniture designs for ‘Levart’, an agency situated in Levanger, Norway, who initiates and facilitates contemporary art projects. Levart has been going since 2005 and is now getting their own project space, in a sense going through the process of becoming an institution. You have also participated in the project ‘Rooted design for routed living’, for CSW Warsaw and NKD Dale. You say that you think of your furniture as props in a theatre play, that you give to the user for them to use according to their wishes, -but hoping that they will be
TNP: I think it is a misconception that design always has to be user friendly as in give me convenience or give me death. Many people buy art that matches their furniture and I have always respected that. People install their homes as artists make installations, setting the scene. I like to view my work with furniture as an entrance to actually tamper with the source code of the home and the behavioral pattern of the user instead of just making it as easy as possible to remain in limbo. The boundaries between art and design are getting more and more blurred. I read an article lately stating that today it is not the object itself, but rather its economical functionality that determines its categorisation. The most common distinction is that design is more accessible because it is usable and deals with how you live your life. I think it is possible to transcend these values into storytelling and poetry.
/PERRY/ IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Agaiaganza 2009 Drawing K.Y.S 2003-2011 Public installation and performance Mixed media K.Y.S 2003-2011 Public installation and performance Mixed media What storkfoot knows 2010 Drawing K.Y.S 2003-2011 Public installation and performance Mixed media Project sketch and model for drawing table 2010 Storkfoot(table)/ What Storkfoot knows 2010 Installation view CSW Warsaw Quantum 2011 Drawing Quantum (Music machine) 2011 Mixed media, public installation
Flávia Müller Medeiros by by måg måg & Catherine Hemelryk
/MEDEIROS/ 1) måg: Language, conversation and how one interprets words are recurring concepts within your work. How do you research and explore these concepts? FMM: A while ago, a friend arriving at the studio where I was working/living at that time caught me reading a thesaurus. Words and meanings are so complex and funny. When you start looking into it in detail, there is the history of language and how we created a means of communication but it is never black and white. The holes, miscommunications, and ambiguities are there, people come up with complex skills in order to appear in control. It happens everywhere, - I probably think about it too much. CH: I have always liked how you think about things ‘too much’. I have often assumed that one part of it comes from your living in your second (third?) language and another part from your marketing educational background, where the media and manipulation of the message are key elements. Would you agree? There is much more to it I’m sure, but there is a mimicry, tampering, adaptation and processing of different forms of text and language that has the feel of something that has been keenly scrutinised from an
objective perspective rather than taken as read. FMM: Speaking in a foreign language does make you think a lot. And maybe I learned about ‘subliminal message’ from studying marketing and propaganda. However, I spent most of my time there in the photography lab learning how to develop films. In marketing and propaganda, there isn’t space for multiple meanings or for communicating nothingness in a true sense. The interesting thing is the relationship between being in control and letting it go during a conversation, the scripted and the improvised; including silence, and the things you think but do not say. The work happens when I am aware of these processes and intervene by organising them, pre-empting what might happen, preparing for a banal conversation at the pub, etc. 2) måg: Some of your work has taken place in front of the camera in the form of performances where narrative, with a focus on the spoken language and its power to create a physical barrier between what is sense and nonsense, appear. What was your starting point for creating ‘Inaugurate’ (2005)? FMM: I was playing with meaning without words, through intonation, accent and speed, which are more instinctive and subjective aspects of communication. Interpretation happens quickly, and without our knowing that we are doing it. At the time I made ‘Inaugurate’, Bush was one of the worst Presidents the world could have had. His speech
was unbelievably bad, although it had its audience (on the positive side, it was also funny). His Texan accent reinforced what most people think of that part of America: conservative, nationalistic, pro-gun. You did not need to hear the words. Similar to the sales pitch sound I used in Inaugurate - you know someone is selling without needing to hear what the product is. I combined Bush’s speech with the sales pitch sound, and the image came later. If someone appears to be saying something, but you can’t understand the words, what do you do? 3) måg: In ‘Scripted Conversation’ (2009-ongoing) we are presented with variations of prepared scripts of possible conversations - you memorise the scripts and focus on trying to redeliver the script during your conversation with others whilst at the same time attempting to investigate how it affects the conversation. Are you inspired by scientific research into human interaction? FMM: I am inspired by everyday interaction, by the latent possibilities in an encounter. -The idea of preparing for an encounter, taking a proactive approach. -To ‘act’ not as in performance or theatre, but as in the opposite of being passive. Like planting a seed, watching how it grows and responding to it as it happens. CH: How has the other half of the conversations, the people without the script, reacted to these performances?
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about communication, misunderstandings, silence, non-communication. I made a work where I wore earplugs when meeting friends and strangers in the pub. If I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hear what they are saying, what happens then? Do they give up on me? How can I still engage? Do I try to speak with my eyes? Is an interesting situation created? Or will it fall apart?
FMM: One of the people I chatted with saw that, at one point during a little break in our conversation, I reached into my pocket for a piece of paper and read out loud one of the questions I had prepared for him. He reacted very strongly; surprised and sort of angry, and paranoid that I was up to something. Our conversation then stopped. 4) måg: ‘Untitled’ (Showtime) was a 2-hour long performance you held at Gasworks gallery in London in 2008. The performance took place in two of the rooms at Gasworks and the audience was free to move between the two rooms, so in a sense one could experience two versions of the same performance depending on which room one was located in. How did this performance come about, and how has the audience’s reaction to it shaped your work since? FMM: A story that is passed on never remains the same but is mixed up with the stories of those who told them. I worked with an actor, who told his own version of a story I chose, and a stenographer, who typed the actor’s version of the story as she listened; this was then decoded by the computer into English and projected in the room next door on the gallery wall. The two hour duration of the piece, and the two rooms featuring different aspects of the performance, allowed the audience to hang around, here and there, until the end. Sometimes people would come in and try to catch up with those who remained in one room.
Real life is a bit like that. We are always missing out on something that a friend told us about and vice-versa. In Brazil, we have three or four soap operas on TV every night, played one after another. Growing up watching them, I quickly realised that the suffering character in one soap would get along with the happy character from the later soap. I started making up my own soaps. If only these characters could have met (they never did, except in my mind)... I have been working with this material. CH: I saw this work ‘Untitled’ (Showtime) as the projection of subtitles only, at a later exhibition. Is the work going to continue mutating through media? And, something that struck me, and relates to my first comment, is that you were very perceptive in how you positioned the text on the screen so that it instantly reads as subtitles. You have keen formal qualities in your work with language and text – positioning, font, and physicality of books. I would like to know more about what informs your sense of composition, or which artists? FMM: Yes, I took the first five minutes of the new film script created by the actor, typed by the stenographer, and made a new film without images, only with the text lower on the screen, referencing subtitles. I broke down sentences, to one, two, three, four parts, each showing on the screen at different times at different lengths, one after another. So
the first five minutes of the film script became much longer. I would like to make a book with the entire script. I definitely see this work mutating into new works in different formats. I worked as an assistant for a fashion photographer when I was younger, living in Brazil - he did work for Vogue magazine. He used to love placing lights projecting towards the front of the camera and I think I picked that up. So when I started photographing my own images I played with that, I cropped the picture when photographing. Maybe that’s when I started working with composition. 5) måg: It sounds as though it’s the space between understanding and not understanding - the space between communication and non-communication - that inspires you. Is this the ‘place’ where you explore, extend and challenge? FMM: It’s all about communication, misunderstandings, silence, non-communication. I made a work where I wore earplugs when meeting friends and strangers in the pub. If I can’t hear what they are saying, what happens then? Do they give up on me? How can I still engage? Do I try to speak with my eyes? Is an interesting situation created? Or will it fall apart? 6) måg: You recently took part in ‘Unfinished Exhibition’ in Stockholm, -a group show with a focus on unresolved works and reflections on making and completing works.
/MEDEIROS/ Your contribution to the exhibition was the work ‘A song that makes you feel you can do anything’ (2010-ongoing) which again is an exploration of language and the way in which we use words. Tell us about this exhibition and how your work found its place within it. FMM: ‘Unfinished Exhibition’ is an artwork in itself. ‘A song that makes you feel you can do anything’ is an artwork within an artwork. As in the ‘Examining My Own Practice’ (2004) and ‘It Depends on The Circumstance and the People’ (2005) exhibitions, I felt a need to create a context within which to address some issues in my practice and to open up for other artists to take part in these questions as a group through their own works. The title for the ‘Unfinished Exhibition’ is in fact much longer: Unfinished works, concepts in the sketch book, unrealised projects, there-is-something-missing works, works in the drawer, ongoing failed attempts, works in need of exhibition context to complete their meaning, works in need of commission, side projects, ongoing obsessive drawings, works I’ve been working on for a long time but never resolved, works I always wanted to make. 7) måg: This seems as if it is a
contemplation of failure, as well as acknowledging that failure is maybe the largest part of making work and that failure is a process rather than a result?
so I go with it. On a different note, the art market and institutions continually speak and write about process - risky, experimental work - but there is nearly zero investment in real experiment because there is a FMM: big chance the work will fail. It is a love affair with failure. An Though we all know interesting obsession. With the ‘Unfinished work involves risk-taking there Exhibition‘ we tried to explore is almost no support for it. It is failure as a process. The works hard to find anything free from we chose to engage with for the market stranglehold. This this show were fragile and it feeds into what most people seemed the three of us working think about art. The crazy thing together were drawn to that. is that failure is subjective. We did not give up on these works, we held on to them, CH: although our relationship with Hmm… I work or have worked them was frustrating, hopeless, for various institutions across and unreasonable at times. Europe, and from my experience I disagree! CH: There are sometimes logistical It often seems as though failure limitations (oh to be able to is a legitimate outcome and conjure up money, manpower proof of endeavour. I find this and time) but if the idea is appealing. right and the institution has the capacity to support it then we FMM: do! I was talking to an artist friend about the difficulties in our FMM: artistic practices, how hard we This is why I work sometimes, repeatedly, admire your work - because without getting anywhere. We you are not trying to fit art into thought about how this is the usual formats and you possible. Endeavour and failure have worked in institutions and are not enough without a bit countries which allowed you of success. That is what shapes to pursue your interests and to failure. realise them in a way not possible in most established 8) museums and galleries. I mean, måg: working in your pyjamas in the Does the notion of ongoing CAC Vilnius Kitchen with the work or unfinished work form artists, or curating part of how you contemporary crafts-based conceptualise and structure exhibitions and community the idea of a work? oriented projects. Isn’t the strength of your work the fact FMM: that you carefully choose the What is a finished work? It is context within which you more beautiful to operate so as to be able to acknowledge that the work is continue doing what you ongoing; then I can activate believe in? the work by engaging with it repeatedly when it seems 9) appropriate. It feels to me the måg: work wants to be more open Everyday performances such
/MEDEIROS/ as ‘Surprise’ (2008- ongoing) are intimate and only ‘available’ to small groups or selected individuals. How do you develop these concepts and what response have you had to the work? FMM: With ’Surprise’ I have created a few more smiles and a few less frowns from highly formal immigration personnel. It is interesting to think of audience in this case. The immigration officer, each time a different one, is part of the work. This work is so private and invisible in the larger world that it becomes huge, I think. ‘Surprise’ is not about the object, the audience, and the exhibition; people can put a post-it note with a heart on their passports next to their visa to see what happens. I made this work because I had this post-it note with a little red heart from something else I can’t remember. Probably I glued it to my passport page to save it and then later realised the implications of sticking it next to my visa. It was an opportunity to place a work very specifically without breaking any rules. The little red heart is universally cute, a drawing that lovers would make for each other. Instead, I share it with those who are not expecting to see a love heart -they’re checking a passport visa. There is a double message, the officer could think I am trying to bribe him or her. It is intended to cause an inoffensive instability. I was surprised when two officers at two different times, smiled
back at me. There is no documentation of that moment though. Going back to the relationship with the audience, everyone has private moments in their lives that are shared with one other person. I remember watching the end of the film ‘Lost in Translation’, when we, the audience, see the scene where the actress whispers in the actor’s ear. Without having access to what was said, the audience were left without knowing but we were meant to know we were not part of it, which is more important in this case. What do you think about this? måg: Yes, by hearing about your work ‘Surprise’ and visualising it, one’s own imagination makes us feel closer to the work as it exists within us. However, how can the meaning of such ‘hidden’ work be accessible, or made accessible? Or is that not relevant in the sense that it was a work meant to be experienced by the person checking the passport, and you; an intimate exchange of quite political and conceptual thoughts? FMM: I remember at Goldsmiths College I was making this work about secretiveness. There was a secret I wanted to communicate but keep it secret at the same time. I didn’t manage to work it out, it remained a secret. 10) måg: Although much of your work stems from personal experience, you strip down the personal so that it is out of context. The curator Vanessa
Desclaux writes: She takes away political statements and discourses, or personal memories recalled by a southern American girl, from their original context, creating collages of found images and sounds, and exploring their potential for inventing new fictions. How do you approach this process within your practice? FMM: It is a way of using the personal to the works’ advantage. It is a little like the Brazilian soap operas work I mentioned before, and my mixing them up to create new ones with their own stories. It’s a contemporary way of working - we can travel and experience more, in a short amount of time. I am not sure that my work stems from a personal experience per se. Not all my works function in the same way. However, when I made ‘Surprise’, ‘Scripted Conversations’, ‘I am Full’ (2009-ongoing) and ‘Untitled’ (2009), a series of photos taken of me while walking around Venice for two hours, by a professional Venetian photographer who usually takes pictures of groups of tourists sightseeing in the city), I was looking for ideas to make a new work when I realised I was doing these interesting things. Whether these works came about from a lack of ideas or a sort of ‘down time’, as a break from ‘making’, they felt spontaneous and exciting. The work knows more than the artist.
CH: This reminds me of the work you made during your lunches sitting on the Rotuses square in Vilnius spying on the people sitting in the space. Making work by looking for ideas through looking. FMM: Yes that work is called ‘By the people, for the people’ (2007). It was just a public square and people on their lunch break, but as I looked and filmed them there was so much - Lithuanian history, the story of each person, the enjoyment of the present and contemplation of the future. Then that became the film, looking. 11) måg: You are making work from your own experiences - not work about it, and this is where the strength of your work lies. How have you been able to achieve this? FMM: Maybe the difference is that the experience is the work. There is the first stage of making a work that I retain; I received some criticism for that. But the first take is always the best - the inadequacy, the not-so-figured-out-yet, is as important or more as the understood and resolved. CH: You have a particular way of approaching making work that I found refreshing when we first met. Your spontaneity serves you well and there is a lightness to many of your works, as if a switch has been flicked and that section of existence is designated ‘artwork’. Even your process-based or longer more laborious works have a
playfulness and personal feel that sustains engagement with the viewer. Do you consider honesty to be an important aspect of your practice? FMM: Well, I hate when someone makes the comment that a work is not good yet because there is not enough done to it, as if we needed to keep adding, changing, modifying, subtracting to make it worth it. Bread was considered the ultimate food because there were many human processes involved to make it and in the end there was this beautiful thing that smelled good. Compared with potatoes, that grew quite easily and independently after being planted in dirt under the ground; a not so dignified food, starvation being a better choice. There are a lot of artworks trying to fit into what art ‘should’ look like. I prefer the unfinished, the discarded. So maybe honesty, meaning ‘just as it is’, is more appealing.
With ’Surprise’ I have created a few more smiles and a few less frowns from highly formal immigration personnel
IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE Surprise 2008-Ongoing Passport, Post-it note, red ink, Immigration check-point Variable presentation format Image courtesy of the artist Unfinished 2010 Group exhibition with Haruhi Hayashi, and Beltran Obregon Variable presentation format Image courtesy of the artist Close-up of book produced on demand during the Unfinished Exhibition opening in Stockholm 2010 Riso printed book 148 x 210mm Image courtesy of the artist A song that makes you feel you can do anything 2010-Ongoing Collection of songs from different people, 4 A3 transcripts of email correspondence, speaker with songs playing Variable presentation format Images including a close-up detail of the work courtesy of the artist. LINK: www.flaviamullermedeiros.com
NORDISK KUNSTNARSENTER DALSÅSEN | ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE CENTER DALE I SUNNFJORD | NORWAY | www.nkdale.no | www.facebook.com/nkdale
Artist Cabins at Dalsåsen (detail) photo Laura Vuoma
Põhjamaad Gallerii Tartu, E
-Ytter’s partic contemporary ART IST KUKU Estonia 15-17.
de Paviljon i Noorus Estonia
cipation in the art festival NU UT Tartu, September 2011
Artists, curators gathered in Gallery Noorus for conversations Photo by: Ytter
With Ytter’s pink parachute as the backdrop, Nordic and Baltic contemporary artists and curators met in Gallerii Noorus. The intention was to discuss the possible meeting points between our practices. Within the framework of an exhibition, we also arranged a ‘hangover brunch’ as a transition between late opening nights and the academic talks. The background and experiences of each participant made the conversations interesting and fruitful. In this feature Ytter presents some of the programme from the Nordic pavilion through text and images.
Fanzines and other paper based work by the artists and curators where available in the gallery. Photo by: Ytter
About us: Ytter is an artist group consisting of four artists living and working in Bergen, the second largest city in Norway. We came together in 2008 while we were Masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s students at Bergen National Academy of the Arts, and started up a blog where we wrote, documented and discussed the local contemporary art field. Our motivation for starting up Ytter was to contribute to and to supplement the space of contemporary art and discourse. As practising artists we wanted to communicate our experiences and thoughts from a subjective point of view and use the knowledge our profession generates through direct connection with the field. At the start, we wished to focus on what was happening in Bergen and nearby, as well as publishing peripheral features on artists about whom nobody had written yet. In recent years our activity has expanded into initiating and organising exhibitions and art projects both in Norway and abroad.
Julie Lillelien Porter â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Reconstructionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; 2011 Scanned and reprinted photograph Photo by: Ytter
(far right) Vilde Andrea Brun ‘Towards Another Time’ Deconstructed photographs. Photo by: Ytter
The building of the Pavilion During spring 2011 the Estonian curator Rael Artel took part in a residency at Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen. In the course of her stay she visited Ytter’s office, where we had conversations about art, with good food and wine, many laughs, and after a while, a lot of dancing. In this meeting the idea of Ytter’s participation in ART IST KUKU NU UT was born. We were intrigued by Rael and Kaisa (Eiche)’s approach to hijacking Tartu Art Month, which had been going on for years in their hometown Tartu, and which also lends its name to the festival, the anagram ART IST KUKU NU UT. Their ambition to change the festival’s outdated format and content and their dedication to fill it with high-quality contemporary art, are combined with a willingness to take chances. Ytter was on this basis invited to arrange a seminar where Nordic and Baltic artists and curators could meet and converse about their various overlapping practices and professions.
We have an outspoken ambition that the language around art also should be defined by artists, as an important supplement to the language held by historians and theorists. We want to PUSH THE space for interaction between different positions within the audience: artists, writers, curators, students and academics.
From this starting point the idea grew into becoming The Nordic Pavilion, curated by Ytter - a light piss-take on the biennale rhetoric. It became an exhibition with work by Ytter, the Swedish artist Jacqueline Forzelius, and the Icelandic filmmaker and philosopher Haukur Mar Helgasson. As part of the exhibition we had three days of academic conversations, presentations and discussions in the gallery. For the program we invited our Nordic colleagues: Marie Nerland from Volt in Bergen; Steffen Håndlykken from Institute for Colour and 1857 in Oslo; and Roberto N. Peyre, from the Swedish artist-duo Blot, based in Stockholm. The Baltic and European guests were Anders Härm, curator and teacher at The Art Academy in Tallin; Helen Tammemäe, editor for Estonian magazine MÛÛRILETH; Neringa _erniauskait_, curator and editor of Lituanian www.artnews.lt; Ali MacGilp from London–based curator duo Norn Projects, and Estonian curator Rael Artel. The meeting points between our respective, multifaceted practices appeared to be especially interesting, and in many ways exactly what Ytter wished to emphasize: the blurring of roles and hierarchies within the field of contemporary art, and the focus on the value of art in itself. We have an outspoken ambition that the language around art also should be defined by artists, as an important supplement to the language held by historians and theorists. We want to push the space for interaction between different positions within the audience: artists, writers, curators, students and academics.
Thursday 15th September: Ytter in conversation with Roberto N. Peyre. The background for inviting Roberto was his curatorial practice with the duo Blot that he runs together with the artist Joyce Ip. He had drawn Ytter’s attention by curating the meta-exhibition Xism, within the travelling exhibition Vodou at the Ethnographic Museum in Stockholm this spring and summer. We wanted to learn more about how an independent artist and curator related to curating an exhibition within an extremely top-heavy, state-run institution. Roberto presented how the exhibition developed through an open and unexpected process between him and the museum where he originally had the role of advisor for the exhibition Vodou. During the progress of planning he intervened with his own ideas, and the outcome was Xism, an independent program of contemporary practices concerned with issues of religion, spirituality, performance and objects. Our conversation with Roberto raised several approaches to dilemmas such as: an object could be accepted as holy within the context of the Etnographic Museum, but is the same object believed to have an inherent power when it is presented as art? And what makes an object art?
/TEXT/ Friday 16th September: From Ytter’s conversation with artist Steffen Håndlykken. As ART IST KUKU NU UT very much depends on and relates to a context of self-organisation, it felt natural to start our conversation with Steffen by talking about the exact parameters of the institution as regards self-organisation. His work with Institute for Color started when The Art Academy in Oslo decided to close down this department of study when he was still a student on the course in 2006. He and his fellow students needed to organise their own curriculum in order to pass their degree. Institute for Colour has in later years organised and participated in various formats of exhibitions and practices both in Norway and Europe. Last year Steffen also established the exhibition space 1857 in Oslo together with Stian Eide Kluge. Steffen and Stian have a quite radical approach to how they run their gallery. They avoid calling themselves curators, although they curate most of the exhibitions. Instead they want to be as active as possible as artists within the making of the exhibition, which means that they to an extent help the exhibiting artist by ‘interfering’ in the exhibition process. This in turn demonstrates how much the personal and subjective influences art, and subsequently how it is made and how it is thought about. Subjectivity matters.
From left: Helen Tammerm채e, Julie Lillelien Porter, Anngjerd Rustand and Steffen H책ndlykken during his presentation. Photo by: Ytter
Anne Marthe Dyvi An (eatable) art work ‘Lukss’ Box of chocolates. Photo by: Ytter
Saturday 17th September: Seminar All the invited participants presented their projects as a starting point for further discussions with the audience. Amongst many exchanges of ideas and questions, a particular discussion about language deserves further examination. The Nordic and Baltic art scenes seem to have different practices when it comes to the participation of artists in the written language around art. While it is fairly common that Nordic artists criticise and participate in public discussions around art, Baltic artists rather seldom do this. The reason remains unclear. The conversation continued, discussing the relevance of the academic thesis that follows a Masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in Fine Art, or the text that follows a professional art practice. What is a relevant language for artists to use? Our Norwegian guest for the seminar on Saturday was artist and curator Marie Nerland. Marie has broad experience within
multidisciplinary formats and has been running theBergen-based exhibition space VOLT since 2008. Her projects tend to mix together international elements from theatre, performance, visual art and literature. As well as being the driving force of VOLT, Marie has worked as a producer for the experimental stage BIT Teatergarasjen, she started up the project Trete in 1996 (www.trete.no) and studied at Bergen National Academy of the Arts. This is how she ended her presentation: I think there is a lot of work to do in terms of inventing new formats. And how we think about, write about and curate contemporary art. To end with some open questions: What is it one wants to work with and fight for? What kind of art would one like to defend, for whom and why?
Links: www.artistkukunuut.org www.ytter.no
Read additional text by Jane Sverdrupsen on N|N http://www.nabroadnews.info/post/13396070325/text-jane-sverdrupsen
LELLO//ARNELL, (Detail) “Those Eyes; They Follow Me” 2011 Acrylic on wall-to- wall carpet 200cm x 150cm www.lelloarnell.com
29.02.12 måg issue SEVEN: Shannon Cochrane Maurice Blok Roi Vaara Sandra Johnston Carlos Monroy Jamie McMurry