Belenius

Based on a true story.
Based on true actual events that may appear out of order.

Egyptian Noir at the brink of 2016.
An investigation in the museum of paranoia.
Eighteen motives. All but dead ends.

Platform 1 or 2 / Khamsin retreat
En route Presidential
New year, old Salat
Trapology / once a safe house
Scrub of the Sudan
Death of a trickster / RIP Omar Sharif
Wash away Jetty
Paper airline / a wet-lease voyage
River Nile to Le Caire
Urman vapor
Port of Esna 3
Mr Swellam’s very last client X
Snack break / The Mokattam rendezvous
The Cultural Attaché
Morning shower / it runs deep
Cleopatra’s 2nd exit / grotto
The Cataract affair(s)
Labyrint of Mövenpick

Axel Petersén (born 1979, Stockholm) is a visual artist and filmmaker who has made a variety of films, videos and video installations that have been shown in art galleries, institutions, film festivals and cinemas worldwide, e.g.; Gallery Niklas Belenius, Dumbo Arts Center NYC, Venice Film Festival, BAAD Gallery Tel Aviv, Arkitektur Museum Stockholm, Favorite Goods Los Angeles, Palais de Tokyo, Galleri Arnstedt Östra Karup, Museum Reina Sofia, GOOD TV, Berlin International Filmfestival, DETOUR Cairo, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Toronto Film Festival, Galleri Bastard Stockholm and OVNI Barcelona.

Axel Petersén is educated at FAMU, the Czech film school, The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and the Mountain School of Arts in Los Angeles. He is currently based in Stockholm.

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On 16 January, the artist duo Bigert & Bergström open their exhibition The Freeze at Belenius/Nordenhake in Stockholm. The exhibtion
documents the artists’ rescue action to preserve the southern peak of Mount Kebnekaise, a glacier that has been continuously melting for several decades, which has now come to threaten its status as Sweden’s highest point.

A sculptural weather station with four video monitors showcases the work, from the swaddling of the mountain peak in reflective gold fabric, to the path of the meltwater as it descends into one of the world’s biggest mines deep underground. The core work of the exhibition, “Rescue Blanket for Kebnekaise,” is a full-scale replica of the covered mountain peak, but split down the middle so that visitors can walk through it and discover the segmented interior of the glacier, of which only a shell remains.

In addition, there is a memorial sculpture of the southern peak as it looked in 2014, in reflective stainless steel. Alongside these sculptures, one of the artist duo’s Inverted Space Molecules – with spherical 360° panorama pictures from Kebnekaise – is presented. Also on show is a new series of photographic glass montages with material from the project of blanketing the peak.

“The rapid melting of the southern peak was front-page news in the summer of 2014,” Bigert & Bergström say. “If it continues at the same pace, the peak will no longer be Sweden’s highest point. Our intervention to prevent the glacier’s melting is a symbolic geo-engineering performance that represents humanity’s ability to change the climate for better or for worse.”

The Freeze is the third in a series of exhibitions in which Bigert & Bergström investigate mankind’s desire to control the climate, the weather and their own living conditions through geo-engineering. Previous exhibitions in the series include The Storm (2012) and The Drought (2013).

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Willem Andersson presents a selection of new paintings and sculptures in his latest solo exhibition “It Came Back and Larger” for reasons others may not ever pinpoint. That is Andersson’s trick—exercising his power to present work which seldom relates to the actual. There is no guarantee that his stimuli will enliven, influence or even bless those who stumble upon them. This Delphic collection mirrors and refracts, to an extent, previous work by the artist, as he highlights a coincidental connection to the poetry of Elizabeth Clark Wessel.

Andersson’s oeuvre cajoles with the cryptic and parenthetical; what is unsaid, implied or hidden can  hold more worth than what obviously stands—especially, if the factual proves to be hypocritical or torturous. There is value in the uncanny, if even oddly wicked or thwarted in its surreal composition. Do the times beg for a new witchcraft? For better or worse, the tripwire between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ has been set off. The manic and rare roam within the walls of the white cube. Andersson’s obscurantist graphics fuel a preternatural alternative; it is the abnormal that we lust after—the clinamen, anomaly, freak. His new works present voluptuous figures suffocating in an oily, ebony substance, and other shapes drown in bulbous gold. Certain globular organisms are destined to be terminally alone, and others cling together—slick limbs bound in a macabre permutation of Henri Matisse’s La Danse (1909).

As in the poetic verse of Jorge Luis Borges, Arthur Rimbaud and John Ashbery, the conclusion is never as remarkable as the scene which stages the phantasmagorical framework, with words crafted to allow for a hushed soliloquy or unreal tension. Relayed via voice or with visual catalysts such as Andersson’s faceless docile crowds, his fertile towers, suited phantoms of anonymity, eclipsing planets, ethereal kings, spiral staircases to Hell & back, silent sirs, askew séances, doll house dimensions, alien soldiers donning shimmery medallions once territorializing escapist realms and uneasy nations never to exist, or conventional sheep infinitely swayed by the herd—his archive of feral panoramas entice those intrigued by raw possibility. Objects and faces appear in other works in a layered, meta-referential manner.

In these works, words easily become image, or vice versa, in an ekphrastic interplay of  transmutation. One may attempt to enter a room and remain intact upon exit, but it’s not recommended to shun someone’s tenacity. Usually painful or awkward, one may gaze upon the sublime and realize that returning to the usual grind or safe pattern is no longer feasible. Art remains as dangerous as religion; similar to its heavenly verse, a creation’s impact on an arbitrary entity is not guaranteed to placate. A once harmless image or view can easily trigger a response for justifiable revolt. A nominal shift may ignite magnified consequences in a more complex system—i.e., The Butterfly Effect. An artwork can be noted as natural phenomenon, similar to the wind’s direction or a virus, yet Andersson’s exhibited inscape resembles a shiv. Works initially embedded within one’s dream state are precarious; they illuminate (carve?) lucid pathways once overlooked or masked.

In The Gift of Death, Jacques Derrida refers to the philosophy of Jan Patoĉka who relates secrecy or ‘the mystery of the sacred’ to responsibility: “ ‘The demonic is to be related to responsibility; in the beginning such a relation did not exist’ […] the demonic is originally defined as irresponsibility, or, if one wishes, as nonresponsibility. It belongs to a space in which there has not yet resounded the injunction to respond; a space in which one does not yet hear the call to explain oneself [répondre de soi], one’s actions or one’s thoughts, to respond to the other and answer for oneself before the other.” Let us say that in this space before responding, there exists justification for a possessed rapture, for liberty, where the ‘self’ comes before the ‘other.’ Unabashed self-love is a prerequisite to enjoy Andersson’s abstruse aesthetic; one who succumbs to the interfering sentiments of others may never be affected by the image or object. The artist flirts with secrecy; he toys with coded visuals which offer access to a once private wilderness. But the ‘welcome’ falls short for those chained to responsibilities—for the trapped. Like death, sleep is a gift. Andersson’s netherworld motivates the living to migrate, hunt and find—so as to return full-force.

– Jacquelyn Davis

 

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The Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris is presenting CO-WORKERS – Network as Artist: a selection of international artists trained during the 2000s whose innovative practices are largely based on networking. Scenography by the New York collective DIS and with the curatorial participation of 89plus, the exhibition foregrounds a new artistic language taking its inspiration from Internet resources. The Musée d’Art moderne has opted for dividing CO-WORKERS between two sites, each with its own emphasis: Network as Artist at ARC and Beyond Disaster at Bétonsalon –Centre for Art and Research.

www.mam.paris.fr

Space is Only Noise

01.10—01.11.2015

Alexander Gutke
Olle Bærtling
Julius Göthlin
Lars Englund
Sara Wallgren
Sophie Tottie

“Space is only noise if you can see
Space is only noise if you can see”

— Nicolas Jaar

Belenius/Nordenhake welcomes you to “Space is Only Noise”; a group exhibition featuring works by six distinguished Swedish artists employing minimal concepts and aesthetics. While these artists share a tradition, they come from nearly as many different generations and approaches.

Starting with the centerpiece of the exhibition, we are proud to present a towering black metal sculpture by Olle Bærtling (1911–1981). His idea of the “open form” made him famous as the frontman of Swedish minimalist painting, yet it could be argued that this concept becomes fully delineated in his sculptures. “YAYAN” from 1971, is a work closely related to YAYAO, part of the collection of Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris.

The backdrop to the sculpture is made up of an early work of Alexander Gutke’s (b 1971) that was recently shown at his solo-exhibition at Kunsthaus Baselland earlier this summer. “Horizon” (2000) is a seemingly endless number of days stamped directly unto to the wall for it’s entire length; a figure so great we are rendered unable to fathom it – it becomes an abstract illusory image of a line, similar to how the horizon is concealing the rest of the earth behind it. Also present in the room is a new large spray painting on paper by young Stockholm-based artist Julius Göthlin (b. 1984), who has mainly been preoccupied with highly geometric and labour-intensive paper collages and drawings since his graduation from the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. The associative series bring to mind telescope images of nebulas and galaxies, while on the same time looking like X-rays and microscopic images, alluding perhaps to the long journey from outer space to the smallest molecule in Charles and Ray Eames “Powers of Ten,” 1977.

In the far corner hangs a relatively small but shiny square brass plate by Sophie Tottie (b 1964), scratched with countless circles reaching out to the edges. It is the sketch to a pending public installation in Linköping with several large and similarly etched brass disks, and closely related to a recently inaugurated public installation in Uppsala.

Present in the exhibition is strange mechanic humming sound, interrupted by beeps and noises. In Sara Wallgren’s “La Ritournelle,” (French for “refrain”) 2015, a sound recording from the Apollo 10 mission is edited to contain no telecommunications. Noise is also the topic of her three paintings in the second room; she visualises this by covering the raw linen completely with dots made from pencils of various shades.

​At the end of the exhibition we find an important symmetrical relief from Sweden’s foremost minimal sculptor Lars Englund (b.1933). The organic works from his “Pars Pro Toto”-series were exhibited in the Nordic Pavillion of the Venice Biennial in 1978; this early piece is from 1980.

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Belenius/Nordenhake is proud to open the first solo exhibition in Sweden by Emma Bernhard. Born in Stockholm 1981, Emma Bernard received a BA in philosophy at the St. Louis University in Madrid, a BA in painting at St. Martins, London, and a BA in sculpture at Wimbledon College of Arts, London.

Every action, every prejudice and every word has been used before. They have been thought and planted before we had an opportunity to stop them.

If we look back, we can trace the reactions to our history, hoping the choices we make today will influence the future. The guilt of how our society looks and acts is linked, as is its future, while we constantly pass this guilt onto each other. But we are only adding another layer to an unchanging history.

To retreat into one’s history is to surrender to our own weakness; to run from it is the same. To meet, understand, and then refuse to accept this history as a self-definitive truth is to take responsibility for the time in which we live. Our history cannot change, but should be questioned as a basis for our thought patterns.

We fail and should meet our own shortcomings with the same intensity as we meet others’. If not, how can we take each other seriously?

My sculptures and paintings fail. They fall into pieces if you walk into them. They fail on their own theories. They fail in their unsuccessful lines. They have fallen out of someone else´s scale of worth.

They stumble on their own language and try to make up for it by finding a home in their history. The created stability is fleeting and balance must at all times be restored. All parts are essential in their ability to create a collective value.
A lot of these parts have been thrown away, others are not worth more than their form, and for the rest, carrying the others is their only purpose.

I keep thinking that we humans are collages of other people’s heritage, other people’s behaviours and aesthetics, both on an individual and on a social level. We only exist in relation to others and others exist only because of us.

In the need to define our existence, not through our own need or through our fellowship with others, but in the competition with each other and our separate histories, we hide our personal frailty, while weakening it even more.

Change, if it will be more than just another layer, has to start in our will to criticize ourselves; our willingness to share historical guilt and consequently the responsibility for our future. Dependence shouldn´t be shameful but worn with pride, not a sign of weakness but of strength.

Maybe acceptance is hidden in our inability to stand-alone.

/Emma Bernhard

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The organization of global distribution boils down to the never-ending effort of moving things from one place to the next. It is exceedingly important to pay attention to all forms of circulation, and remember that even seemingly frictionless systems of distribution still have high costs of attrition.

Lisa Trogen Devgun has undertaken a deep investigation into the utilitarian beauty of form materialized in modern packaging and shipping crates. Put into contrast with what idealists describe as the immateriality of digital distribution, her engagement with the proverbial materiality of shipping crates puts the toxic beauty of globalization into the limelight of the white cube.

Until we ship crates for their own sake, as objects of beauty, what Devgun does is the closest we will get to experience the overlooked aesthetics of those things that carries all other things.

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The elaborate, almost architectural pieces of Devgun examines the properties of packaging on different scales. The delimited space created by any room is alluded to by unfolded crates and sheer utilitarian insulation boards. Empty boxes come to stand in for us, take us in as equals, and smooth over the failures of socialized perception.

In the exhibition at Belenius/Nordenhake we are met by lightweight transformer-like shipping crates interlocked in barriers; deconstructed boxes signaling an uncanny unraveling of space. What’s more, we are also invited and swallowed whole in slick metallic space.

When enveloped in low thermal conductivity—where circulation comes to a stop—one starts thinking soothing things. The inside of an aluminum-coated room clears a racing mind.

This, however, is no exercise in relationality, there are no tensions between spectator and Devgun’s objects of art—In a world of objects, packaging is all.

/Mats Carlsson

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