Bigert & Bergström
Bigert & Bergström
Bigert & Bergström
Curated by Saskia Neuman
The foundation for the exhibition Interior / Exterior / Sculpture is the relationship between the artists’ own personal story and history. Investigating exterior architecture in their immediate surroundings: buildings, parks and playgrounds as well as architecture from further afield. At times paring these investigations with actual studies of the physical body.
The sculptures and reliefs are, in instances, extensions of the artists’ persona and – their own physicality. In both Fattal and Pyszczek’s work there are apparent and very direct links to their personal heritage, which ties into larger histories – that of European history: WWII and the decline of the Iron Curtain. Whereas Safavi creates a red thread between exterior influences, building and surfaces, with the exterior of the human body, establishing a very intimate and personal meeting point within her metal sculptural structures.
Pyszczek explores Polish murals. Decorative pastels figures and shapes painted directly on facades of residential buildings, eschewing the blanket of the Cold War aesthetic by completely embodying the narrative of the time: tertiary beautification in an attempt to dissuade the eye from seeing – processing. The artist does not stop there; Pyszczek examines building exterior, playgrounds and a plethora of architectural elements in Poland – the artists’ birthplace. We are encouraged to participate on his journey. Flashes of memory recognized in how the artist deals with the physicality of the sculptures and reliefs, mimicking windows or components of a playground jungle gym.
Amir Fattal focuses on the exterior imagery of the imaginary German Village. In 1943 a military experiment with Erich Mendelsohn at the helm. Using Mendelsohn’s experience as an architect in Berlin, the American army constructed life-size versions of Berlin tenements. With the intention to – in the artists own words, ‘efficiently destroy them’. The images were taken from the American army archive and are juxtapositioned against blocks of color. These colors were taken from the Mendelsohn archive, and originally used in buildings Mendelsohn designed and built in Berlin during the 1920s, prior to escaping Germany for the U.S. Here, Fattal examines his current surroundings. Through the reliefs the artist express’s a complex relationship between pre and post war architecture, and the usage of architecture as a tool for both construction and destruction.
Vanessa Safavi surveys bodily form and how it can be expressed through material and elements often connected with exterior functionality. Safavi combines several layers of art historical references along with cultural references, mirroring her own background. The artist uses the myriad of cultural influences, married with her constant travel, expressing these in her approach to sculpture. Working with hard metals to create soft properties. Here, originality mingles with exoticism, pooling into a colorful pop culture take on minimalism. Allowing these ‘bodies’ space to breath, deliberately playing with the contradictions that arise in her practice. The sculptures represent a somber approach to a vivid exploration of creating a dialogue between the exterior of say a building and the familiar embrace of a recognizable entity, a safe space.
When I interviewed Ilja Karilampi in the spring of 2014, he drew an analogy between being an artist and working as a detective inspector. Both being professions on the fringe of society, they work meticulously to solve things, more often than not using unorthodox methods. They have irregular working hours, always being on duty. They see patterns that no one else can see. They never give up. Seeing his new work, these similarities begin to dawn upon me.
In Faze Miyake, symbols and references taken from society and popular culture are interweaved with transient expressions of identity and selfhood. Brand logos and stylized icons are combined with personal quotes and images on large boards of plexiglas or aluminium, not unlike the collages of suspects and clues seen in detective TV-series. And not unlike the series’ designated star, Ilja Karilampi takes the spectator through a maelstrom of traces and signs, where every element suggests a deeper underlying story and a new dimension of truth.
In the case of Faze Miyake, Karilampi gives way to a myriad of voices and characters, all filtered through his strikingly simple visual language. One of them is the exhibition’s eponym, Faze Miyake, a British-Pakistani DJ and producer, who in his weekly Rinse.fm radio shows bring out the latest and most progressive tracks from the underground music scene. With music being one of Karilampi’s main sources of inspiration, Faze Miyake becomes a symbol for the new and unconventional, what the artist himself would describe as next level. Disguised behind a fictitious moniker, Faze Miyake also serves to illustrate the mystifying of pop culture and their public personas, a recurrent theme in Karilampi’s practice.
Another character included in the exhibition is Swedish artist and director Axel Petersén, whose upcoming thriller Under the Pyramid inspired several of the exhibition’s most recent works, made as possible set design for the movie. A third voice is Nhu Duong’s, fashion designer and friend of Karilampi’s, whose name figures in one of the plexiglas pieces, superimposed on a stylized fence patterns next to a trefoil knot symbol and an excerpt in Arabic.
Together, the various characters create an erratic narrative, unfolding in three parts. The first one, presented in the front room of the gallery, contains large-scale boards of laser cut plexiglas mounted in sculptural aluminium frames, while the second one comprises similar works in engraved aluminium. To get to the final part of the exhibition, one has to go through a balcony door and step into a UV-lit backroom, where a couple of brightly coloured wall-pieces are accompanied by soundtrack.
The most extensive exhibition of Karilampi’s work to be shown in Sweden, Faze Miyake is a meandering exposé of the artist’s multilayered universe, a fragmentary story told through a number or characters and scenes, symbols and signs. Moving between the representational and the self-reflective, the exhibition is a meditation on the times we live in as much as a self-portrait, a cold case with no solution in sight.
Our current exhibition on Jakobs torg 3 will feature a solo-presentation by Alexander Gutke (b. 1971), a Swedish-born artist with a mainly international presence. His approach to installation, film and sculpture is conceptual and minimalist, yet there is often a surreal component that can seem animistic, due to an esoteric focus on the technical media that has delivered many of our pop-cultural experiences.
Belenius/Nordenhake will present for the 2015 edition of ARCOmadrid three recent videos by Alexander Gutke from a series of five; Draw (2014), zoom in on some minimal theatrical spectacles of spontaneously combusting vintage matchbooks. Unfolding through changing image formats, Gutke`s seductive sequences, similarly to previous film-based works, reveal a studious process and dramaturgy. Held against a monochrome dark background, the torch-like fires appear like calibrated hourglasses measuring “their own time”, each burning, then fading away at a slightly different pace leaving only a smoke trail before the picture turns black again and the looped performance restarts.
The work Loud, loud (2014) was made specifically for Belenius/Nordenhake’s first exhibition with Alexander Gutke; it is a 137,5% enlarged brass replica of a Marshall Amp volume knob displayed centrally on a large wall of its own, attuned to the scale and proportions of its immediate surroundings. Inspired by his subjective experience of similairities between intense noise and total silence, referencing the sounds in space of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the piece continues in a line of replica works with their considerable set of references to the heydays of analogue technology and music history.
At certain times, dates and places, pedestrians halt, traffic stops and silence ensues. For just a moment, generally counted in minutes, the world is a frozen arrow pointing at the thought of something important, so important that it should never be forgotten. As a meditative memento on the importance of a collective memory, we have compiled a series of these moments into a film. Together these sampled minutes of silence reflect one of few activities that bring people together regardless of religion, race or cultural background.
The archival material outlines a mute history of tragedy and grief, often staged against a backdrop of natural disasters and violent conflict. But the footage is also a reminder of the stoic nature of humans, never accepting the horrors of terror attacks, war or rogue killers.
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The Moderna Exhibition 2014, Moderna Museet, Malmö
Participating artists: AaBbPp, Patrik Aarnivaara, Emanuel Almborg, Cezary Bodzianowski, Maja Borg, Eglė Budvytytė & Bart Groenendaal, Zenta Dzividzinska, Ugnius Gelguda & Neringa Černiauskaitė, Johanna Gustafsson Fürst, Joachim Hamou, Maj Hasager, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Laura Kaminskaitė, Tadeusz Kantor, Essi Kausalainen, Agnieszka Kurant, Anna Lundh, Henning Lundkvist, Maija Luutonen, Björn Lövin, J.O. Mallander, Jonas Mekas, Miks Mitrēvics & Kristīne Kursiša, Kristina Norman, Michala Paludan, Lea Porsager, Emily Roysdon, Imri Sandström, Algirdas Šeškus, Janek Simon, Ola Ståhl & Terje Östling, Mika Taanila, Anna-Stina Treumund & Marju Mutsu, Ola Vasiljeva, Visible Solutions LLC, Tris Vonna-Michell, Mette Winckelmann.
Curator: Andreas Nilsson. Co-Curator: Maija Rudovska. Assistant Curator: Julia Björnberg.
More news about: Johanna Gustafsson Fürst