There is a movement, much like a whisper from the ancient elevated classics via the masters of our time that flows through Emma Bjurströms painting. She amplifies and throws new light directly at that which previously existed in the background. By her hand it ends up in the foreground and become revitalized with great precision. Bjurström comment her painting-style as a counter-reaction to the understanding itself, the human desire to divide and categorize. Yet the canvas reveals the motifs vigorously without hindering its enigma. That is the magic of it yet not becoming some exulted realism. One gets sucked inside the paintings and blissful are those who gets the chance to see them, but for a while.
There is an imaginary taboo, a barrier if you like surrounding the idea of updating the classic masterpieces. They often stand for themselves, and there is a collective agreement letting them stand over yonder. Much like the German painter Neo Rauchs’ figurative works that concist of abstract and surreal colours, Bjurström challenges this strain of thought and dares the forbidden. It is just like a performative dictum when the judge announces “I hereby sentence you to” or the religious master of ceremonies says “I now declare you man and wife” to succumb into her paintings. The collective view changes the thing in itself, what used to to in a certain way has changed into something new. The background turn into foreground, all that is hidden is unveiled and everything seems to be in perfect harmony. Is Bjurström the judge and our master of ceremonies? To define change, one needs a now and a then.
Deformation is change in form or size in an object when different loads/materials are added. The classics whisper from one side, and the new ones stand as a reflection in the mirror but changed. The collective has been present in the process and testifies that the change is ready, yes something has transformed. We all agree on this, so the question is where do we sign? Deformation does not necessarily have to mean something ugly or negative, but rather like in all creative prcesses give birth to new ideas, realizations and relationships via the old materials or ideals. In a world that according to our collective mindset is dualistic, these things have to stand in dialogue with each other. Bjurström communicates this via her painting, but also so much more.
Modern times have tried to separate reason and feeling, everything shall be in its right place and the wavelenght needs two points. Bjurström uses all this but explores the new boundries that exist, that which is borderless and elevated.
With Lewis Baltz, Anna Boghiguian, Tanya Busse & Joar Nango, Nina Canell, Tyler Coburn, Zachary Formwalt, Bodil Furu, Núria Güell & Levi Orta, Erik Holmstedt, Anton Kats & Maia Urstad, Daniel Keller, Sam Lewitt, Park McArthur, Sean Snyder, Diamond Stingily, Ulla Wiggen
Contemporary society is shaped by flows of capital, networks of people and information that connect distant parts of the world and various levels of social productivity. This winter, Bergen Kunsthall presents an extensive exhibition that deals with ‘circulation’ as a central notion in current socio-political and economic conditions, and presents the work of 19 international artists.
Opening 11.10 16-20
Intervention 11.10.18 at 19.00
Intervention with guest 10.11.18 at 16.00
The force of destruction enables something new, much like a Phoenix from Greek mythology obtains renewed life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Life in death or vice versa is what Anastasia Ax reflects in her art or being the third axis in the dichotomy. The gypsum works, made with pink newspaper from the financial section, connects five different plasterboards, in which diverse scars creates patterns and marks representing the vulnerability of the relation between humankind and our marks in the environment, as well as the scars humans inflict upon each other. This presupposes communication since leaving a trace somewhere demand action, and what deliberate non-action leave in the polarisation of relationships. Anastasia Ax represent this action via the cold and hard plasterboards which she brings back to life similar to the Phoenix. Through this dissolution Anastasia takes the higher ground stance by embracing the versatility of the material.
In her studio Anastasia told me about her desire to enable a new reading of the material, liberating the plaster from its chains. She sees it as soulful, even though the material itself may be harsh and not yet revived in the cyclical loop of materials predisposition, she becomes an element in that process. In enabling an animation of the material Anastasia is the pilot, her dialogue with the plasterboard the co-pilot and the “machine” the whole work in its entirety. Ergo, none of them could exist without the others in this trinity-crew. Seeking the truth of the material one has to go beyond the material, expand into another dimension utilizing the body and material to achieve the third axis in the dichotomy.
All this manifest in her performance using fragments from previous acts and exhibitions. Close to a reminiscing retrospective, she uses pieces that not only look back to what has been but what lies in the future, building something that connects the two points in her oeuvre. All these fragments compose a new whole, and the material regains life in the performance. Piles of gypsum and slices of pink-paper move around in the live act as Anastasia pilots the fragments to re-activate these memories of the past. They function as artefacts, and the relation between them is amplified so the audience can hear the sound of them scraping against each other, the surface upon which they interact and the intuition of Anastasia Ax’s movement. Reminding of an archaeological site, delimited we are all standing alongside looking down and hearing new discoveries and relations. Anastasia holds the magnifying glass like an archaeologist showing the viewer the deeper meaning of her finds, at the same time giving the materiality life back.
“A wavelength is a measure of distance between two identical peaks (high points) or troughs (low points) in a wave — a repeating pattern of traveling energy like light or sound.”
In W A V E L E N G T H, Julius Göthlin creates the desire to wake up amid the wavelengths betwixt high and low points that we constantly move back and forth from. Like currents in the sea, or wind in the trees one can also surmise this movement in the paintings. The minute details and artistry explore the dualism and discrepancy between the peaks of modern society. The meditative movement is pierced right through the high and low points by something that calls out for attention – a critique of the critique, a movement that perhaps too often cradles us into an insincere conviction of truth. With this pulsation I come to think of Symphony No. 94 written by Joseph Hayden, commonly known as the Surprise Symphony, in which he baffles the aristocratic audience with a sudden fortissimo that was sure to wake all who slumbered. The audience of today have buried their thought and mind in their smartphones, in desperate need of that sudden fortissimo.
Being interconnected and constantly filling all voids with meaningless (fake)-news, W A V E L E N G T H produces this very much needed anti-thesis of today. In western society we are nowadays predisposed to having it all, never experiencing the spikes and low points of life. The pulsation, or movement in the works by Julius Göthlin function as a filling fabric of the polarization of today, building a bridge over the void that steal our attention from what once was so important. News or fake news, climate change or denial, rich or poor, the dualism goes on for all eternity. W A V E L E N G T H is here to give meaning to all that which is pointless, with its spikes between the high and low points in the Creation as a commentary of the bizarre today, where everything is abundant. In the process of the airbrush-technique, Julius Göthlin never touches the canvas. Yet the trail of his thought and work is present. Once again, we all are called to ponder the dualism of life and art.
When gazing upon the works of Hilde Retzlaff, a re-arrangement of the soul often takes place: meaningless rubbish, seamless without cause left somewhere, suddenly appears as a possible morpheme in a ghostlike language of presence. Consider the Kafkaesque idea that the Great wall of China actually was meant as a fundament for the Tower of Babel. If truth proved to be utterly above us, should we still strive for it? It’s a Nietzschean question to ponder when the sculptures and images of Retzlaff prove themselves belonging to an underlying text. And even if that language would be inaccessible for the eyes, the same would open the art for other feelings, such as fear, cowardice, hope, courage and longing. They must carry on as a filter for art and life. That language is produced behind our backs, and even behind the back of the system. Retzlaff has made works out of pieces from billboards. But she’s not using the pictures from the ads, but what’s produced when additional layers are glued on ads. Overtime, the prints have overlapped each other, letting letters from different layers blend and be edited by the spontaneity of the material. What we see is a palimpsest, in which different eras and contextures mix into something new that has no human communicative intention. It is our surrounding. Sometimes we tell ourselves that it has meaning, that it wishes to say something. The spirit of the age, or rather the age of the spirit.
Art will not settle with realism, and its ideas don’t need to be real to get real: already as possibilities they exist and affect. Technological cinder (for example packing material or imprints) might be only technological cinder, but just as true is that it just the same transforms into something else.
Even a potentially dormant language can exist as a language, which even though it might not exist can insist. Cowardice clings onto what is, while the tendencies which can be experienced requires a wee bit courage, hope or fear to be observed. A lot of the conflicts in our time deal with this, tendencies versus facts, courage versus cowardice, the Tower of Babel versus the Wall. What insists is possibly a subsistence, who might just be waiting for the right conditions. Tardigrades are very small creatures in the animal kingdom, who can enter a cryobiotic state as long as matter is held together. Thus, they are dead. At more favourable circumstance they once more may return to life.