Anastasia Ax – Linear A


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.

Valter Sydén

Review in Omkonst:

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CHART Art Fair, Copenhagen


Bigert & Bergström
Nadine Byrne
Inez Jönsson
Camilla Løw
Anders Sletvold moe
Ulla Wiggen

Together with Elastic gallery




“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.

Valter Sydén

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Hilde Retzlaff — Text


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.

Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen

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Monopol, a group show @Spritmuseum during Sthlm Art Week, April 12-15 2018. A collaboration between Belenius, Johan Berggren Gallery and Elastic Gallery.

Catrin Andersson [SE]
Willem Andersson [SE]
Julia Bondesson [SE]
Rodolfo Diaz Cervantes [MX]
Johanna Gustafsson Fürst [SE]
Öyvind Fahlström [SE]
Inez Jönsson [SE]
Camilla Løw [NO]
Anderas Mangione [SE]
Przemek Pyszczek [CA]
Seth Price [US]
Rosemarie Trockel [DE]

Karl Norin — Justitia


It is extraordinary how much actually can be said about the works of Karl Norin in this exhibition. A lot of it is quite evident – for example how decorative and aesthetic they are, and yet this needs to be said nonetheless, as it shows the peculiar dynamics which makes the works menacing, under-mining and destabilizing. It’s not out of pure theoretical interest one asks oneself whether the works are objects, paintings or photography, it’s to know oneself and the works since they have a ghostlike presence in them, another figure in the corner of the eye. They come through as objects in a sleepless nursery during night-time. When Norin have emptied, painted and pressed together stuffed animals a picture emerges that holds serious painting skills, but also a strain of photography, collage, prints and posters. And yet it’s not only the work that is an object, but also the depicted object. Look at the ribbons on the teddy bears! They look as though they were pasted in, but they are really real! The works are permeated of this ghastly fusion of picture and reality, like when one is dreaming that one is dreaming, and no longer knows what is.

Taking a step back to see the whole picture it occurs to me that via these mild soothing colours and the funny fancies, pure terror emerges from the works. I come to think about Michelangelo’s fresco “The Last Judgement”, but in this case without the kingdom of heaven. In the centre a judging teddy bear, from left to right a hinted half circle motion. In Michelangelo’s fresco the damned lay down in the right corner. The emptiness of these teddy bears suddenly hit me, their stuffing all gone. I think of worn out people and how they wander about like fragile shells. In the fresco the artist painted himself as an empty costume of skin. The realization that the teddy bear most likely is not a prize from an amusement park sparks a grim vision of how random reality has become. “One day you’re a CEO, the next day a taxi driver and then a broker”, as someone said in a documentary. The medieval lady Fortuna has been reinstated as an example in society and hence every day is one of judgment. It is not divine justice that’s moulded in this fresco, but the fate of Man in a society where social and economic justice comes from debt companies. Being poor and getting caught in their claws produces penal fees after fees, everlasting suffering and judgment.

Yet it’s the teddy bears I see under a watery surface, and they are beautiful. What must an artist do? Kierkegaard compared the poet with a Greek tool of torture, the brazen bull. Some poor sod was locked inside of it, and they would make a fire beneath it, just to hear the screams of the one trapped in it. For Kierkegaard it was all about the poets’ torment of the soul, for Norin perhaps more about the social and economic interests of the artist; stress, chance, the market turned rollercoaster and the artist as a teddy bear for capital owners and bureaucrats – what do I know? That’s the way I see it. Just like one can marvel before the style of traditional painting, and its colours movement and depth, its way to the surface – it’s still a wonder! Art contains both sides, the beautiful surface, the living depth, and the agonies of the precariat. Ever some form of fundamental ambiguity: one’s’ life is really as a “cry in space” infinitely insignificant, but nonetheless to oneself realties centre and the most important thing there is. Being both a teddy bear and Jesus – fathom that, whoever can……..

Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen

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