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That punk attitude

  • We decided to take our easterly tour of Oslo’s art exhibitions from the middle out, beginning at OCA where we observed Anders Sunna “scenography” for “M– USEUMS ON FIRE”, later we moved to Schloss to look at a VERY prominent projector installation, before we ended our tour looking at a painting with attitude at RAM galleri.

    First things first, “M– USEUMS ON FIRE” was a symposium at OCA that happened April 20-21 in which indigenous and non-indigenous artists, writers and curators discussed the role an institution plays in the exhibition of indigenous art. We will get deeper into the symposium itself and its surrounding topics later. For now, let’s talk about the look of the scenography. Sunna is a young sami artist, often using traditional sami symbols mixed with graffiti, reindeers, weapons.

    The weird thing is to call this a “scenography”. It’s not an exhibition, mind you.

    What is a scenography anyways?

    In Norwegian it’s a quite common word, but not in English. Maybe you would say “mis en
    scène”, or set design. The visual stuff on a stage.

    Aa, well I would settle for some kind of definition in the press release at least. It sounds like one of those international art language words you would only find in theory text books. We could have a whole symposium on scenography

    Anyways, this scenography, it looks very much like Urban Outfitters to me, like Urban Outfitters only 10 years ago. The wooden floors, the skeletons, this plastic fence, graffiti on the walls…

    Ya, the stage could just be a skate ramp. It leaves me feeling a little sad. Is it really like that cool to imitate your own cultural appropriators?

    It could be cool, but then you would have to alter it, add something?

    I have so many problems with skeletons, they’re like: this is how you will look like when you’re
    DEAD!

    I know, I know, I will DIE ONE DAY. I KNOW.

    I like the trees though, bringing part of the forest and “vidda” to the city.

    Yeah, me too, the trees are nice.

    There’s also the noose with a queue machine, a butcher’s ticket to death sort of thing… And Darth Vader clad in Sami clothing printed on the wall behind the gallows. Around the corner is a store mannequin with an assault rifle strapped to her “body”. Its head is replaced by a reindeer head. Its arm is dismembered, laying on the floor.

    I dont think it’s the artist’s intention, but this reminds me of finding a dead woman in the woods.

    Have you encountered many of those?

    No. But it’s hard to work with mannequins, they look so already disposed of. And what’s going on with this wall painting, some figure forcing its eye open with the pinky and the ring finger. Who would open their eyes it like that?

    Haha, true. The handwork, the craft of putting these things together, isn’t all that convincing.

    No. And it’s very, very bro-y.

    Bro. Very bro-y

    I think his press release is on point though. Talking about how his family has been under threat by the government and state authorities for over 40 years. To slaughter their reindeers, to end their livelihoods. It’s utterly sad and disheartening. But most samis dosen’t deal with reindeers, which is historically true as well. The reindeer symbolism is more like a stereotype, a cliché. Besides, I question how he is placing himself on the moral high ground, because the reindeer situation is very complex. I don’t think there’s a either/or answer to the conflict. You have the state, it’s interventions and environmental concerns on the one side, and then the claims of families like Sunna’s on the other side. But capitalism, industrialisation of the herding, climate changes, increased competition, etc. etc. are also added into the mix.

    Yea, there’s lots of pain, and it’s totally fair to be angry, but this scenography is addressing a very specific problem in a way that is totally “in your face”, but also too vague to be confrontational. I like the spirit of the work, but I think I want him to take direct visual aim at what the issue is.

    Yes, and I’m also thinking that perhaps there are other struggles worth paying attention to as well. What is it like to be gay, a feminist, whatever, in a bro-y reindeer world like this one?

    Could be what they they talked about at the symposium, but for the general public who didn’t attend it, this scenography is what we are left with.

    SCHLOSS

    From OCA we make our way towards Schloss gallery where they are currently showing Keren Cytter, according to the press release she is one of the “most prominent artist of our generation”

    Keren Cytter, The Mirror of Simple Souls, 2017. Installation view. Courtesy of the artist and
    SCHLOSS, Oslo. Photographer: Vegard Kleven

    Ach, this text, isn’t it such art writing? It goes on about Fassbinder, Fellini, something, something. Oh boy, you can only experience the show while in the gallery because the works are made on reflective mylar… by the MOST prominent artist!

    I’m trying to decide whether they’re being ironic or not. The t-shirts they got for sale with a take on the Kellog’s Cornflakes design is making fun of something. Also notice how careless they’ve gaffer taped that projector to the floor.

    Like a really punk projector installation.

    But I think for this DIY-style to work out, you really have to be desperate, and have no money and still be trying to make it work. Like to make an earnest effort. Now it looks more careless, or calculated.

    I do like how these pictures themselves look as if someone were possessed by the devil and
    decided to make a a bunch of drawing

    Yes “devil may care.”

    A what?

    Oh, it’s this expression people use to say “reckless” but now since the expression is so old it just sounds corney.

    Hehe, yea. Also because the show really isn’t that intriguing to look at, more like, “OK. Art,”

    If they’re making fun of something, it might be the audience, at least that’s often where irony gets you. I think irony is dead. Be sincere. Be generous.

    “you wouldn’t understand anyway, you’re a peasant an I’m a very prominent punkish artisté”

    RAM GALLERI

    At Ram Galleri they’re showing “Force Majure”, a group show with students from the textile department at Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo. Several works are good, one piece we liked was Solveig Aurora ́s ceramics attached to warp strings and another one stands out, a big painting on a velvet screen by the artist Liv Melin.

    Liv Melin, fanship friendship and fictional support, 2017

    This is very nice.

    Yeah, agree. Also because it’s a very basic approach to painting. The only thing is that weird black thing attached to the bottom of it.

    Ya, but also, it would have been strange if the painting just ended.. It’s a take on the frills, no?

    Anyways, I like how the canvass looks like leather, and how these characters are dressed in coats almost like the Marlboro man, very cool. Western style.

    Like Oslo West, or wild wild west?

    Haha, I meant Wild West. But maybe both?

    Lol yes, Oslo West, because it feels expensive.

    They could also be munks, in a religious sect or something. The one girl on the far right reminds me of Matisse’s painting, Dance, how she is holding hands with the others. Or they could be ready for a photo shoot, it has got this Instagram vibe, and the pastell colored dreamy, velvety, background.

    The colors and figures reminds me a little of Richard Diebenkorn, a painter from San Francisco in the 50s, he approached painting with a no muss no fuss attitude he also loved Matisse. I love his paintings because they so don’t try to be cool so they really are.

    Yeah, it’s a great pice. And those women got attitude. The painting got attitude. Like a Frank Sinatra attitude. And that’s real punk.

The trash overlord

  • Over the bridge, on the second floor at Astrup Fearnley, Takashi Murakami has curated a room on his own.

    This is a very well made room

    I like this room

    I love this room

    It’s like a mass of manga. And everything looks the same, but then it dosen’t. Or does it

    Yeah, manga/animé, whatever’s the difference, is like a universe. But when everyone is doing the same thing, there’s also potential to make something more personal and different, I think.

    I think it kinda looks childish and naive. But also kinda sinister, as if this overload of stuff, materials, impressions, and trash threatens to swallow us alive. You know like, soon there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, kinda thing.

    You know, animé/manga used to make me horny.

    My Lonesome Cowboy. Takashi Murakami, KaiKai KiKi Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Haha, the animé porn?

    Nono, just plain TV. Like this video.

    Or the innocent cartoon girl? I wonder what she’s about, if it is ironic, or whatever, she’s slightly annoying. I prefer My Lonesome Cowboy with his big cumshot going more, “HA!” than “oops”.

    I bet you do. Anywayz, this room. Notice how well integrated the videos are. Bleeding sound is always a problem, but here it’s so soothing. A perfect atmosphere, mystic, inviting, unfolding. Makes me want to spend the entire day.

    Me too. Here, or in the cinema on one of those couches, watching films about poop disasters.

Latest updates from the blue marble

  • Omg, I didn’t eat before going

    me neither, I have to watch out about that wine

    yeh, wonder if I’ll be able to decipher my handwriting tomorrow

    haha, sure no stress.

    So, what did we just see?

    First things first. Shahryar Nashat’s Model Malady was a tilted screen in a room of purple light. Very inviting, smooth and erotic. The video was screening a little screen inside a bigger screen showing closeups of body parts, an arm pit, liquids, coins, sneakers, an ear, a foot.

    It made me dizzy watching. I think it’s about body vs. digital technology?

    Ya, we also got two sculptures which, according to the wall-text, are put out of work by technology and the video screen. But to me they just look like awkward chairs.

    Funny how the wall-text is doing all this interpretation, putting us out of workk!

    Lolz. I’m more interested in the kind of commercial look, it’s so attractive. What could they be advertising for?

    It could be anything. Hair conditioner? Lube? Body lotion?

    It could be anything. Next up was Cayetano Ferrer’s mirror room, which reminded you of Blade Runner?

    Yeah, it got this spooky, mysterious atmosphere. The mirrors made endless reflections, so you can’t tell what’s what. And you know, even Harrison Ford dosen’t know if he’s a robot or not. The colors were kinda 80s too.

    I noticed how the column was lit up by a perfectly aligned projector. Some technician must have fidgeted with that thing for ages to make it fit.

    Blade Runner, 1983, videostill

    Hehe yeh. And have you been to the Blade Runner-house in LA? This column got Mayan-style carvings just like that house. ‘was nice.

    Rachel de Joode’s sculptures. Does she manipulate the material, or does she photoshop? The sculptures look totally reproducible, but the material can only be made by her. As compared to the clump, marble-clay-thing holding some of the pieces, which cannot be reproduced. So we have the digital versus the hand. Also, the motif, was it close-ups of human skin, or plastic, or something else

    Dunno. But I was looking at her work online, and seeing it here dosen’t change it that much. Which could be a good, democratic, thing, as the art online is available to more people. And less aura y’know.

    4sure.

    Then we had the robot video, Soft Materials by Daria Martin. The guy fetishising the robotic hand, makes love to it or something. Very sexy. I wish we could have seen his dick though.

    Yes me too. The girl did nothing for me, even though we got a full frontal. The robot dancing with her was funnier. She was like the prop and the robot was the real character.

    Ouch. It looked kinda old too, or nostalgic. I guess because it’s shot with 16mm. And it reminded me of Westworld, which was actually first made in 1973. The ideas are old, but the technology is new…

    Next up we had the steel speakers by Ignas Krunglevicius. I don’t know, not my favorite. But you liked them?

    Yea, you know the initial experience was like “whatever”. But then I realized that the steel’s vibration was producing the sound. So that’s actually how the object would sound like if it could talk. Which is totally trippy.

    Hehe, true. Ane Graff was showing objects which seemed very connected to the material world. Peaceful to look at. Like something you could find at the bottom of the ocean, or outer space. All delicate objects made of glass, copper, stone, rose crystals +++.

    Yea, nice, complex textures and surfaces. Kinda opposed to the smooth surfaces of the video screens. And something you have to see IRL.

    The last room was very boring don’t you think?

    Yes, it didn’t work at all. You couldn’t hear anything of that guy in the video. And I couldn’t figure out if the room was one entire work, or several.

    Yeah, confusing.

    We also had the Jacolby Satterwhite video, but I felt like his work wasn’t entirely incorporated into the show, but more like crammed into this weird teenager-gamer-cave. And headphones are always a downer.

    Rachel de Joode, installation view. Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen, HOK

    I got to see his video in the bigger theater which I think is the kind of space it requires. Because it’s very grand. The environment reminded me of a game like Unreal Tournament, also because how the futuristic world is infiltrated by more mythic architecture, like pyramids and stuff, while everything is happening in some galaxy far away. Sexy characters walking around, dancing, squatting and whatnot, mixed with real footage of some guy voguing in an empty club or next to a watercloset. The music was nice too.

    In general, it was a lot of videos. Very easy shipping-wise.

    lols. But it’s also a difficult medium to deal with. Video requires time and space.

    Yeah, and they demand attention. Did you notice how hushed everyone was?

    Yesss, everyone was very reverent, like they were getting schooled. That made me uncomfortable.

    I think so too, at a certain point I wanted to insult someone, push over a column or something.

    Hehe, no. Do you think we saw anything we didn’t expect to see? I mean, de Joode and Satterwhite are kinda headliners, but I also wonder if they had their peak like two years ago. If they’re not going to peak again now. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what’s cool. At all. Maybe I’ve lost it.

    Haha, naaaa

    Anyways, they’ve obviously spent a lot of time making the show, it seems very thorough. And it certainly looks like art, that’s a test I always like to make.

    Yes. They’re making a real statement on what is happening now, and they’ve made some good observations. We have the internet aesthetics, the nice delicate material objects, body vs. machine, and so on. But they’re also showing whats tried and true, no?

    Ane Graff, installation view. Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen, HOK

Waiting for Documenta14

  • – How do you order a glass of wine in greek?

    – Or a double decaf cappuccino with extra milk in german?

    – lolz, dunno, but we have to find out because we wanna go to Documenta14!

    – Yess!

    Documenta14 is happening this year in Athens and Kassel. The list of artists is not released until April 6th, but according to the newspaper itromso.no, eight Sami artists are going, two of them being the artist and architect Joar Nango, and Sigbjørn Skåden, an author. OCA is also paying attention to art and artists in the Nordic region these days with the program “Thinking at the Edge of the World”. This winter they’re hosting shows, talks, screenings etc. etc. in Tromsø, Kautokeino, at Svalbard, and in other northern cities.

    – Nango was invited by Trollkrem to make the stage at Soppen, he has also shown at Skulpturbiennalen and stuff. Skåden I don’t know that well, but he was nominated to Nordisk Råds Litteraturpris.

    – We can look them up later, because I wonder who the others are, and I realize I don’t know much about Sami art.

    – Also, labelling artists according to ethnic group might be problematic!

    Iver Jåks, Maskulin feminin form?, 1976
    A Clockwork Orange, 1971, Stanley Kubrick, videostill

    – Yeah, identity politics, pianos and salads ‘round every corner. But let’s do some research. The only Sami artist I know is Iver Jåks, who made sculptures and arranged found objects into neat, delicate installations.This one sculpture I like, Maskulin feminin form?, made in brass.

    – Depicting a vagina

    – Maybe?

    – And a penis

    – Maybe?

    – Or maybe they’re salt and pepper shakers. They’re cool! Like from the seventies, or like that penis sculpture in A Clockwork Orange, you know the one he uses to beat that lady to death.

    – Hahaha

    – Hehe. Either how, Jåks is the one artist everyone mentions when talking about Sami art(ists). And I guess maybe because he’s so successful at mixing found local objects with a modernist aesthetics.

    – I favor the objects that look more invested in Sami culture, like these sculptures with antlers. His drawings also look really great. But this catalog where he is compared to other modernist artist isn’t really exciting, it’s only showing that he too could hang with the big boys.

    – Yes, but now he can be inscribed into the “proper” context and art history. But that thought can bring us to Samisk Kunstergruppe, a group of artists formed in 1978 in a town called Masi. They all went to art education in cities down south, but returned to Masi and took part in forming a “cultural revolution.” OCA is screening a few short films about the group later in Tromsø.

    – As far as I’ve read, they wanted to be recognized as artist, and not only as “Sami artists”, so they focused less on traditional Sami handcraft, which in turn earned them critique by local Samis because they weren’t trained in duodji or traditional symbols and heritage. I guess the locals considered them a threat, young rebels who favored the “western” aesthetics and could jepordize the Sami culture which had already been under heavy pressure and almost eradicated by the Norwegian government.

    Aage Gaup, retrospektiv.
    Installasjonsbilde, Samisk senter for samtidskunst. Foto: Elena Serdyukov

    Britta Marakatt-Labba, Konferens, 1990

    – Im looking at Britta Marakatt Labba though, one of the members who did stitchings, embroidery and work with textiles, because her work look very honest and I don’t feel like she’s bowing down to the New York art scene or anything. It just looks very real, and if Instagram existed she would have had a lot of followers.

    – Yea, maybe if they had only used traditional Sami symbols the work wouldn’t be valued as art but handicraft, which in turn would cause it to loose value on the art market. Not that I know if they sold anything.

    – Look at this, it’s very peaceful, such simple line making, not lots of ornamentation or heavy gestures, but nice and clean.

    – There’s also Aage Gaup who made sculptures and sceneogprahy. Educated in Trondheim. I like his sculptures, they’re kinda abstract, kinda figurative, also reminds me of Iver Jåks, but the materials look bigger, rougher, maybe more processed.

    – What I think is noticeable, is how both artists are so discreet in terms of political comments, even though the group worked to establish an artists’ union and had all these struggles with identity politics. They were also involved in the demonstration at Altaelva and Marakatt Labba has one work which is clearly commenting on how the police descended like vultures on the demonstrators. But I think her work is more a depiction made with coolness, than a political protest. Aage Gaup too made props for the demonstrators, but it dosen’t seem like this commitment found its way into any of the works we have seen so far, at least not in any explicit sense.

    Britta Marakatt-Labba, Kråkene, 1981

    – OCA is also paying attention to two young contemporary artists, Máret Ánne Sara and Anders Sunna this winter, both of them seem to make use of critique and protest in their art.

    – Oooh, this is a rough one. Their work seems influenced by street art, which is not my cup of tea to be honest.

    – No, I don’t savour it either. It kinda looks like anything at Hausmania or the street art festival in Stavanger. Punk-ish, bright colors, guns and hoodies mixed with Sami clothing and reindeers.

    – Sara’s work Pile o´ Sápmi is pretty strong, a pile of reindeer heads with a Norwegian flag on top. A new pile for Noplace?

    – Hehe, yeh.

    – Her brother went to court as he was forced to slaughter a lot of reindeers and put himself out of work, because of ecological sustainability, or something. So there’s a sense of urgency.

    – Yea, but is art really the best medium for social protest? Isn’t this also very heavy handed? Does it leave anything else to be desired or imagined? I’m thinking Samisk kunstergruppe managed to participate in politics and protest, while at the same time making work that pushed the aesthetics forward, and which still is good art.

    – True, but could it be that art is the only institution these days that can support a work like Pile o´ Sápmi? Where else than in an art context could she have showed it?

    Máret Ánne Sara, Pile o’Sapmi, 2016

Post election depression

  • Hi! What up?

    Heeyyyy! I couldn’t go out yesterday, it was just… The worst thing ever.

    Yeah. I feel like how my mother would look at me and say “I’m very disappointed with you”, that kinda hopelessness. Like a betrayal.

    Did you see the meme of the lady walking a bunch of cats and then someone comes up to her screaming HOLD ON TO YOUR PUSSIES! It’s funny.

    Haha, no, but I saw the one where Melania Trump is meeting Michelle Obama:

    Hi, I’m Michelle.

    Hi, I’m Michelle.

    Haha

    Hehe

    The next post on Facebook is always worse than the other. One article said it was a legitimate election of an illegitimate candidate. Another article at N+1 compared Hillary’s campaign to an idea from the 1960’s where black ghetto families would not get education but special TV-sets showing only scenes from the lives of the middle class. “Anger, loss, economic trauma, and, yes, racism and sexism could be overcome by a genial disposition, an endless national exhibition of proper behavior.”

    If her campaign was this patronizing I can see why someone would turn on her.

    Heh, yes. People explaining things to me as if I am completely clueless really makes me crazy.

    True, there’s something gleeful to his victory, “fuck you bish, who are you to tell me?”

    I don’t know what made people vote this or that, but I know that he is a con-man, a crook, and soon the most powerful man in the world. And I don’t think he’s going to moderate himself or be nice.

    A documentary I saw showed how he’s always been a bully. He would steal candy from the other kids, ruin their sand castles, eat all of the cake.

    On the gleeful note though, the populists cheer for one another, they’re kinda the same across continents, Nigel Farage is visiting Trump, Putin is sending his regards. It reminds me of Siv Jensen’s manic cackle when her party won the election in 2013: “MORNA JENS!” Haha, it was so distasteful and ugly.

    Did you see Clinton’s speech when she mentioned all the little girls?

    Awww, yes, it was her best speech throughout the whole campaign, don’t you think?

    I wonder what she must have felt like, after having lost two elections, and now, to that… guy, she’s never going to be president, even though, she didn’t display any bitterness but warmth.

    On Wednesday I went to a talk about populism, because Trump claims to be the only true voice of the people, which is essentially what all populists do.

    But Trump didn’t even win the popular vote

    Exactly. Still he says this, while also saying that everyone who runs against him are illegitimate, you know: “lock her up!”, he says. Trump decides who belong to the people, and all the others don’t matter. It is a dangerous rhetoric, anti pluralist, anti democratic. And it is encouraging violence.

    Yes, people on Facebook are already reporting on racist, xenophobic attacks and nazi violence. God bless Amerikkka!

    Others are addressing problems with social medias, because how could the polls not predict the outcome of the election?

    Yeah, true. And how the “educated elites” are living in a totally different world – I guess that’s us – oblivious to whatever else is going on around them.

    Which might be true, I, for one, block everyone I can’t stand on Facebook, and I guess I’m only seeing news and articles which interests me. Does social media make us more isolated? I don’t know. Before Facebook, people would be just as selective of where they went, what they read, and who they saw, I bet. But maybe the internet is giving the impression that now everything is more open and democratic, that everyone will be heard.

    I don’t know, maybe, there’s also the thing about “fake news” and post-truth

    Don’t believe everything you read! But what to do?

    Yeah, what to do. Whatever. Talk to you later!

    Siv Jensen. Ivanka Trump and Michelle Obama. Steina Vasulka, LILITH (1987), videostill.

    See you.

    CERAMICS AND BOOKS

    I was thinking about all of this as I went to see art. At STANDARD they were having a sale on all of their artist books, many are published by the gallery itself, which must costly affair, or an investment in art history. And I wonder what artists will make the cut. “Team STANDARD” soccer jerseys and trophies are also for sale, a water bottle formed like a bottle of ketchup, team pictures from the soccer field. Artist merchandise are popular nowadays, to make ends meet, or to make ironical statements about not having to make ends meet. In the next room, they’re having a show with the german artist Michaela Meise, she is displaying ceramic sculptures on top of black plinths. They look like religious figures, some of them in prayer, one reposing in a yoga-like position, a couple is smiling and embracing, some are adorned with coins and symbols. The show seem more generous than their recent ones. The sculptures are all hand made, one is wearing a cape like a monk, its texture is really nice, as if someone combed it with a fork. Some have glazed surfaces, some are more roughly shaped, almost clumsily, careless, but delicate. All of them look very expressive, their faces especially. Solemn, introverted, displaying love and affection, thoughtfulness, or slight disturbance. Others are stuck in awkward poses, like the figure in blue shorts who is half sitting, half standing, as if he got an itch on his back, or just realized he seated himself in something wet. The press release is no longer posted on Facebook, however, it is addressing refugees en route across the ocean; and it makes me think of the question on where to direct help: at home or closer to the war zones?

    SIGNALS

    At ANX they’re showing “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SIGNAL” video art by Steina and Woody Vasulka. The Vasulkas were pioneers in early video art, and ANX is showing 17 of their videos plus interviews spanning from 1970 to 2005. One of them is NOISEFIELDS (1974) a very loud and very flickering video projection. Video art can be very boring. But I really enjoy this show. In Art of Memory (1987) landscapes in sunset, forest covered hills, Grand Canyon-like valleys, are used as backgrounds for other pictures of sculptures which in turn are used as canvasses to display yet other pictures – inside the picture. These are scenes from the Spanish civil war, nazi-Germany, the atom bomb over Japan and so on. The peaceful landscapes are disrupted by scenes of war and unrest. Peaceful are also the way in which the pictures slide across the screen, some come folded like film reels, other fill the screen in circular movements, some casts long shadows, while others appear as if tearing a sheet of paper. These transitions could look like my dad’s Powerpoint slideshow, but more smooth and elegant, never glitching or lagging. Art of memory makes me think of Jacob Riddle’s videos of floating carpets and fabrics at Rod Bianco in August, but this 30 year old video actually look better. In another video, LILITH (1987), an old female face is mixed with trees, leaves and grass in golden hues and autumn colors. Vasulka is using “luma keying” to cancel dark parts of the face, those shadowed by nose, ears, wrinkles, and other facial features, to make use it as a screen for projecting the forest motif, while the brighter parts remains those of the face. Back home on my laptop LILITH looks very silly, like a bad low-budget movie from the 80s, but in the gallery she’s like a nymph from an enchanted forest, both human and tree, distorted by the digital interference.

    In many of the other works, The Vasulkas are turning the video equipment on itself, making the video camera record its own monitor to perform a kind of self surveillance. The recorded video does not become a recognizable image, however, but new shapes, lines and patterns in constant motion, emerges. This loop of feedback is creating entirely new images, a kind of visualization of the electronic video signal. By further distorting the signal using syntezihsers, the technology produces a seemingly infinite range of shapes and patterns, beautiful, mesmerizing to look at. In another video, lines make up the shape of a hexagon and its surface is like a terrain of hills and valleys, an ocean of signals and rolling waves. When video technology can make these patterns on its own, is it conscious? Does it have some sort of “life”? Whatever it is, Vasulka intercepts the video signal before it reaches the TV before it creates conventional images and content. Usually we can’t see electronic signals, but here the video signal becomes tangible, and the technology perceptible to the eye.

    The portable video camera broke the film industry’s monopoly on moving images, it promised to be more democratic: now “everyone” could record and produce videos. Social medias are perhaps not such an watershed event like video, but it too is a technology which promises everyone an opportunity to be heard and seen. But heard by who? With social medias, the public conversation seems to be more fragmented, what appears on your feed is filtered through what you want to appear on your feed, while it at the same time gives the impression of having access to everyone – “all the world at your finger tips”. Facebook is posing as a medium for open conversation, while it in fact helps circulate false news and separate bubbles; perhaps it instead is making broad public conversations across divides more difficult? In these times then, experiments with social medias might be called for, but maybe they would have to disrupt the usual flow of information and content. Maybe they would have to be in the tradition of the Vasulkas and intercept the signal before it materializes as likes and comments. Maybe experiments with social medias would have to alter the information before it reaches the conventional interface, in order to visualize the potential and short comings of the technology.

Spring/summer at the office

  • We have got the best seats, from here we can see everything!

    yassss, I’m excited too, wonder what it’s going to be like.

    Funny room

    I think it usually is the NAV-office. Either that or the most generic conference room you could ever think of. Wall to wall carpet, chairs from the dentist’s waiting room, and those peculiar movable, carpeted, walls. Cool place for a show

    Ding, ding, ding! Here we go:

    Michael Olestad, Spring Summer 2017. Photo: Hanne Erøy

    1. Big yellow belt, more like an open front skirt made of leather? Sunglasses, giant aviator ones. A brown, full length dress, light fabric, no arms, open front, drapes nicely, windy.

    2. Red, tight pants, covering the shoe, some kind of red band around the thighs. Big brown shirt, oversized arms, almost like a trench coat? No belt, but tightened around the waist. Nice blue earring.

    3. Brown pants, tight singlet in shiny colors, gradually from purple to brown, yellow, with some kind of city motive. Speedy sunglasses, mosquito-bound?

    4. Yellow bag, nice black dress/cape, flowing, open in the front, windy too, like look nr. 1. The blue earring.

    5. Grey, light skirt, again the open front. Tight top, the city motive, but now in daylight.

    6. Velvety shirt and pants, square cut, big silver leather bag, sunglasses.

    7. Yellow top, same thing as the belt, also leather? Grey dress.

    8. White top, yellow feathers sticking out, black skirt, excess fabric.

    9. Blue singlet, low neck, like a bathing suit, blue pants, fringes, cut outs

    10. A very tight, white dress, white feathers, lots of legs

    11. Black baggy pants, the yellow bag. Blue dress, no arms, open front, windy, flowing. Tight sunglasses. Wooof!

    12. City at night, tight, slim-fit dress, sunglasses.

    13. Big black shirt, strong collar. Grey belt, light lavender/purple pants

    14. Red/orange-y sweater, baggy arms, slim wrists, triangle cut at the waist as if wearing a corset. Tight cyan-blue pants.

    15. Red bag, lavender dress, ends at the thighs. Again the baggy arms and slim wrists.

    16. Orange, like fire, cut out excessive fabric, pants covering shoes, no arms, high collar.

    Michael Olestad, Spring Summer 2017. Photo: Hanne Erøy

    Boom!

    So fast. It ended just when I wanted it to end, like: show me and finish. Loved it.

    Yeah, and I’m thinking, wearable clothes, stuff you could wear at the office.

    Got the clothes. Now let’s get an office. Would you even wear the more cape-y stuff at the workplace?

    Sure, yes.

    What was your favorite?

    I loved the city motif, I think that’s gonna be a hit with the locals. Looked like google street view, while someone said it is the view from his apartment.

    My favvo was the blue one with the yellow bag, black pants and sunglasses

    Nr 11? Someone commented on Instagram: “Michelle Obama”.

    Yeah. Powerful! Like, I’m drilling you! Cannot handle it.

    I love the monochrome outfits. Reminds me of Hillary Clinton’s 2/3 pieces, that idea, you know.

    Drillary Clinton, doing her own thang, campaigning right down to the buttons.

    Haha, sure. It’s the power dress. But I think Michael is more playful.

    Absolutely. I liked the black one, the cape dress blowing in the wind. It reminded me of wizardry. Or whooshing around in a bathrobe being dramatic and theatrical, intensely hoping to become Gandalf. Or Beyoncé. Something all weird kids do?

    Sure

    Have you seen the Seinfeld episode where George’s dad is having a curious meeting with Larry David?

    Lol, yes, he is very independent and doesn’t conform to the latest trends.

    Seinfeld, “The Chinese Woman”, videostill. Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Beyoncé. Photos: Getty Images, Mark Wilson

    I love the stuff that looks like easter decorations. Those fluffy yellow feathers [MARABOU, -Ed.]. And the bouncing accessories. That did it all for me: something a bit whimsical and weird within all the skinny trousers and drapy dresses. Kinda like when Christopher Kane puts crocks on his models, embedded with luxurious jewellery charms.

    I also thought of the clear cuts, and triangular shapes. You know, the belts, bags, and those dresses. They all got pretty straight lines, but they become kind of confusing down by the legs, as if they’re neither skirt nor pants. Skants? Or like pants cut open? Multiple layers, excessive fabric. It’s a lot of legs and lots of thighs.

    True, and even though, they still look very business-like. Strong looks. Which makes the models look very confident.

    Astute!

    Most def.

Inside out

  • So did you go to the opening?

    Heh, no, I was all dead after the strip club the night before.

    Lol, yes, me too. But I saw from the pictures that it was crowded.

    We missed out! Let me just park my bike.

    Feels like No Place

    Only cooler? It used to be a garage.

    That’s the story, and it’s tucked away, like a secret club.

    A secret club for art lovers.

    Do you know any of Holens art?

    Don’t think I’ve seen it, but I read a few reviews at Kunstkritikk earlier, along with a photoshoot of his all male studio, hihi.

    He’s also got this magazine ETOPS which they are launching later in October. And what have we here, the title of this fence is ETOPS.

    Is the fence protecting the art? Or protecting us from the art? Imagine at the opening to be trapped behind the fence.

    But the fence is really facing the art, we’re inside.

    Does it matter when the fourth wall is missing?

    Installation view, Leichtmetallräder.
    Photo: Vegard Kleven. Reprinted with permission of the artist and SCHLOSS, Oslo

    I don’t know. It makes me think of Pocahontas. Who got fences? People with property. Are we shielded from the art, as if it could hurt us?

    Maybe, these cut out car wheels could look a bit threatening.

    They reminded me of tribal tattoos. Or that band Sublime, and their sun logo.

    Me of gears and Lego, and a kid’s (boy’s??) curiosity to how stuff and machines work.

    But in a way, what I learned from reading about his previous work, it seems like he is dissecting machines very often, not to learn, but more to look. Like looking at someone’s digestive system in order to know them.

    “Vi ser på maskiner”?

    Leichtmetallrad (2016), Aluminium and
    plastic, 48 x 12 cm.
    Photo: Vegard Kleven. Reprinted with permission of the artist and SCHLOSS, Oslo

    Yeah, the pure aesthetic of industrial machinery.

    The cuts are really perfect, I guess the water saw does that. Very german, no? Geometrical shapes, extreme precision. What’s up with the butcher’s-board though?

    To underscore the cutting? Butchering of the car wheels? There’s also something about dissecting mass produced high end objects, or a luxurious lifestyle. These car wheels definitely look luxurious. So the objects implies a social “sphere” as well, and not only cold, inorganic things.

    I’m thinking that there’s something very erotic to the objects, the shiny surface, the hole in the middle… They’re very sterile, and the cuts remind me of clinical precision, like objects used for medical purposes, or as if the wheels has been treated by medical objects, suggesting they got some human qualities or life, as if they need to be healed.

    Yeah, and don’t people have fetishes for medical objects? This year’s winner of Høstutstillingen, Anne Guro Larsmon, made perfectly shaped glass/steel objects, based on a film by Cronenberg about gynecologists, also suggesting something erotic.

    True, there’s also Crash by Cronenberg, where people are attracted to car crashes and prostheses, like desiring the broken body repaired and enhanced by technology. Crash is based on a book by the science fiction writer Ballard, and I think sex with robots, or cyborgs, is a fairly common theme in science fiction. Think of the super sexy female cyborg in Terminator, or Bladerunner

    Björk’s music video for All is full of love

    Jane Fonda having sex with a machine in Barbarella

    lol, google “jinx and cyborg porn”

    Teen Titans, video still

    There’s this book Testo Junkie, on how sex is really a technological enterprise, you take pills, use condoms, poppers, drugs, whatever, all these inorganic, mini machines, to control and enhance sex.

    I think the seemingly perfection of the machine is part of the attraction, how in a way it’s a higher, more perfect, “everlasting” thing, that you can’t easily tear apart, like you could with the body’s tissue, it dosen’t produce waste, liquids, shit, as the body does. It’s a lot cleaner!

    Is it about obsessing with hygiene? The machine is hard, solid, its surfaces are clean, spotless, stainless, sterile. It wont give you diseases, or babies.

    Haha, ouch. Recently I read another book called Techno where they talk how techno music is closer to the machine, more removed from anything human, promising to transcend the body at the dance floor, to take part in a “timeless machininc continuity…”.

    So to transcend the body, last for ever, both in death and sex, not affected by diseases, is that the attraction of the machine?

    Maybe, or maybe we’re just reading too much into this.

    Hehe. We could also talk about commodity fetishism, but that’s so last year.

    Oh look at these posters, people posing with blue contacts, looking like cyborgs.

    Could also be the Nazar, a blue Turkish amulet for protection against the evil eye. Or the Kanye West eyes? Maybe they’ll be annoyed to hear that.

    Haha, annoyed is good. The Kanye-contacts was a controversial about race?

    Yeah, I don’t know if Kanye knew what he was doing, but Toni Morrison wrote a book about how black people have been made to feel inferior for not having blue eyes, so the contacts got some history to them.

    Do you think the show is addressing race?

    I don’t know, there’s the fence and the question of who is owning, or has access, to property. If we think of property in the states, we could think of the history of slaves having been brought to the US to work the property of whites. You also thought of Pocahontas, which is a history of fencing off stolen property. And now, very generally speaking, we could ask who is owning property and who is made to rent at high prices? What property is the police protecting and from who?

    True, true. I’m also thinking that there is something inherently white in this machine aesthetic. I might as well be wrong and ignorant, but I have the feeling that very often the cyborg/robot claim to have “universal” facial features, voices, traits, and so on, which are not really universal, but all too often, white.

    Ahhh, what a mess! Maybe his relation to organic material is so awkward that you get the fence. And maybe he just got a great deal on a bunch of car wheels. But I feel the magazine is a missing piece. Let’s come back for the launch.

Everybody wants to be Hollywood

  • Kenneth Anger is all the way on top of the building, installed in a staircase, sexy.

    Hehe, to me this video is what I think of when I think of LA. Mega theatrical, sort of a trashy B-movie. Lots of smoke and experimentation with special effects, warm colors. Definitely sexy, alluring, and erotic. Like a hazy dream from smoking weed, high on horoscopes. Spaced out shit. Costumes, beautiful outfits, and weird, like this women wearing a bird cage as a hat. Draped velour cloth everywhere, and gayness! I think of, like, “gender fluidity” when I think of Los Angeles. Everything seems possible. I know these are all cliches, but still so true, and that’s what I love about the city. Not Alex Israel, with his sterile, boring, unsexy one liners and ironic meta comments about art and entertainment – oh, you’re making fun of the Hollywood walk of fame? How original.

    Haha, good thing you got that out.

    Lol, yes. I’m just, why did they hide this piece all the way up here?

    Kenneth Anger, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954, video still

    We are at the press opening of Astrup Fearnley’s new show “Los Angeles – A Fiction”. It is the first time we are attending a press opening and we feel excited and special. One question that comes to mind is why Los Angeles, and why now? The other question is what kind of Los Angles are we going to see? Gunnar Kvaran, the museum director, and one of the show’s curators, is careful to tell us the selection of works is very subjective, not a survey of the Los Angeles’ art scene, but “a super fiction”. First we look at paintings by Brian Calvin.

    Ohe, these look familiar, I think I saw them in New York

    Yess, at that gallery. He also got this painting of an adolescent kid smelling her finger in slight disgust, now where’s that finger been!

    Haha, over here we have the Hollywood sign backwards made by Ed Ruscha. And then a picture of a worn out mattress.

    He’s a “must have”-artist in your LA collection. And so is Paul McCarthy, look at this video of him

    wearing a strange, gnome-like mask, boxing himself.

    Is he “the” LA artist? Or is it Mike Kelley?

    I always favored McCarthy, and I think they’re like Prince and Michael Jackson.

    Who’s Prince?

    Oh, Mike Kelley, McCarthy is Michael Jackson.

    I think Prince is more gay though, but who’s the best in this analogy?

    Jackson was more superior, don’t you think? That’s my point anyhow.

    Sure

    Let’s see more, over here, Rodney McMillian, my favorite artist ever! And also almost the sole reason I moved to Los Angeles.

    Rodney McMillian, 4.24 light years away, 2016. Photo: Jeff McLane

    Haha, wow, that’s cool. So he’s making textiles? These are explosions sort of?

    Yeah, or its made on a bed sheet, so maybe two dead bodies? Rotting away.

    Be sure to say hi to him, but don’t be a creep!

    Hi, I really love your work, I even saw your show in Berlin.

    Hello! Oh, haha, then you must be dedicated. Nice to meet you! Now, just excuse me, this guy is trying to take a photo.

    That went good, maybe we should ask him for an interview?

    Yess! Or maybe we could go see the Elisabeth Haarr show with him? That would be super nice!

    Good idea!

    Let’s see, more McCarthy, but I can’t seem to find the porn. He always has porn in his work. Oh, here it is.

    And small “nisser”, or garden gnomes?

    Yeah, references to Disney, which has this massive impact on all american lives.

    But these artists, are they only the well collected ones?

    Seems like it. It’s funny to compare this show to Soppen a few weeks ago, because they also had so many LA-artists, but from a totally different scene.

    Yes, this is the bourgeoisie one. What art did you think we would find when going here?

    Oh, I thought of these guys, most def. It’s also funny because I used to work at this shipping office in Los Angeles, and so I would use to move this art exactly all around, all the time, I felt kinda oppressed by it.

    Haha. I feel slightly annoyed by the wall texts, they’re always telling how this work is about class, this on climate change, that one on race and identity. Like disclaimers. And then over and over how it’s a subjective selection. We get it, no need to spell it out.

    This artist I like, Kaari Upson

    Also displaying a mattress. Maybe we should rename it “the mattress show”. Eh heh? But a mattress cast in silicone. I had a friend in LA who also was all about casting everything he could find in silicone.

    Yeah, experimental casting, it seems to be a thing. Maybe because there’s so much space in Los Angeles, so much room, so you can cast all sorts of things without really destroying anything.

    But also, these mattresses are the homes of homeless people.

    Yeah, you were saying how the wall texts are so explicit on the work’s political agendas, and I mean, the mattress is a pretty banal comment on homelessness, and is it fair for this rich lady to be like “look at this filth!”, is it ethical?

    I don’t know, but it looks good. Upson, by the way, is said to be this crazy unstable woman, and look at these padded doors, I really like them, spray painted so they have a hologram-like effect, suggesting a home for lunatics or insanity. Nice.

    Oh look, a fucking star, must be Alex Israel.

    Haha! But this, Samara Golden, I really like her, do you know her art? 

    No, don’t think I’ve seen it

    Samara Golden, Missing Pieces from A Fall of Corners #2, 2015 – 2016. Photo: Image courtesy of Night Gallery

    She makes all these stage sets. Here, a table ready for dinner installed 90 degrees on the wall. But what a strange meal they are having, a blue fish, an apple, cake and dessert at the same time?

    Hehe, over to Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, also a stage prop. For one of their videos?

    Could be, look, Cafe it says. This is post internet art, no?

    Maybe even the definition. But it looks kinda ugly, I like the net though. I guess Fitch/Trecartin could have been at Soppen?

    Yeah, true. Now I also got insecure whether Fitch and Trecartin are always working together? Or do we tend to forget mention her name when we talk about their work?

    I’m not sure, but we should be very careful not to erase her from history. Where are the videos anyways?

    Maybe they don’t have them. And no Mike Kelley either.

    I also noticed how, on the first floor they had all these older artist’s new work on the most prominent wall, whereas their older work is hidden away in those “cubicles”. I also thought Charles Ray’s work looked strangely out of place, you know those mannequins, the guy with the penis you thought was so nasty looking, like just thrown into the room.

    I think we liked the second floor the best, the terrace, no?

    Yeah. But did we ever answer the why and why now?

    Don’t think so! I keep wishing they had included more young artists, this fiction is a bit sterile. And also, what does the focus on LA communicate to local artists in Oslo? “You are inferior!”? I know a lot of Scandinavians are spending lots of time in Los Angeles, maybe they could have made the show a dialog, like “Oslo + LA”, I don’t know.

    After the show, we look more closely at the catalog, a generous book with excerpts from a range of different writers, like a hand guide to the literature of Los Angeles. The first two texts are commissioned works by Angela Flournoy and James Frey. Flournoy tells of a black teenage girl cruising up and down Sunset Blvd, barred from entering any bar or restaurant because of her color, but she can always go to In-N-Out. Told years later to her friends in NYC, she explains: “you hoped to see yourself out there, shining, growing, unafraid.” (12). Frey’s is a funny text about the fancy hotel Chateau Marmont, also on Sunset Blvd.; its different high celebrity guests, their company and affairs, told in a very dry, matter of fact, kinda way. Together they demonstrate the discrepancy between the city’s extreme luxury and the not so luxurious In-N-Out just a few blocks down the street, both stories fuelled by the desire of being someone.

Statens 129. Kunstutstilling

  • På gulvet i rommet bak billettsalget står Corona av Ingrid Berven. To arbeidshjelmer, den ene svart, den andre hvit, begge laget av marmor. De ser veldig tunge ut. På den hvite hjelmen er det et spill i marmoren, som grå bølger, eller arr i steinen. Den svarte ser litt mer brukt ut.. Begge er avrundet med en liten brem foran, og små forhøyninger som for å få plass til ører. Nederst, på hver side langs bremmen, er det tre firkantede formasjoner med skarpe kanter. På toppen av hjelmene er det en liten forhøyning og liksom et avtrykk av en vimpel med en splitt nederst. I katalogteksten snakker de om olje og makt, men jeg lurer mer på hvordan hattene havnet her. Var det noen som bar dem, eller kjørte de en liten gaffeltruck gjennom vareheisen? Hvordan klarte de å senke dem forsiktig ned slik at verken hjelmene eller gulvet ble ødelagt? Er de lagd som avstøpning? Er de hule inni, eller er det hel stein? Har noen hugget dem ut av steinblokker og er de polert for hånd?  Eller har kunstneren brukt en maskin? 

    Ingrid Berven, Corona, 2015. Foto: Anu Vahtra

    En annen skulptur er laget av ikke-tørkendeleire.

    Ja, se her, den er formet som en dørkarm, litt på skeiva bare, og så er den laget av våt leire, så den drypper litt hele tiden. Her på gulvet er det vått som du ser, kanskje det blir ødelagt. Et tema i utstillingen virker å være forskjellen på ute og inne, som denne haltende dørkarmen da.

    Her er det et lite lysverk basert på maleriet Sjalusi av Edvard Munch, hvis du husker det. Det er det maleriet med et kyssende par og en litt creepy, trist, mann på sidelinjen, og se her, det gule lyset kan være den mannen da, mens de mer fargerike lysene der borte er paret.

    Natur er et annet tema, og i arbeidet her har kunstneren funnet en politisperring i skogen som hun har plukket barnål og diverse skog fra, hatt det på et lerret og helt epoxy over, Åsted heter det. Og det spiller vel litt på atmosfæren rundt et åsted, at en forbrytelse og noe farlig har skjedd, men så vet jeg ikke om disse tingene stammer fra et “faktisk” åsted, for der hadde vel kunstneren ikke sluppet inn? Så akkurat dét er jo litt konstruert.

    Her oppe er det masse malerier, på dette bildet har kunstneren malt i blinde eller noe, og skriblet ting og tang med venstre hånd, utdrag fra dikt og sånne ting. ART står det her.

    Dette er litt morsomt da, av Knag Danielsen. Verket er laget med utgangspunkt i oppmuntrende ting de som trener mye sier til hverandre, såkalte “fitspirations”. Det er to stenger i pleksiglass som henger her med ordtakene inni, men man må jobbe litt og bevege seg rundt for å se hva som står.

    Ja, enda mer maleri.

    Her er en skulptur laget i en program for 3d-modellering hvor man bare kan programmere lengde, bredde, dybde, så formen blir litt pussig. Follow me heter det.

    Her, et litt skummelt kontorlandskap sett utenfra, alt er helt svart, unntatt kontoret som er opplyst lysstoffrør, uncanny? Kontoret/hjemme/ute. Mer maleri.

    Mens her er det mer natur, et arbeid med bildeutskrifter av forskjellige stein hengt opp i stigende rekkefølge. Hver stein er trykket på et A4 ark festa slik at det blafrer i vinden, noe tungt som samtidig er lett altså. Tittelen, Por haber nacido en otra parte, refererer til en tegning av Goya der en kvinne har fått på seg en dumrianhatt, eller Capriote, som straff for en forbrytelse hun har begått. Steinene er jo også ganske spisse, og vi kan lese hatten inn i dem, hvis vi vil, i forlengelsen blir hver stein en straffedømt. Så hodeplagg er et annet tema i utstillingen, i tillegg til mye alvor og seriøse, fine, ting.

    Denne er litt morsom, av Else M. Hagen, det er to portretter, det ene av tre ungdommer, 3 av 5 heter det, uten at jeg vet hvor de to andre er. Uansett, de poserer som man gjør foran kamera da, prøver å gjøre seg til, eller være noen. Mens her er det en tegning én av de samme guttene har laget hvor oppgaven var et selvportrett, så han tegnet hvordan han selv tenkte at han ser ut, eller vil se ut, hvordan det nå blir. Tegningen og fotografiet ligner jo ganske mye, men nede i høyre hjørne er det en lærer som har skriblet en ganske krass tilbamekelding, 3+ fikk han på tegningen sin.

    Dette er NRKs favoritt, en jakke i speilfløyel som kunstneren har fargelagt med kullstift slik at det ser ut som en Adidas-jakke. Fiffig, mote/kunst.

    Dette er vinneren av Høstutstillingen, Anne Guro Larsmoen. Hun har basert seg på noen referanser til en film av Cronenberg som jeg ikke har sett, det virker litt tvungent kanskje, og kanskje ikke så viktig lenger, jeg vet ikke, jeg har jo ikke sett filmen. Uansett ganske flott da, det er noen objekter her som er festet til stålrør som henger ganske stilig ned fra taket. Objektene er håndlaget i glass og den ene enden kan minne om sexleketøy eller verktøy til gynekologen, mens den andre enden ser ut som litt eklere insekter, eller dyr, en krabbeklo eller en kreps. Eller en type apparater da, APPARAT– USES er også del av tittelen. Men apparater til hva da? Det kan man jo lure på. Installasjonen har noe klinisk og sterilt over seg, materialene er veldig rene og kalde, men samtidig virker glassobjektene mer organisk, de er både deilige og frastøtende, innbydende og farlige.

    Her er det flere malerier.

    Mens dette er et tekstilarbeid, et mørkt motiv med en slags formørket sol i midten, og former som kanskje er skjært ut av solformørkelsen? Formene minner om Star Wars, og den sola kan jo for eksempel være the death star. Her nede er det en liten saks, et metaarbeid om å klippe og lime kanskje, copy/paste – post internet art?

    Masse videoer.

    Mer natur, en lavvo. Et stort maleri av et fjellandskap, med noen gule flekker som kan minne om en brann, eller noe som ikke er som det skal være.

    Her har kunstneren, Charlotte Jonsmyr malt katter, inspirert av katter på internett. Et oljemaleri, og det virker som om kattene sitter på én av få tørre flekker i et landskap oversvømt av olje og søppel. De ser litt molefonkne ut, litt triste, forlatt og såra. Maleriet er uten innramming og kunstneren har også malt der lerretet er trukket over blindramma, og minner om bilder du kan kjøpe på IKEA, eller andre overflødige ting og varer som oljen har gjort oss i stand til å forbruke og produsere… Oil heter det da også.

    Charlotte Jonsmyr, Oil. Foto: Anu Vahtra

    Og så er dette arbeidet da, Uten tittel (tutti frutti), utstillingens mest provoserende. En snøstjerne, eller slags iskrystall? Eller en blomst? Laget av utklippede pornoblader. Man må lete litt for å finne noe, men se her, her er det en tiss.

    Utstillingen har også et videoprogram, og jeg blir sittende å se på The Stonewall Nation av Sille Storihle. Arbeidet baserer seg på et intervju av homoaktivisten Dan Jackson gjort på 70-tallet som Storihle har iscenesatt på et litt trist og sobert motellrom med skuespilleren Michael Kearns i rollen som Jackson. Tittelen refererer til et faktisk prosjekt i California der Jackson, blant flere‚ drømte om å lage en by kun for homser, et “cultural, world center”. Derimot ville han ikke bygge en ny by, men kolonialisere Alpine County hvor det allerede bodde 350 mennesker. – Vi måtte være én mer, 351, så kunne vi ha tatt over. Folk trengte bare en postadresse, de kunne bo på motell og registrere posten i butikken, sier han i voiceoveren. Et bilde panorerer Alpine County ovenfra, et annet en modellby i ødemarken malt i regnbuens farger, enda et beveger seg sakte nedover et fotografi eller tegning og avdekker en ørkenendal med bratte fjellsider og steinformasjoner som viser seg å være falloser. Med voiceoveren og landskapspanorering blir det til tider mye patos, “where can we live?” spør Jackson innledningsvis, og sammenligner homsenes med indianernes kamp for å beholde egne territorier. Men det ble ingenting av The Stonewall Nation og Jackson ligner en resignert og patetisk figur som videoen kanskje gjør litt narr av. Homobyen virker corny, og jeg kjenner ingen homser som ville drømt om å bosette seg midt i ødemarken; ironiserer den over de imperialistiske drømmene, “to live in freedom”? Den siste scenen er et stillestående bilde av prærien der Jackson jobber seg alene nedover en skrent til en countrylåt, og samtidig formidler videoen en inderlighet hos Jackson, og kanskje et savn etter fellesskap.

    Sille Storihle, The Stonewall Nation. Foto: videostillbilde

To learn or not to learn

  • At Rod Bianco we find 4-5 industrial looking metal casings using mirrors as tabletops to stack clothes and different objects. Some clothes are wrapped around cardboards, others are folded. All of them are made using Toril Johannessen’s fabrics, in bright colors and ornamented with geometrical shapes: circles, squares, cylinders, lines and grids. Among the clothes are small sculptures in plexiglass fastened to hand shaped clay, these look more organic, rounder and with smoother edges, like cactuses, or twisted scientific graphs. Each table is paired with a TV screen positioned as though looking at or talking to the clothes. A video by Jacob Riddle is running, and here, on a white background, what looks like pencil drawings of different symbols, arrows, a thermometer, test tubes etc., are sliding rightwards. Johannessen’s fabrics reappear in the video, as if blowing in the wind, sometimes filling the entire screen, or flying by like magic carpets.

    Installation view. Photo: Rod Bianco

    Everything is for sale, where is the price tag?

    Guess it will turn up. Look how nice and sharp these screens are, real HD.

    Yeah, true. And the videos are really nice. I talked to the guy who made them at the opening, and he was saying how he wanted to deconstruct all hierarchies, and how there’s really no difference between actual and virtual reality. They’re both real. Real-ities.

    Deconstruct is such a buzz word though, or like 10 years ago…

    Yeye. But there’s something going on here with the video and the mirror, as if everything is reflected, and happening, existing, or whatever, at two places at the same time? Real/virtual? I don’t know. We were also saying how a murder in a dream was also a real murder, but one you could get away with.

    The perfect murder?

    Sort of! So now every night I’m dreaming of how to escape the detectives. Anyways, this stuff looks good, I am only afraid to ruin the arrangement of the clothes, maybe they should hire someone from a clothing store.

    Hehe, yes, like some angry girl folding clothes and giving looks.

    Lol, exactly, now it could all look like a mess in two weeks time.

    I think the show looks really tight though, only in between, there are these clothes made in collaboration with Melgaard and Rod Bianco, but they seem out of place, or not in line with the rest of the clothes and videos which are all doing something with the Johannessen’s pattern.

    True, maybe they wanted it to look more lik a market, with random stuff in between. I’m not sure if i would wear a gallery t-shirt though, like: “PICK ME, PICK ME, I WANNA DO A SHOW”.?

    Haha, maybe. There’s also a lot of stuff going on here, and I am a bit confused as to what we are looking at. The unlearning interpretation part is pretty dense, and to change how we perceive the world is kind of an ambitious statement. Although, I think good art really can do just that.

    I feel we have to read the catalogue text to understand more.

    Part of the take is that these fabrics, or patterns, look like something we think would come from Africa, and they do, everything is made in Ghana. But this way of making fabrics was introduced to Africa by colonialists in the 18th hundreds. So when we think we’re looking at these expressions of “real African identity”, we are really looking at European colonialism.

    Still though, I’d say that 200 years is quite some time, so we’re not “only” looking at bad Europeans, but now the fabric is also part of an African tradition. And weren’t all European nations busy crafting their national identity in this same period of time? Like the “bunad”, no? Folk songs and fairytales. I mean, a lot of clothing we perceive as originals, or markers of some true national identity, are more like copies of a copy for which there is no original… either how.

    I am not quite certain about the bunad. But I get your point, identity would always be some kind of half made truth. I once wore a HAiKw/ dress around to an art fair. Because of the cut, most people thought it was a play on the Kimono!

    I’m thinking you can learn or unlearn the way of recognising these clothes and patterns as African, but will that comment stick as the clothes now travel out of the gallery and into the streets?

    Well, who knows. But also, do we need that additional conceptual stuff in order to appreciate the show? There’s also this thing on optical illusions, if you look at them in a specific way, you’ll go crazy, or something. I mean, there are layers upon layers, and I’m wondering how to connect the dots. And also, in a way, everything about the pattern and fabric is already explained to us, even before we enter the gallery, so there’s not that much left to think about.

    Installation view. Photo: Rod Bianco

    Maybe we should just unlearn all we just learned, and give the clothes a rest for a little while.

    Hehe, or talk about something else? I think, besides all, that this kind of printing technique is a form of advertising and marketing in small communities that would recognise the rite things.

    Yea, which is also a comment on how HAiK/w’s clothes function, as they’re making this social community of insiders, you know everyone in the artsy scene in Oslo is wearing HAiKw/, if you see someone on the street with these patterns, you can tell that this person knows what she’s doing.

    Yass, be sure to wear that caps, dude!

Archive

September 2019

49 timer i Lofoten

January 2019

Looking for love in all the wrong places

March 2018

Dreaming in America

Trippin’ at the gates of womb

December 2017

Deilig er julen

November 2017

John Savio på Studiesalen

Brute

September 2017

Ut i vår hage

Sing Your Life

August 2017

Lines and Caricatures