Wrap Your Troubles in A Dream, Lautom Contemporary, Oslo, Norway 2008
Wrap Your Troubles in a Dream
Lautom Contemporary, 2008, Oslo, Norway
Curated by Power Ekroth
The psychological process of repression happens when the unconscious excludes painful impulses, desires, or fears from the conscious mind. At times it is necessary to consciously and actively use repression as a defense mechanism to be able to shift emotions, affect, or desires to avoid a paralyzing state of mind. This does not have to mean that one cowardly avoid seeing things for what they are, but instead it can help so see the problem in more clear light; to deal with the “real deal” and not fight the ad hoc problems. The arts, theatre, cinema, literature, dance and the visual art, are ingenious tools for a mental refuge where it is possible to “change the channel” and see a reality from a different viewpoint and possibly from a meta-perspective.
The artists chosen for the exhibition are all emerging artists on an international arena. The artists are all dealing with narratives in complicated structures and layers for their work, where the content often dwells upon escapism versus the reality and how a dreamlike world may be a perfect remedy to be able to see just how surreal the reality itself is. The observer is led through the artist’s experimentations and explorations of the narratives and will thereby be given a chance to use their own imagination in combination with their intellect to project an alternate layer through which it is possible to see the reality outside the gallery with. After all this is what art can do when it is at its best for a romantic soul – to displace and re-focus perspectives to comprehend an actuality in a broader way.
Juan Pedro Fabra (Uruguay/Sweden) uses nature as the setting for the events he stages in his photographs and works on video. Sometimes in his work nature appears as a romantically colored sun setting in the background, whereas sometimes all evasive darkness becomes a key part of the composition. In the film True Colours, shown at the Venice Bienniale, the Italian Pavilion in 2003, a spectacularly beautiful landscape in which a camouflaged group of soldiers is hiding. His cast of soldiers melts so convincingly into their surroundings that at first they are difficult to recognise. Fabra will produce new drawings for the exhibition for which a completely new form of production will be used. www.brandstromstene.se
Tessa Farmer (UK) miniscule sculptures reinvigorate a belief in fairies: not the sweet Tinkerbell image in popular conscience, but a biological, entomological, macabre species translating pastoral fable into nightmarish lore. Constructed from bits of organic material, such as roots, leaves, and dead insects, each of Farmer’s figures stand barely 1 cm tall, their painstakingly intricate detail visible only through a magnifying glass. Hovering with rarefied, jewel-like beauty, Farmer’s tiny spectacles resound with a theurgist exotica: their specimen forms borrow from Victorian occultism to evolve as something alien and futuristic. Playing out apocalyptic narratives of a microscopic underworld, Farmer’s manikin wonders rule with baneful fervour: harnessing mayflies, battling honey bees, attacking spindly spiders. Presented as wee preternatural discoveries, Farmer’s sculptures conjure a superstitious premise, dismantling the mythos of fantasia with evidence of something much more gothic, sinister, and bewitching. www.spencerbrownstonegallery.com
Bjørn-Kowalski Hansen (Norway) created a site specific work for the magazine SITE in 2007 named ”YESTERDAY IS CROWDING UP MY WORLD” where the words of the title is arranged and adapted so that it visualizes the claustrophobia that easily happens when contemplating today’s world-events or the personal luggage that one tends to carry on in life. Hansen takes the project into three dimensionality and has continued to develop the visual appearance and will produce a completely new work for the exhibition. Hansen, who is based in Berlin, may be best known for the project Håkki™ that made the cover of Contemporary Magazine in 2006, where the boundaries between economy, corporate ideas, utopia, society and art are expanded and explored. www.kowalskiness.com & www.haakki.com
Andreas Heuch (Norway) was at one time a student of botany, an experience that he has used in his artistic work. In giving up natural science for art, he also placed personal desire ahead of objective learning. Heuch works with installations consisting of painting, drawing, photography and objects, in which all express and constitute equal parts of a greater whole. Key concepts in his work include transparency and a sensitivity to chance events. The core of Heusch’s modus operandi is a collection of objects, an archive in which the “natural” and the “artificial” meet in a new category that he calls the “synthetic,” within which materials and objects that in themselves seem insignificant and pointless take on a new meaning when placed in a new context. Heuch will produce new works for the exhibition.
Gabriel Lester’s (The Netherlands) art frequently takes us back to these outmoded techniques for creating illusions. Such as, for example, in the audio pieces in which he works with old silent-film music. In the performance piece Piano Pay Off (2005) he collected music that used to be played during showings of silent films to create various moods - suspense, romance, sorrow - and had three musicians perform the music as a kind of background sound during an exhibition opening. We could describe his art as a study of the available techniques for creating an experience of reality. An investigation that also encompasses our own culture's conceptions of seeing - how we create images, how we look at pictures, and why we permit ourselves to be convinced by images. Distance in time makes it possible to view and understand how the illusion comes about and what makes us believe it. Lester will produce a new video for the exhibition. www.gabriellester.com
Katarina Löfström (Sweden) Light and perception have long been recurring themes in Löfström’s works, often in the form of projections of animated films. It is not only the projection itself that consists of light. The animations themselves are based on light phenomena that have subsequently been reduced and abstracted. Together, the geometric shapes, star references and the infinite perspective bear clear references to both numerology in the spirit of the pre-Socratic Pythagoreans, who also linked mathematic formulae to light and sound. From here, the step to surrealism, the esoteric and mysticism is not as far as one would think. Löfström will show the work Bow which is a sculpture that consists of rhythmically blinking lights on a semicircular metal construction that originally comes from a scene in the film where the main characters are in the jungle and experience an absurd and surreal glittering Playmate show, right after an intensive jungle skirmish. The light rig has stepped out of the film and gets the chance to independently express itself. The flashing lights inevitably affect the entire exhibition room. www.katarinalofstrom.com
Johan Thurfjell (Sweden) Very few artists like Johan Thurfjell pull off works that are simultaneously personal, poetic and romantic without becoming kitschy or pathetic. Instead, the personal essence transforms (without loosing the “personal-ness”) to not only something that is general and universal, but also touches something deep inside the spectator and still avoids the “stickiness.” Whether Thurfjell works with sculpture, drawings or even texts, the common ground for many of his works is a multi-layered narrative structure, where different narratives often crosses each other in intricate ways and in innovative combinations, but still comes together as a perfect unity. Thurfjell will produce new work for the exhibition. www.johanthurfjell.com
Jordan Wolfson (USA) Melancholy is a thread that unites Jordan Wolfson‘s works, but it is a melancholy associated with a cool sense of irony that makes the familiar or ordinary alien. This combination of two contrary emotions makes Wolfson a self-identified humorist in fact a humanist in disguise. Formalizing the dynamic tension of the impossibility of achieving completion is at the centre of Dreaming the Dream of the Dream (2004), a 16 mm film loop compiling footage of water extracted from animated movies and organized in a sequence that moves from morning to night. The film itself is doomed to become a myth, a vaque memory, since the nature of its medium, celluloid, is to destroy itself a little more each time it loops the loop. Wolfson will produce a new 3D video for the exhibition in which he will use footage of himself. www.jordanwolfson.org
Juan-Pedro Fabra Guemberena and Katarina Löfström
Katarina Löfström, Bow, 2006