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Katarina Löfström har lenge fått stor oppmerksomhet både i Sverige og utenlands for sine videoarbeider, tredimensjonale verk og installasjoner. Lys, persepsjon og hvordan vi velger å tolke omverden er et tilbakevendende tema i Löfströms arbeider. I sine lysarbeider tar hun ofte utgangspunkt i fargete plastfilmer, som settes opp på vinduet, eller hun velger å belyse deler av rommet ved hjelp av farger slik att ulike illusjoner skapes. Ett annet tilbakevendende fokus er hennes tro på bildenes evne til å fungere som meningsbærende, uten hjelp fra det skrevne ordet. Gjennom bilder kan mennesket komme i kontakt med de sider som kompletterer vårt rasjonelle, intellektuelle jeg, og som skiller seg helt fra hvordan ord og tekst evner å skape mening. Her skiller Löfström seg fra en av de sterkere retningene i samtidskunsten i dag, samtidig som hun gjennom dette knytter seg opp mot en lang tradisjon av billeddskapere.
Mange av Katarina Löfströms arbeider, både bevegelige bilder og skulpturer, går ofte i loop, uten begynnelse eller slutt. Den eneste nøkkel som tilbys i hennes arbeider er tittelen. Den gjør kanskje ikke forståelsen av verket lettere men tilbyr isteden ett startpunkt for egne assosiasjoner. På denne måten fungerer de som musikkstykker som ofte har en tittel men mange ganger ingen tekst. Med denne utstillingen vill Oslo Kunstforening ikke kun introdusere ett nytt kunstnerskap for Oslopublikummet, men også undersøke billedkunstens iboende evne til å bryte tillærte mønster og i ett øyeblikk slippe taket i vårt rasjonelle tenkesett. Kanskje er det akkurat denne evne som gjør billedkunsten til det sprengstoff som den altfor mange ganger er blitt anklaget for, eller roset opp i skyene for å være. Katarina Löfström vil vise nye og eldre arbeider i utstillingen.
Katarina Löfström / Almost Nothing /16.10 - 16.11.2011
Katarina Löfström has received considerable attention both in Sweden and abroad for her installations, video- and three-dimensional works. Light, perception and how we choose to interpret the world around us is a recurrent theme in Löfström’s work. Her light installations for instance are often based on colored films placed on windows or colored light illuminating the space creating various illusions. Another recurring focus is her conviction in the images' ability to function as meaningful without the help of written word. Through images we reach parts in us that complement our rational, intellectual self, which differ from how words and text create meaning. From this perspective Löfström’s work stand out from one of the stronger trends in contemporary art today, but at the same time the work relates to the continuous tradition of image making.
Many of Katarina Löfström’s work, both moving images and sculptures, are often looped, without a beginning or an end. The only key offered is the title, which doesn’t really offer any immediate understanding but functions more as a starting point. The work is comparable to many pieces of music, were there is a title but no lyrics. With Katarina Löfström’s exhibition Oslo Kunstforening/Oslo Fine Art Society whishes to introduce a new body of work to the Oslo audience, but also to examine visual art's inherent ability to break loose from traditional learning patterns and rational thinking. Perhaps it is precisely this ability that continues to make visual art so explosive, exposed to both accusations as well as praises. Both new and older works will be presented at the exhibition.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen
Light, perception and how we choose to interpret the outside world is a recurring theme in Katarina Löfström’s video works, three-dimensional works and installations, as well as her belief in the image's inherent ability to create meaning, without the use of language/text. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Löfström isn’t interested in language: quite the opposite. Where the image is often analyzed through language, Löfström is more interested in approaching language through images. It is mainly its inadequacy and intangible qualities that interest her; several of her works serve as constructions or frameworks for capturing the elusive and volatile aspects of life and language.
Ludwig Wittgenstein tries to define that which lay’s beyond language’s ability to create meaning in his famous treaty that ends his Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent (Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweige). There is a tension in language between what can be said and what can only be shown, between what can be expressed and the ineffable. They are each other's opposites and have an intrinsic relationship in the same way that something can only exist if there is a nothingness that it can be measured against. There is no light without darkness and light can only be perceived if it has a surface to be projected against. There is no sound without silence and at least one pair of ears that can hear the difference. Thus, language is reflected by all that it cannot express.
The work Almost Nothing that is found throughout the entire exhibition, points to precisely this by applying color filters onto the windows of Oslo Kunstforening/Oslo Fine Art Society. The windows are then covered with blackout curtains, letting the colored daylight bleed through the narrow slits framing the curtains. The piece reveals our ability to read between the lines, to draw meaning out of a minimal amount of information. The small but clear light vents accentuate the rooms while the small color shift helps our habitual glances give way to an active gaze.
In 1951 Robert Rauschenberg painted a series of White Paintings, at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Originally they were used as set designs for one of Merce Cunningham’s happenings. John Cage described them as landing strips or receptors for light and shadow. Rauschenberg in turn described them as surfaces for ambient conditions. Cage was inspired by the work and in 1952 he wrote 4’33”, which in a way captures all that is usually passes by undetected. The pianist sits silently at the piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, emphasizing the ambient sound-scapes; audience coughs, shoes that scrape, fabric that rustles.
Young Believers is one out of several filmed happenings that Löfström has made over the years. The piece takes place backstage at a shadow theatre show. Exactly as in Rauschenbergs White Paintings the white screen on stage captures light and shadows. The people behind the screen are prepairing for the show, trying out the stage machinery, charging the stage/room for the performance, while their finely tuned choreography is registered by the camera.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel Absolution the young boy Rudolph Miller is introduced to a metaphor during a conversation with the local priest:
"Did you ever see an amusement park?"
"Well, go and see an amusement park." … "It's a thing like a fair, only much more glittering. Go to one at night and stand a little way off from it in a dark place--under dark trees. You'll see a big wheel made of lights turning in the air, and a long slide shooting boats down into the water. A band playing somewhere, and a smell of peanuts--and everything will twinkle. But it won't remind you of anything, you see. It will all just hang out there in the night like a colored balloon--like a big yellow lantern on a pole."/… /
He sat there, half terrified, his beautiful eyes open wide and staring at Father Schwartz. But underneath his terror he felt that his own inner convictions were confirmed. There was something ineffably gorgeous somewhere that had nothing to do with God. Absolution by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1926)
An Island consists of an abstraction of Gröna Lund in Stockholm. The amusement park is seen from afar by night. Its illuminations silhouette an elusive scenario, a something which can only be fully experienced from a distance. If we go too close reality will interfere and the apparition will turn into nothingness. The contrast between light and darkness and their inherent relationship can here be seen as a parallel to Wittgenstein.
In 1832 Samuel Morse declared his famous words: "If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted instantaneously by electricity", after which he threw his successful art practice overboard and became an inventor. In 1844 Morse telegraphed the first communication between Washington DC and Baltimore. The message read "What hath God wrought!" (The Book of Numbers 23:23). The verse was probably used to point out the fact that electricity and the telegraph were not the result of witchcraft, but were Gods own work.
Loop (The End) consists of a light chain that loops the sentence "The End" in Morse. The paradox of the works lies in the impossibility of ending something over and over again and can be seen as a vanity motif. In Rosario two different light chains flash the words "Eyes Open" and "Wide Awake" respectively, the classic command used to bring a patient out of a hypnotic trance. Within psychiatry trance is used to access memories and ideas that for various reasons have been submerged beyond the reach of language. Through trance the patient is able to reach a state where he/she can resurface memories and ideas to a conscious state of mind.
Rosario was originally made in a monumental version for the European Patent Office's (EPO) headquarters in Munich. Three of the most famous and used patents were included in the piece: the light bulb by Thomas Edison, alternating current by Nikolai Tesla and the Morse code by Samuel Morse. The installation was placed in a seven-storey high stairwell in the middle of the building. The installation site inspired Katarina Löfström to think of the in-between, as main routes were ideas are born. The title refers to the rosary and prayer that like meditation aim to elevate you to a more profound level of consciousness.
Hanging out with an old friend (Venice) is as Young Believers a filmed happening. It is for the first time that they are shown in public. Both are filmed in black and white, referring to a past, like old diary entries. Hanging out with an old friend (Venice) takes place in an apartment on the Lido that seems haunted. A light flashes restlessly, the camera searches through the rooms again and again, looking for something that seems lost. The title of the work indicates a meeting. However, the film reveals an absence or more precisely – a presence of an absence. A carousel-like ride through the apartment closes the film, as a kind of final recapitulation of a chain of events, perhaps in final reconciliation.
With Katarina Löfström’s exhibition Oslo Kunstforening/Oslo Fine Art Society wishes to introduce a new body of work to the Oslo audience, as well as continue to examine visual art's inherent ability to break loose from traditional behavioral patterns and rational thinking. Perhaps it is this built in resistance that continues to be perceived as provocative in contemporary art.
About Katarina Löfström
Katarina Löfström has received an MFA from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and works primarily with video, digital animations, audio interactivity, and sculptural installations. During the late '90s, she worked with Swedish commercial film with director Jonas Åkerlund, scripting pop videos for amongst others Madonna, Prodigy, Moby and Metallica. During the early 00's, she and DJ Linus Winstam ran Club Bevil, with the aim to show art, street art and music in unexpected places. It was also during this period that digital animations such as "Hang Ten Sunset" and "Whiteout" were produced. As part of IASPIS Studio Programme she stayed at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin and began to work with Jan Winkelmann at Winkelmann / Berlin, a collaboration that lasted until 2008. During this time she produced some of her best-known video works, "An Island", "Tower" and "Score". Back in Stockholm in 2005 she began working on a public commission in the form of a sound interactive light piece for the new concert hall in Uppsala, UKK. This was followed by other public commissions, for instance in the World Heritage High Coast and at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. Since the turn of the millennium Löfström’s work have been presented in solo exhibitions at, among others Index in Stockholm, Norrköping Art Museum, Skellefteå Konsthall, Malmö Konsthall and Uppsala Art Museum. This summer she participated in the Momentum Biennale "Imagine Being Here Now", and is currently working on three public commissions.
Katarina Löfström is represented by Andréhn-Schiptjenko in Stockholm.