reconnecting, attuning, integrating

art, recent work

During the Exhibition and Life (reconsidered), a forgotten painting from thirty years ago was brought into the light… Someone found it touching, somehow – because of the lapis lazuli blue? the mere size and shape of the paper? the little “tadpole” figure? the black charcoal circle? I can’t tell. But there it was, for the first time publicly on display.

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from day 3 of ‘the Exhibition and Life (reconsidered)’

I was touched, too – reconnecting with the long gone place in my life where this image emerged. A feeling resonating from there to now, setting me in tune again. Urging me to respond from another me. To review the elements – their size, brightness, depth, materiality, tactility; to rethink the proportions and composition; to find a new provider of lapis lazuli pigment; to find a way of mounting the large paper for permanent display.

The lapis lazuli pigment changes in a remarkable way with the changing qualities of light; from the midday or afternoon sky, or from electric lightning. An Orthodox rabbi’s wife passes me a quote from an artist whose name she doesn’t remember: “blue is the light coming into being”.

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We’re still in the undetermined process of integration. Proceeding with care.

Business

art, painting

The driving force of the Exhibition and Life (reconsidered) may have been about re-imagining an existing body of work, and co-creating in the here-and-now; yet, the creative drift is inseparably followed by a shadow called economy. Landlords and art material dealers rarely give their goods away; artists have basic human needs as well. Most of us therefore work part or full time in parallel professions (salaried). Hence, I feel the importance of recognizing when someone steps up, willing to actually pay for the artist’s work; especially when that someone is an individual with limited resources, who just happens to be touched by what they experience. This post is for you – to acknowledge the importance of your support; for the artist, it means encouragement and economic relief. For the artwork itself, it means fulfillment. 

above: Snowdrop (left); Spring snowflake (right);
charcoal, chalk and watercolour on paper,
each 120 x 175 cms
below: car packed, heading for home

customers

Dear customers from near and far – I’m deeply grateful for our exchanges: for hours spent together under the hot studio roof, meticulously packing two large drawings for a long car transport; for the spirited talk and delicious ice chocolate cake shared in a beautiful 19th century Stockholm apartment; for all your sensitivity and recognition; and for the influx to my bank account, as well as to Médecins Sans Frontiers (as part of a deal). I hope your purchases keep giving you joy, each day to come!

191211 03b diary painting (Miriam Wolff)
diary painting 191211 03,
oil and blackboard paint on wood panel;
40,5 x 20 cms

final notes from the Nordic Summer University 2022

time-out

From the grounds and the chapel of Rønningen folkehøgskole
(August 2022)

This journey was finished already two months ago; I found the photos when preparing for the next one. A journey to unchartered places – announcements will be made in due time…  

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In good company with Laura Hellsten

Notes from the Nordic Summer University II

art, curating, recent work, time-out

During the week-long NSU session, I got engaged in a couple of ‘ad hoc’ projects (in addition to my presentation within Circle 7, which was the ticket to my participation here). The first one happened in the context of a cultural evening.* Together with a number of courageous persons, I staged an updated performance of a multilingual poetry reading first realized in August 2014.**

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2014 poster – for full story, see Training the Fundamentals of a Democratic Society

The original project sprung from a poem by Ukrainian author Tanya-Mariya Litvinyuk. In this re-staging, Ms. Litvinyuk is actually present through a sound recording sent from Kyiv the day before; her voice is heard from the laptop at the beginning. Then follows an English translation, read by Dr. Lucy Lyons, after which the English reading proceeds with ten words (all singled out from Ms. Litvinyuk’s poem). Back in 2014, those ten words sparked a collective writing process in a group of civil rights activists, and the poetic result of their joined efforts was translated from English into all languages spoken within the group. Here, I’m reading the Swedish version – followed by a fresh translation into Belarusian by NSU participant Alina Kalachova, created for this occasion. Crucial contributions (although not visible on screen) were also made by Maru Mushtrieva.

The multilingual reading evening engaged about 35 attendants, and took place in the school’s chapel.

My second ‘ad hoc’ engagement was in Disa Kamula’s workshop on Co-writing the future, where my contribution was the real-time mapping of an unfolding utopian narrative… From the resulting vision of a bright future, I finally erased all details but three:
…people of all ages…
…essential work… (cleaning up, that is)
…future generations in focus…

Mapping ‘Visionary Tampere Region’ workshop; resulting World Map,
and workshop leader Disa Kamula collecting workshop material afterwards.

What did I gather from this week? Art is knowledge, and artistic research is here to stay. Democratic structures are essential, although never perfect. Disco dancing is fun – thanks, Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt!
And the map is never complete.

* The NSU multilingual poetry evening was organized by Lara Hoffman, PhD student at Háskólanum á Akureyri, Iceland; she is also the editor of Ós – The Journal, a magazine which features works of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and artworks in multiple languages.

** The 2014 Evening of Modern Ukrainian Poetry was organized by Yulia Oleksandriv and Julia Shevchenko, in collaboration with Stockholm International Library.

Notes from the Nordic Summer University I

art, recent work, time-out

As July turned August, my Latvian Easter experience brought me further, to Oslo; from an intimate three days’ winter session, to one full week of intense exchange in a much larger group of practitioners and academics within the Nordic Summer University

It took two different trains, a replacement bus, and finally the ‘trikk’ (Norwegian for ‘tram’) to reach Rønningen folkehøgskole at the outskirts of Oslo.

The NSU is an independent academic institution, since 1950 nomadically alternating between venues in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Among its founders and early pioneers were Johan Galtung – principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies – and Nobel prize laureate physicist Niels Bohr. Already in its beginnings, the NSU manifested the idea of interdisciplinarity; and to this day, it has remained open and playful, yet academically stringent; and (not least) with an interestingly democratic organization, free from carrying much administrative weight.

Glimpses from Rønningen folkehøgskole, run by the YWCA/YMCA of Norway

At this NSU Summer session, ten ongoing study circles gathered around themes such as Urban Studies: Between Creativity and Power; Nordic Environmental Ethics; Decolonizing Social Work... and The experiential in artistic practice and research: methods, knowledges and reflective processes – Circle 7, that is, where I took part. (The eleventh circle is the famous Children’s circle, where participants’ kids gather to have a good time too, and sometimes to contribute to the evening programme.)

Some random pictures from Circle 7

There was a full schedule almost every day of the week: for each circle, three lectures/workshops daily, followed by a common cultural evening programme, or the gathering of NSU’s General Assembly (where decisions were taken on next year’s activities and new board members and other in-charge functions were elected). In between, we could benefit from taking a walk in the surrounding areas, take a fresh swim in the river Aker… and for one day off, make excursions in the city.

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…to be continued…


Photo credit: Elina Saloranta

Turning point

art

Summer solstice – a turning point of the year. White nights, light becoming warmth; fledging nestlings soon ready to take flight; flowers opening and closing, before turning into the secluded process of fruition…

For myself – a turning point in my professional life. The exhibition venue is cleared and cleaned, keys returned; four weeks of exhibiting are completed. As visualized through the hexagrams from the Book of Changes, completion – a state of perfect order – will last only for a fleeting moment… to be followed by the transition to something yet unknown. Today, disorder and hope are my companions. Reconsidering will carry me on.



Before Completion

art, recent work


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“This hexagram indicates a time when the transition from disorder to order is not yet completed.”

“BEFORE COMPLETION. Success.
But if the little fox, after nearly completing the crossing,
Gets his tail in the water,
There is nothing that would further.”

“Fire over water:
The image of the condition before transition.
Thus the superior man is careful
In the differentiation of things,
So that each finds its place.”

I Ching / Book of Changes

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the Exhibition and Life (reconsidered) / day 26

art, curating, recent work, time-out

The first guests arrive twenty minutes before opening time, and from then I just need to stay in the flow – people coming and going all through the day… some chatting, some resting, moments of welcome feedback, many Q’s and A’s, some proper curating by a trusted colleague, a trained eye scrutinizing framing solutions… until, in the afternoon, all artworks are removed from one wall, and those who stay a little longer pick up charcoal and markers to leave some traces on the open surface. Finissage!