ANTENN 2019

art, recent work, time-out

Back in 2017, a happy collaboration with Julia Adzuki resulted in a Resonance Jam in the old Watertower of Gnesta; a historical venue offering unique acoustic and spatial qualities. Soon, the concept developed into a broader platform as Patrick Dallard of SymbioLab and Karin Lindström Kolterud joined in. Artist group Ljudtornet (“Soundtower”)  formed in 2017/2018, and opened the Watertower to a Sound/Art festival in late August: ANTENN 2018. On a limited budget, the festival managed to present a broad range of sound artists and musicians – all of which declared their wish to return for a next time. One of them, Tomas Björkdal, eventually became a permanent member of the Ljudtornet group and played along with the rest of us…

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Ljudtornet at play in the Watertower;
photo HHW.

And so, ANTENN 2019 was conceived… Thanks to the Swedish Performing Arts Agency and the Swedish Arts Grants Committee – in addition to the municipality of Gnesta – we could work on a considerably larger budget, and thus managed to invite residency artists throughout the summer.

Serious business in ANTENN 2019 administrative board;
photo credit Anka Draugelates

Come September, ANTENN 2019 finally staged two days of live performances and installations by 40+ artists from Sweden and abroad; once more filling the Watertower with resounding waves of light and sound. For anyone who couldn’t be present, the whole programme was live streamed over web radio (and listened to even as far away as Singapore).

My contribution was largely behind the scene. As a painter, I sometimes think of my craft as the faculty of listening with the eyes… here, I had a beautiful opportunity to sit quiet and enjoy the heartbeat of the Watertower, as rendered by so many fervent and sensible performers. Just listen:

 

 

 

 

 

The Meeting

art, grayzone, recent work

Another invitation; another collaboration. At Kulturcentrum Järna, Rudolf Steiner’s mystery dramas will be performed during a five-day event, and a correspondent exhibition engages a number of people from the local arts and crafts scene. Nigel Wells (Virbela Flowforms), Eva-Karin Planman, Sigrid Winkler and I go for co-creating an installation. We choose a space – much like a bridge – where a staircase and two galleries connect with the upper entrance of the large auditorium. The place is central, narrow, open. Nigel makes measurements and sketches. All four of us bring in different components to the process: concepts, such as revelation, playfulness, light, body, image; references – the lamps hanging aloft under the ceiling, the dramatic theme; suggested materials like textiles, water, sand… I could see triangular crystal prisms in the large window facing due west. Mud, says Sigrid, there has to be mud. So, we prepare mudwater from the modelling clay in the workshop of Virbela. We cut and dip fifty metres of nonwoven fabric, and find a drying place in my studio.

Nigel cuts wooden pieces for the frame, Eva-Karin paints them. We calculate and drill holes for the wires. Then comes the mounting; twenty-four prisms hanging in the window, the frame put together and installed. And finally, attaching the veils.

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There it is. A breathing body, a light-and-shadow labyrinth, a crossroads; the Meeting.

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Two Excursions in Art

art, beauty, teaching, time-out

This past week, I put the brushes aside for some days to go places and see people…

First heading West to the city of Gothenburg and HDK Academy of Design and Crafts, where I was invited to introduce the DasArts feedback method to a group of students and teachers at the Jewellery Art Programme. I already knew contemporary jewellery as a dynamic field, and the works of these students were no exception. Dealing with a diversity of topics (such as biomorphology, symmetry, space/surface transformations and trauma healing), they thoroughly proved the potential of thinking through materiality.
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Encouraging inscriptions at HDK:
“Art and Learning/Give Boons and Glory”; (to) “THINK”

During the course of two days, five student projects were presented for feedback; added time for tutorials and evaluation resulted in an intense time schedule, to say the least. Nevertheless, everybody managed to give focused, warm attention throughout the whole workshop – an admirable accomplishment, especially at the end of a semester with exhibitions and examinations drawing close.

Every time I practice this feedback method, I discover new features; in this group, the evaluation talk highlighted themes like stepping out of anonymity, cultivating a practice over time, and shared experience as a common ground for individual development and change. I’m truly grateful to teachers Klara Brynge and Märta Mattsson for the invitation, and to the whole group for our shared experience.

And then I returned home, only to jump forth into another event…
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For the time being, I’m re-framing my engagement in the Storytelling by Art context; and I was lucky enough to be invited to the annual conference of the European Outsider Art Association (this year held in Sweden). The programme – under the theme of E/Quality – turned out to provide a wealth of inspiration, experience and networking potential. Local hosts were the marvelous people of Inuti; a foundation, which provides space for “artistically talented individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals within the autismspectrum”. Inuti is currently running three supported studios in central Stockholm, along with an adjacent art gallery; and building an art collection as well.
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Snapshots from the EOA conference, day 1;
Inuti Lilla Essingen studio (above)
and performance by Anders Wettler (below)

Inuti spoiled us by introducing us to their exceptional studios featuring live art manifestations while in Stockholm – but one conference day was spent in the small town of Sala (approximately 130 kms northwest of Stockholm). Here, we visited Little Istanbul – the ongoing life achievement of self-taught artist Jan-Erik Svennberg – before continuing to the Ivan Aguéli Museum.
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Visiting Jan-Erik Svennberg’s  Little Istanbul

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Now digesting the nourishing, artful, challenging experiences of my excursions; thinking and re-thinking as we walk.

Leaving the House

art, recent work, time-out

Satan’s Death – last part of Satan’s Trilogy – was brought to an end by New Year’s Eve 2017. We, the artists, quickly transformed ourselves into LVL4 art association (named after the primary studio/hangout space on the 4th level). By doing this, we managed to stay in-House for yet another year. No more theatre production…

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LEVEL 4 exhibition (November 2018)
…but on November 1st, doors were opened to the public once again. For a full month, visitors could experience installations, sculpture, paintings, sound art and performances – such as The Magic Garden (Anja Dahlgren/#cversatilesthlm), Polluted Ocean (Elise Mattisson Chue), Seastar’s Sea (Eka Acosta), The Ritual (Robin Victor Dahlqvist), Fear Less (Em Fexeus), 700 portraits (Camilla Hammarin), Våga! (Thea Blanca)… to mention just a tiny fraction.

 

And more; the Hackshack project, lead by Alice Bulukin and Ivan Alexander Höök, invited everyone to build and experiment with electronic devices. The remarkable Archive for Temporary Art (Lisa Fält, Victor Gussing Chihuailaf, Carolina Alvear Bello and Klara Nordqvist) curated five short-term exhibitions within the exhibition. Makaroni photo studio offered instant portraits. Younger artists like Albin Limnell shared space with professionals such as Frida Farm and Izabella Englund

 

…and then there was the abundance of graffiti/street art; DEMENZ&MYS, DIRTY, OMEH, Klotterklungan and others curated by Juntan… plus LEEV, Ziggy, KLTR and more…

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Juntan/Ziggy

As for the Passage Room, it just… stayed. Honoured with a sound installation – Livmoder (Uterus) – by Nathanael Saposnikoff, the compost lead a quiet life, tending its fertile darkness.

 


FINISSAGE-EXORCISM (December 1st-2nd, 2018)

 

Come December, the exhibition ended with a nonpareil art party finissage – staging thirty hours of live music, DJ’ing, spontaneous jamming, sporting all kinds of heavenly/demonic outfits and dancing through the night… By noon next day, a bleak, reluctant December sun watched DJ Lucinda Illernäs perform the outro in Woland’s chamber. And so, the immense, thirty-hour-long, imaginative-beyond-borders and completely impossible FINISSAGE-EXORCISM closed this chapter – opening all minds to the next level.

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E+X+O+R+C+I+S+M

Leave-Taking (December 3rd-23rd, 2018)
After which every material part of the artworks had to be disassembled, stripped and removed; it took us three more winter weeks, and filled 17 containers… From time to time, I rambled the corridors collecting marks, traces and moments.

 

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Halfways, a portion of those loose bits and pieces came to serve as backdrop in The Last Party trailer for Gothenburg Film Festival 2019 (starring, once more, Angela Wand).

 

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The Passage Room was emptied, too: all wooden, textile, acrylic and metal parts dismantled; the stones and soil and reeds and ashes returned to earth; the lights shut down.

 

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***

A true friend you have been, House. A magus and a teacher, too. Now time is up.

TOODLE-OO!

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ps. All filmed material from Satan’s Trilogy now free to watch here:
ALLA SATANS FILMER

Public Commission VIII: Everything Coming Together (Finally)

art, recent work

School is closed for a week-long autumn break. I meet up with technician Per-Arne Sträng – who also happens to be an artist in his own right – to mount the map pieces. One and a half day of smooth collaboration…

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…and – we nailed it! This is it.

181105 02bCluster 1 (1A, 1B): the school building

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181030-13b.jpgCluster 2A – 2D; overview (above) and close-ups (below)

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181109 01bClusters 3 (3A, 3B) and 4 (4A – 4F), overview

Cluster 3, close-ups

Cluster 4, close-ups

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181101 01bCluster 5A – 5E, overview (above) and close-ups (below)

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Cluster 6A, 6B, overview (above) and close-ups (below)

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On Friday morning, Leif Josefsson – the school librarian – pops by and improvises an interview for the facebook site…

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So, this is really it; all the map pieces are mounted, the starry sky alcove is glowing, and the light projections are up and running.

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Just one more thing for Monday;

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let’s welcome everybody back to school with a surprise opening; snacks, grapes and applejuice… Good morning!

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And now, it’s all yours. Enjoy!

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Public Commission VII: Embroidery Galore (August – October 2018)

art, recent work

With the starry sky alcove and the coloured spotlights set in place, I could return to the third part of the commission: the school road mapping.

Back in spring this year, schoolkids in two classes presented me with their hand-drawn maps – each one showing their own path from home to school. I began to fuse those forty-something individual images into one collective map. Some related to places that were easily recognizable, and some of their features were obviously identical; a supermarket, a traffic circle, those two water pools and the Thai restaurant. Others were very personal, and sometimes pertaining to different layers of reality; a secret tree-house, an encounter with a friend or a wild animal, or some wildly ambivalent feelings expressed in graffiti style… And there were suns, and moons, and stars.

Having arrived at an overview, I again divided the map in triangular parts and arranged the sketches in clusters designed for five different walls; now with the individual paths intertwined – sometimes interacting – and (almost) all ending up in the central piece with the school building.

Then, twenty-one pieces of felt were cut and prepared with starch. Similarly, twenty-one wooden boards were produced to tauten the felt pieces onto. And the embroidery race started…

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It was pure delight to discover all the details of the kids’ maps; humorous – sometimes cheeky – emotional, colourful, observant and straightforward. In rendering their felt-tip pen drawings into yarn stitches, I did my very best to stay true to the original.

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August and September came and went. Stitching, listening to the radio, stitching; pausing only to eat and sleep, and sometimes to go buying more mouliné thread… And slowly, the map took shape. By the end of October, I stowed the embroidery table away. The map was ready to mount.

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Interlude: duet with the setting sun

art, beauty, recent work, time-out

Back in the old Watertower of Gnesta… Collaboration with artists Julia Adzuki and Patrick Dallard (SymbioLab) has been brewing for some time now. Karin Lindström Kolterud – who added the element of ancient sound technique kulning to Resonance Jam #2 – has joined the team. Since last year, a group of people have gathered recurrently in the Watertower to try out its unique acoustic qualities – and during this long hot summer, a number of artist residencies have taken place.

Tomorrow, we’ll launch ANTENN 2018, a two days’ Sound Art Festival. And what an amazing line-up of artists: Linnea Rundgren and Tomas Björkdal with live multichannel sound and image projections, Girilal Baars doing Mongolian overtone singing, jazz/classical duo Johanna Dahl (cello) and Ebba Westerberg (percussion)… not to mention the male voice choir of nearby village Björnlunda – and quite a few more!

Full program here: ANTENN 2018, program

And my part? A contribution to the upcoming performance of Julia and Karin; they will be playing with voice, body, space, and another one-of-a-kind instrument – a wrecked old marine buoy, prepared by Patrick. Julia and I did the lighting… and the setting sun joined us for an hour, turning the watertower into a giant Camera Obscura. What an honour; playing duet with our home star.

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Public Commission VI: Coloured Light, Curious Shadows (May-June 2018)

art, recent work

What next? After the night comes morning light… The starry sky alcove calls for a surrounding light design. Earlier, I did some tests with torchlights – but where to find permanent spotlights producing such a distinct, sharp-edged image?

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Torchlight test

Having searched high and low, and after consulting lighting experts – among them Gerhard Rehm at CDC Lighting and Bengt Ahlin at Färgrum – I finally find the spotlights I’m looking for, through the Rebel Controls company; they’re actually miniature gobo projectors. And, they’re expensive. And, they don’t really fit into the existing wall, because they’re too long; need to add a few centimetres of thickness there.

Spotlight collars – design and result

So, I contact Snickerifabriken Järna – a carpenter’s shop where they do CNC lathing – and present a sketch. And – whoaa! – what a beautiful piece of work they produce: ten perfectly cone-shaped collars, lathed out from hard five-ply birchwood. Thank you, carpenter Nisse! Rather than painting the collars to “blend into the wall”, I’ll pay tribute to craftsmanship by treating them with matte varnish.

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Collars mounted, wiring installed

Site director Anders has been very supportive all along; now he brings a hole saw and cuts all the holes I have marked out. Electrician Thomas does the wiring, and I can mount the spotlights. A day or two for trying out the colour filters and set the final composition – having great fun…

Shadow selfie with three spotlights

Meanwhile, school goes on. The spring term is soon coming to and end. Schoolchildren still aren’t allowed to visit the workplace area – but every now and then I do a little guided tour around the venue for a group of curious kids together with their teachers, or on their own… They are the ones who will spend the days and years to come up here. To share the joy with them is even better than playing alone with light and shadows.

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Public Commission IV: Light Fibres, Dark Fibres (April – May 2018)

art, recent work

Having finished painting the acoustic diffuser, I return to the alcove with the circular window. The bench is there, waiting. The dyed silk is now being processed by Anna Wahl Gran and her co-workers at Högklint; felted with dark fine wool into large swathes of fabric… I receive one magnificent piece after another, and store them in the adjacent classroom. And I’ve got a set of optic fibres, a “Starry Sky Set”, ready to install. This requires some planning, a star map, a ladder and a good drilling machine, a staple gun, non-acid wood glue, a lot of tooth picks, and patience.

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First, I mark out positions for each of the 81 individual fibres, arranged to resemble some of the constellations of the Northern and Southern skies. Then, I remove the wall boards to drill the holes. That made, I stretch and fasten the felted pieces over the plywood. Toothpicks, pushed in from the backside, show where the holes are and make way through the strong fabric where the drilling machine would be useless.

Meanwhile, the fibres have been provisionally attached to the original brick wall. Now comes the patience part…

With the felt covered wall-boards loosely set in place, I can squeeze one arm in from behind to manipulate the thin fibres into their holes – working literally by fingertip sense, not being able to see through wood – and meet with the acrylic toppings from the front side. Applying the proper kind of glue, again by the help of toothpicks, and trying not to loose any of those minimal fixtures, measuring 3 by 5 millimetres…

The whole process takes me three full weeks or more, but finally I’ve arrived. And it works!

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Public Commission I: Dyeing, 2nd Batch

art, recent work

15 square metres were far from enough. As sun and wind drives away the last of winter, I’m dyeing a second batch – another 10 x 1,5 metres – of blue silk. This is my part of a collaboration with Anna Wahl Gran, who masters the technique of nuno felting… The dyed silk will be laid out with fine wool and felted into a compound by Anna and her co-workers; the intense blue will blend with the naturally brown and blackish shades of sheep fleece. While ironing metre after metre of fabric – in order to stabilize the dye – I admire the first test samples from Anna, thinking of those stunning photos of deep space… (Actually, pure blue isn’t really my colour.)

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APOD Lopez & Rosenberg

Above: two test samples of nuno textile with fine wool and dyed silk, by feltmaker Anna Wahl Gran; and the M81 Galaxy Group, seen through the Integrated Flux Nebula (photo by D. Lopez and A Rosenberg/ IAC).

Below: fixation of colour in silk fabric.

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