of what is left

Of What Is Left

The project “Of What Is Left” is a co-operation between three artist-run galleries: Gallery Huuto (Finland), Studio44 (Sweden) and Kunstschlager (Iceland). It runs from autumn 2014 until autumn 2015.
The project will produce four exhibitions on the theme “Of What Is Left” in the three national capitals; Reykjavik, Helsinki and Stockholm. We may then, thereby, widen the horizon for a comprehensive survey of contemporary Nordic art in each participating country.
I am one of five artist from Studio 44 that runs and participates in this project.
The project is supported and financed by Nordic Culture Fund.

“Of What Is Left” investigates what we as a culture categorize as “what is left” and consider what value things of such status have in our present. By taking as its starting point an active negotiation of the Nordic identity, and through the lens of the three countries’ languages, and the participants’ correspondence, the project investigates the leftover as a life potential in increasingly unidirectional contemporaries.
In the current societal and cultural climate, what kind of phenomena are we to call “leftovers”?
Moreover, that which is “in the gap” possesses perhaps the most genuine aspects of life; it is potentially prospering with a very strong vitality in its own cocoon of oblivion.
Could this be so, or is that a romanticized fantasy?
“Of What Is Left” examines that which is categorized as “leftover” in today’s society. Proceeding from the term ’rest’, ’residual’, and ‘remains’, themes such as identity, communication, excessive wealth, value and crisis are illuminated during the project. ’Residues’ is, in the Scandinavian countries, a term closely connected to wealth/plenty and “leftovers” is what remains when things no longer suit one’s purposes and expectations.

What is Nordic identity in the year 2014 and how is it reflected in contemporary art?
In what way can one speak of contemporary Nordic art considering the ongoing transition of the countries’ culture, due to immigration but also increased global communication?
In what way is it rewarding to speak about geographic regionality and culture today?
Are there any benefits considering other forms of regionality around the world?
What can be found reaching out for other cultural kinship besides that of being neighbouring countries and how does that affect the Nordic cultural region?


Of what is left – to imagine the spaces in-between (Magnus Bons)

“Leaving a trace in languages means leaving a trace within the unforeseen of what are now the shared conditions of our lives.”
When the poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant writes about translation, he also says something essential about art. It seems to me that translation concerns gaining and losing meaning and information. Since art resides in language, the work of art is the result of such an act of translation. For what happens when a work of art is presented by the artist? The material of the object – whether it´s sculpture, text or digital images – intermingles and merges with the subject matter of the art work, shifting each other´s original meaning in the process. Matter and concept transforms and opens up into independent domains. What we get is, speaking with Glissant, “a trace within the unforeseen”.
All of the four artists in the exhibition are, in separate ways, dealing with these traces as evocative thought forms. They´re handling the remnants of that which otherwise would be overlooked. Their shared working method is one of dislocations, trying to get in between cultural concepts and finding alternative meaning to preconceived notions. The artists are united in their negotiations of visualizing differences.
Christina Göthesson´s erased Bibles and mixed soils of different nationalities are subtle questionings of a floating global and cultural condition. Who decides what is worth holding on to? Who writes our history? How can we formulate truly independent lives with words and traditions that shape us at the same time?
Joel Hurlburt transforms digital screenings from nature into inverted visual renderings of the actual spaces lying in the gaps. What we see is the unexpected result of processed information concerning snowflakes in motion. The highly tangible image expands in an alternative use of advanced technology, and gives body to immaterial phenomena.
Ola Nilsson´s text charts are poetic itineraries that develop images of places yet not known. His diaristic constructions combine descriptions of imposed paths in an apartment and letters that remains unanswered. A mental sphere arises that contains both the outline of a particular space and the limitless realms of contemplation.
Susanne Högdahl Holm´s tiny shelters built from the pages of seminal books functions as intimate and empathetic interventions in the real. She highlights the contradictory relationship between the abstract nature of words and the harsh reality of fugitives in exile. The books get destroyed in the process, while simultaneously expanding their original intentions.