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Matador


Celebrated Swedish visual artist Maria Friberg takes C-print behind the scenes of her recent work ”Matador”; a video which allegorizes the fragility of life and which revolves around a vortex of water. Maria speaks about the staging and execution of the work which like many of her past projects is marked by large dimensions and intricate technical considerations. The work will be presented at Galleri Andersson Sandström in Stockholm on December 10 as part of her ongoing show “Piles of Dreams”.


The idea behind “Matador”, as a video work, was to stage the trace of a man in a vortex of water as a companion piece to the video work “Erna” which is the trace of a woman. The idea was to create imagery of a man’s shirt, trousers and a jacket twirling around getting pulled down by the wortex. For it to call to mind a movement of life and the inevitability of ultimately disappearing. When I look at the work now it appears to bear a lot of spark of life and force; more so than death. The life line; the wortex symbolizing it here, appears thin and delicate but surprisingly resilient but breaks through in the end, followed by a serene peace which finds itself as two white shirts intertwine in a dance of sort. The video is marked by a silence. The calm is reminiscent of a photograph in my current exhibition of a man facing the viewer with his back, overlooking the water.


On the image you can see me and Tedd Soost, my camera man who is preparing for a dive down the cold tun; 10 degrees. We faced some problems with a pipe that was set incorrectly and had no time time to empty the tun carrying 6m2 of water. I’m lucky Tedd is always so ready and hands on with things. He’s not just a camera man. Sadly he did catch a cold. I love that everyone in the team pithces in and works so well together.


On the image you can see me and Tedd Soost, my camera man who is preparing for a dive down the cold tun; 10 degrees. We faced some problems with a pipe that was set incorrectly and had no time time to empty the tun carrying 6m2 of water. I’m lucky Tedd is always so ready and hands on with things. He’s not just a camera man. Sadly he did catch a cold. I love that everyone in the team pithces in and works so well together.


This project to generate a vortex of water was technically the most challenging thing I’ve done. A lot of wise and playful people have helped me along the way. The lightning was magical and rendered everything into grand poetry, much thanks to Lasse Malmjärn. Bosse at Planglasteknik in the suburb of Ormringe has worked with me before and thankfully allows his glass construction site be a playground on weekends, enabling large constructed projects like this. Thanks to him it was possible to create the wortex machine; 3 meters tall and 2,7 m wide. It’s the same glass construction site where I did a past project titled “The Painting Series”. When we drove cars over glass for that project, it was Bosse who did the technical assessments figuring out that it would be possible to drive, and also first test driving himself.


Constructing the wortex machine took roughly a month. Bruno Tardat first did a cad drawing of the actual construction after which Bosse and his employees built it with wood and metals with insets of glas that enables filming and which also serve the lighting. In terms of the title, “Matador”, it felt very fitting for the work in light of forceful pumps used against the pieces of clothing. A real-life matador in essence challenges a bull with a piece of cloth as well. In total 3 big pumps were used that can churn out 200 liters of waters per second and it was literally very difficult getting the wortex to work as intended. All the theories of how we were to generate a wortex just fell flat so in the end it all just really came down to practical trial. All different elements like the placement of the pump and the height of water came into play.


There was a struggle right through the end and luckily it did come together the last day that we could work on location. Phew. The employees at Planglasteknik weren’t particularly fond of working with wet feet…the tun saw a little leak, you see. Essentially that’s usually how the work goes. A great deal of work and a little luck to go along with it. Maria Friberg’s exhibition “Piles of Dreams” is on view at Galleri Andersson Sandström in Stockholm through December 19. An artist talk and the presentation of “Matador” takes place at the gallery on December 10. www.gsa.se To learn more about Maria Friberg, visit: www.mariafriberg.com


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