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Weather Report With A Two-Year Old In Tow

Ulrika Gunnarsdotter, Where Did the Head Go, Parler Au Soleiil (2020), photo: Corina Wahlin

It's fall time and the astrological sign is Corona. My two-year old has a running nose, hence is staying home with me since kindergarten is a no-go today. He is too ill to be around other kids but similarly too well to just keep inside. We make the executive call to head out to Eldhunden; the Swedish Artists' Association's (SKF) new satellite venue in Stora Mossen to see the inaugural group exhibition Analogue Funny Weather. We are hoping, not to run into anyone.

Already upon entrance, the visitor is met by two large-scale installations which set the tone for the entire exhibition. Ulrika Gunnarsdotter's Where Did the Head Go, Parler Au Soleil and Anna Ridderstad's Eruption. The former consists of a chair on which rests a man's blazer, while on the wall hang three curtains which appear like skirts. The visitor is resorted to having to bend down in order to get inside, under the "skirts", to see the three loops of a video. Curtains through which daylight and sun simmer through are seen, as well as the contours of a man on the balcony outside. At the bottom-end of the image; on a bed, the toes of a woman appear in view. What rapport to these two figures share? The man will remain a mystical shadow; an elusive object. The woman lies by herself, watching and contemplating. The scene is devoid of any express communication between the two. The interaction has alread been had and they now are pinned to their own respective "rooms" and their own thoughts. Image and sound too seem struck by dissonance as what is seen is marked by the understated and sheerness while the sound trebbles, is vibrant and "exotic". The title of the work alludes to the man's head which somtimes disappears away from the sun, but also suggests that the woman has travsered her own comfort zone, doing something that she will not be held accountable for.

Anna Ridderstad, Eruption (2020), photo: Corina Wahlin

The other installation consists of a broomstick and a pile of dried nettles. It comes across as the result of fall cleaning on your front or back lawn. Around this pile, the artist has created a perfect grid of the nettle crumbs. Only a bored or lonely person would occupy themselves with this genre of meditative practice. It appears like an allusion to reinventing yourself, by controlling something which so easily blows away and leaving behind an imprint of the self. But nettles are weed and can burn. It's piled up to molder. To disappear.

Further on in the exhibition these attempts to reach out to "another" continue, despite it being clear that this "other", or the relationship to another external notion, is shifty and complicated. And there is indecision in the works since no average person should want to be alone, but standing alone nevertheless entails power and prevents from getting hurt at the hand of another. Solitude too at times is a state where recharging can happen, and from where new attempts at direction can be carried forth. Some works employ deception and are much more confronational: Jakob Westerberg has created chocolate truffles from his own body fat: sweet and luringly seductive. The artist will become a part of you, should you choose to eat; a bit like a Trojan horse. Zahra Zavareh's sculptures Sharp as a Shock and Aggression In Your Piercing Eye consist of a wooden ear and and an eye; the former enclosing knives, saws and a bottle-opener in steel. A Swiss-army knife which tells you: "Everything I see and hear will be used to cut you right open."

Zahra Zavareh, Sharp As Shock (2013) and Aggression In Your Piercing Eye (2020), photo: Corina Wahlin

Found as a centerpiece in the inner of two main exhibitions rooms, is the video Brothers to Sisters by Timo Menke and Nils Agdler in which a male choir performs Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves. In a way the work could be seen as springing from all the various lonelinesses in the exhibition, forming a polyphonic voice. Thoughts extend to this ongoing pandemic and everyone who remain isolated in their home, who works from there or are confined to a hospital. People's need for contact and interaction has never been so evident (and challenged as much) as under the pandemic. For a person who has not been particularly affected, e.g. a Swede like yours truly, some sounding compass would be due in order to "live" the situations of others.

Nils Agdler och Timo Menke, Brothers to Sisters: Välimiehet performing Sisters Are Doin It for Themselves (2018)

One of the more beautiful works in the exhibition is Cia Kanthi's video "The Fall, To Become Material". Determinedly the woman in the film walks across the high grass which flows with the wind. The surroundings transition from urban to nature and assumedly mirrors her inner state. Leaving order and structure behind for a freer state of being, where letting go is prompted by the world around. Considering this ambiguous title I would appear to have reached the end note of the exhibition and yet on my way out I pass by Nils Agdler's video Den nya mannen/Rebirth. A naked man runs across a snow-covered landscape towards the viewer. Winter. The whole exhibition clutches together as a circular allegory of birth and death.

Cia Kanthi, The Fall, To Become Material (2018)

Eldhunden as an exhibition venue is not easy. First impression is that of an abandonded community center or communal laundry but the curators Ashik Zaman and Hedwig Edsforth have managed to create a room which through through the choices in artists, theme(s) and installation lets the visitor entirely forget cosmetic defects in the venue and instead lets the visitior get immersed in the artworks. Perhaps it is this particular geographic locale and the humbler disposition of the site in combination with the curation that actually craddles me back to my own youth and allows me to feel the many nuances of loneliness, but now together with other people, even as the venue as I'm there is pandemically empty of others. The exhibition Analogue Funny Weather makes, just as the book by Olivia Laing which lends its title, a point as to why art is so very crucial when the world looks the way it does.

Emil Bertz


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