Camilla Hammarström see a technically resourceful exhibition at Bonniers konsthall
Ellen Gallagher is an american, internationally-supported artist who is known to portray political and social issues through a poetic formvärld. In a collaboration with Dutch artist Edgar Cleijne, she has now taken the Bonniers konsthall in stockholm, with three filminstallationer.
The largest of them, the Highway gothic (by 2017), consists of a room where the beautiful blue panels of the film strip hanging from the ceiling and creates a feeling of underwater world. The images and texts has developed with cyanotypiteknik, which it uses to obtain the development of blueprint. First I think that the creatures in the pictures are outsized mites, but it is the moths and other animals that live in the swamps around New Orleans.
\\nInstallationen is a manifestation of the world that was squeezed out when the highway which cuts through New Orleans was built in the late sixties. The construction had not only environmental consequences, but also meant that the oldest african american district in the united states being demolished. People were dislocated, and shops had to close down. In the room is also two black and white films. In one field a man by träskområdet in the boat and in the other walk a man during the motorvägsviadukten where it grew, the beautiful oak trees.
There is an installation suggestive of up a dull atmosphere, but also a beautifully bustling water world. Knowing about the forced displacement of people and destruction of a culturally unique environment is located as a sharp undertone. An elegy of a lost world. One of the many.
\\nLika inmate I am not of the title piece Better dimension (2010). A cube where the visitor can go in and be subjected to a slide show. In the middle of the room hovering John F Kennedy's head spinning on top of a vinyl record. On the walls are displayed at the same time, projections of images that are similar to living tissue, which gradually becomes abstract paintings of rather simple quality.
Here, there is no synergy between the parts. Not with the cube's exterior, which is covered by the screen print of ”cosmic newspapers” of the jazz musician Sun Ra (1914-1993). Sun Ra was fascinated by space and said to be from Saturn, he seems to have seen the cosmic as a utopian free zone beyond the klassförtryck, environmental degradation and racism.
\\nSun Ra is also the inspiration to the film installation Nothing is (2010) where a lyrics of him appear in the filmrutan. A meditation on creation, our origins, and the four elements. The actual film strip is threaded through a harp which is periodically played by the tabs on the strip. It is a inventive work, but at the same time slightly muted. The feeling I get is that Sun Ra was a more interesting artist than what Cleijne and Gallaghers expression to his praise manages to be.
And so it is a little bit with this exhibition, the technical resourceful and has many interesting references.
But it is not always the parts marry each other and unable to create a full and convincing expression.
Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher