As if I Was what I Am Doing

As If I Was What I Am Doing (Detail) / 2018 / wood, paint, oil, tape, felt, news paper, wallpaper glue, cardboard, cement board / various dimensions / Show: Alison Britton + Misha Stroj / 07.09. – 13.10.18 / Stereo Exchange, Copenhagen

proudly accompanying: Alison Britton‘s

A. – Egress (2012) 43 x 22 x 27 cm

B. – Pink Dish (1991) 18 x 53 x 31 cm

C. – Sibilance (2017) 42 x 46 x 25 cm.

Earthernware.

Dear Alison, I hope this letter finds you well and in good moods. I was sure that we will need to find a way to let people know about our exchange which I imagined as an exchange via words and letters. So from the very beginning I saw parts of not yet written letters in our together show in Copenhagen. I hesitated, I learned: that if we allow the objects, matters, things to act, inter­act and mingle on their own, more or less on their own, allow ourselves to just moderate their tendencies, then the need for words is fading. I was happy to see what I saw, experience what I experienced. Soon after of course, back in the studio, or already on the day of the opening, as always, a certain discomfort starts to grow, being still not able to simply accept peoples‘ hallucinated freedom to understand and interpret what they see in the way they are determined to do. Me myself starts feeling responsible, starts feeling a need to explain, excuse, understand. As if i knew better. It must have been a late summer when I started this letter, so let me paste here an aged attempt of the beginning of our conversation:

Dear Alison, I am cheering up this slowly fading season with the pleasure to imagine sorts of exchangewith you, your work, am looking forward to go to Copenhagen soon to build a piece of art, an installation, departing from something I have once done in New York, trying to connect to the mood and understanding I am growing, by looking at the fotos of three of your works. (…)

I cannot not write to you, knowing that it is risky to spread too many words, always a little random and false, vague words but: my work and practice and way of being and seeing is too much based, infiltrated and undermined by the sound of an unstoppable cascade of words, always longing to be more than a monologue, sometimes forcing others into attempts of conversations, debate, fooling around. I can not deny, I need to share I need to let you know, you will forgive me and your work is obviously not to be touched and weakened by some meandering amateur’s thoughts and considerations. No concept, no project, no plan, no story I want to impose on us, whenever I did, maybe it was meant to fill insecurities or please and lull the audience. I feel invited to move into your work which gives me calm and trust and Vorfreude….

Dear Kristine and Owen, with pleasure I can repeat what I did in silence or try to share my thoughts and considerations, while thinking about our possible show in Copenhagen. To repeat the process is simple: we try to find a way to determine our “sources” ­ our material, a pile of something waiting in the exhibition space will be transformed with pleasure. Then, as indicated above, there is something like an actual constellation of thoughts, moods and needs ­ the source of those is more than evident: it can only be the encounter with the work, if not person, of Alisson. There is too much to write about that, just for our record: there seem to be 2 in a space, not 1. At work.

I immediately feel like celebrating Alisson‘s work, transforming the New York work into an installation that highlights the qualities of her work ­ seems like I see a display. But maybe that‘s not honest, maybe we should produce some discomforts and contradictions too? More like a true face to face situation. I could/should also see the New York work not like an installation but as something like a singular work, at least that‘s how you also seemed to have accepted it.­ it‘s a very challenging tension for me to think from „Werk“ to „Installation“ and back. Question‘s of autonomy appear, identifiable makers, products etc. Here I really interrupt—in case there is something like a vision or idea how you imagined our work in space I am happy to hear about it. (Is there a selection of Alison’s work already?)

Det kunstnerdrevne udstillingsrum Stereo Exchange præsenterer sin fjerde udstilling: En sammenbragt udstilling med tre installatoriske skulpturer, skabt på stedet af Misha Stroj, i udveksling med tre keramiske værker af Alison Britton, fra hhv. Pink Dish (1991), Egress (2012) og Sibilance (2017).

Udstillingsrummet bærer præg af en hurtig, intens arbejdsproces, hvor Stroj en uge inden åbningen har (ud)tænkt, bygget og monteret sine rå træskulpturer af materialer fundet i området.

Strojs ene skulptur hænger ned i rummet og udgør en stor, åben cylinderform af trælameller, holdt sammen af to rundskårne ender. Inde i cylinderen står et af Brittons tunge værker så det løftes en meter over gulvhøjde – et maske lignende, delikat objekt med en bemalet overflade der skjuler sit lerede ophav.

En anden af Strojs skulpturer består af tre lange, tynde stave, hvilende mod hinanden som mikadopinde holdt sammen på midten. Skulpturen står på gulvet med en enkelt stav hvilende ned i et af Brittons hule objekter, hvilket skjuler overgangen imellem de to forskelligartede værker.

Hængende ned fra loftet og stikkende op fra gulvet, skaber Strojs lette træskulpturer en vertikal orientering i rummet. Deres konstruktioner medfører en fornemmelse af lethed og balance, hvor Brittons mere tætte og bearbejdede værker af brændt ler danner nogle tyngdepunkter i rummet.

Den sidste af Strojs skulpturer er monteret fladt på væggen med to udskårne halvcirkler, som et indrammet vægornament. Den har samtidig en hylde lignende plade der, som de foregående skulpturer, stikker ud i rummet. Hylden bærer det sidste af Brittons værker, hvorfor alle Brittons værker er i direkte berøring med Strojs skulpturer.

Der eksisterer altså et konkret møde mellem værkerne, der udfordrer hinandens individuelle grænser og skaber en mærkbar, fysisk indvirkning på hinandens måder at være til stede på i rummet.

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