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tempus nullius
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Tempus Nullius, 2010
Instructions and illustration in vinyl letters on wall
See They Return Curated by Laura Mott at Valand School of Art

Text by Laura Mott:
The title of this exhibition is quoted from Ezra Pound’s poem “The Return”: a group is returning to where they began, uncertain if coming back is the right direction. To return to a place after a lengthy absence is a precarious situation—the present is distracted by memory and expectation. However, this position also offers potential and there are benefits to hindsight. In this vein, Valand alumni have returned to create new works or reconsider existing projects in the physical and psychological space of the institution, as well as the overall context of an art education. In many ways, this is an opportunity to break the forward trajectory of the institution’s time/space continuum: their return begets not only a certain nostalgia, but also a reconsideration of the outcome of prior pedagogy. What results is a collection of works that take on a variety of different perspectives, but all stem from a shared experience of a place.

Works by: Thomas Dahl, Christin Wahlström Eriksson, Charlotte Karlsson, Nina Lasilla, Mari Lagerquist, Stina Östberg, Lina Persson and a collaboration by Patrik Bengtsson and Maja Siri Hammarén

Thomas Dahl gives a performance featuring the mad genius artist archetype and his counterpoint, the art historian/curator/critic, acting as his translator. However, neither performer understands the content or the tongue in which he speaks to us. As the audience, we are asked to take measure of how bravado and presentation can substitute content. Also dealing with issues of staging, Patrik Bengtsson and Maja Siri Hammarén have created Skript för BANDNAMN (Script for BANDNAME), a work that takes on the aesthetics of the art school band—an icon for the anti-role, self-appointed vanguard of the new. However, this is a contradiction: by following the aesthetics of the radical gesture, it is not a true critical act and in fact strengthens what it rebels against. In the weeks leading up to the exhibition, Charlotte Karlsson conducted two personality and professional profile workshops with students from Valand and The Institution for Neuroscience and Rehabilition/Physical Therapy. The source material gathered is distilled into a few key components of “personality”, which are then reinstated into the commonly discussed vacancy of Valand’s interior. Christin Wahlström Eriksson also creates an antidote to the building’s reverberating architecture by covering a wall with flax insulation, a material that is engineered to absorb energy. Similarly, Lina Persson also changes the relationship between the individual and public space: she has printed a series of instructions in different parts of the building for viewers to perform - each being a conceptual study in mindfulness and absurdity. Stina Östberg’s flags each offer perspectives to two different audiences: one on the exterior of Valand reinforces the difference between the masses and art, almost as if asserting the impenetrability of the brick façade, while the flag hanging in the interior legitimizes the artistic pursuit. Mari Lagerquist also presents a series of large text works displayed throughout the building. Seen on a daily basis, these texts will become like mantras for the students, offering contradictory tones of encouragement and caution. And lastly, Nina Lasilla’s video features an unseen “artist” character, consulting tarot cards for advice on her art practice. The video encapsulates the anxieties of art making and the comedy of indecision that every artist does face.