About the world
Once again we must invest an unreasonable amount of resources in defending ourselves against each other. Despite all the well-meaning values and solemn declarations, we see how the world is now determined by the fundamental conflict resolution that has characterized humanity since the Neolithic Revolution: The War of Territories. (from gang settlements to revanchist geopolitics) The basic urge to subjug and kill. As if we didn’t have more important issues to deal with.
At the same time, the same humanity, through an outstanding global collaboration, has managed to photograph the black hole in the center of the Milky Way. Reality has many layers.
“Glad you have something to do,” a neighbor said as I stood working on some sculptures for the exhibition at Mannaminne. Funnily enough, I received the same comment over 30 years ago from a colleague at Sunds Defibrator when I exhibited at the dining room there. Both said in all good sense and with a reasonable perspective on my business. In their eyes, I might as well have used my creativity to renovate old American cars, build mini golf courses, or tie fishing flies. And maybe so, but for me, Art became what channeled my innate need for expression.
I think a lot when I make art, I’m a reflective human being. The images come as the result of an associative flow of thought. Sometimes I reflect on the reflection itself and make pictures of that too. In this way, it is a philosophical activity. But I make the pictures on feel, it’s not like welding together a roof rack where everything should be right and proper. No, with art, it’s like with the blues. There must be a splash of erraticness, otherwise it will just be boring and decorative.
About the Blues
You have to squire between the tables, crouch at the beginning of the basement stairs, follow the curved staircase until halfway down you hear the first moaning guitar loops floating freely over the rumbling of the bass and the drums.
St. Clara’s bluesjam in the Old Town in Stockholm has become a regular stop for me in recent years. There among the basement vaults there is a small bar, seats along the walls and at the far end a surface without tables for the band. With the drums in the corner and an acoustic piano facing the wall. It usually gets full so people crowd the aisles to be able to see. Just over half are audiences, the rest are musicians who are there to play. I nod to those I recognize and grab myself a beer, waiting for the piano to become vacant.
Blues is like sitting by a rapids. Like being in a meditative landscape that just goes on. An undulating noise in which small displacements, splashes and swirls breaks the pattern, creating a new turn. With each change of jammer, the character changes.
Sometimes magic occurs.
In Putin’s Russia, they seem to be working consciously on their aesthetics. Sometimes the whole war feels like a macabre art project. From the Z symbol that seems plucked from gangsta rap and street-art to the surreal images of young women in short white skirts and tailored uniform jackets parading with their Kalashnikovs. Or the priority of putting up statues the first thing you do in the Ukrainian cities you just bombed to gravel.
Even in my imagery, the war has found its way in. What used to be a way of portraying the temporary nature of structures has now been given a different more definite interpretation.
We move through life as vessels in time. People want it to be like before, but life is fleeting. History is constantly being rewritten to suit prevailing trends.The past is an illusion.We move through life in arrow corridors between well-known rooms where we know the codes and know what applies.
The blues is such a room for me. And the forest. Like the construction barrack, the welding booth, and the board of the condominium association.
The uncertain we have sweeping notions of.
It is said that we live in the Anthropocene, the age of man; that our doings have reached the extent that we affect the good and woe of the entire planet. Like the cyanobacteria once, which oxygenated the atmosphere or the shellfish, which crawled around under the Cambrian period.
Many we have become. But humans, like other species, are primarily concerned with relating to other humans, like the blackbird who only sings to other blackbirds. With solving intra-human problems such as the allocation of resources and power. This constant struggle between groups, gender and identity governs our stories, our legal consciousness, and our morality but with the Anthropocene, our spinal reflexes are put on hold.
“The whole country should live,” we say, implicitly cheering for the rural areas, although from the point of view of biodiversity it would be better if we lumped ourselves together in cities and refrained from exploiting all the land for our needs, if we didn´t grind down all the forest to make diapers and paper napkins but instead left a larger part (perhaps 30%) of nature to take care of itself.
About this I have no pictures, but these are questions I ask myself. My art is sometimes about perspectives where not all answers are given. About thought models in the making. Sometimes I feel like the miller in Carlo Ginzburg’s “The Cheese and the Worms,” slightly odd in my musings. But I haven’t created my own cosmology, I trust the natural sciences.
My art is also about the small and simple. About impressions I have accumulated during life. About time and aging, about weekdays and meetings between people.