EURYDICE (Together with Cecilie Norgaard), painted cardboard, steel, lightbulbs, 2017.
Installation views @ Aquarium, Vienna, Austria.
According to western tradition, the Greek myth about Orpheus and Eurydice lies at the foot of the concept of ‘art’. Orpheus was a legendary shamanistic poet-musician whose affective talent would evoke and enchant animate as well as inanimate things - animals as well as trees, stones, and objects. In a variety of antique paintings Orpheus is centrally depicted playing his lyre in a scenario of empathic gathering of things, all affected by and wanting to merge with one another through this art. In other words - the myth formulates the power of art as something empathic, as an interest in transgressive exchange of matter - shape, content, idea etc. - art as a social, eventually ontological disruption, as things start becoming what they are not, and relate to other things they otherwise wouldn’t relate to, leading back to describing Orpheus - the artist - as a type of shaman, a magician, whose powers center around an ability to unite.
When Orpheus’ great love Eurydice dies, he is allowed into the underworld to bring her back to life, on the only condition that he won’t look back at her, walking behind him on their way out. – Yet he does so, and she must remain among the dead. Picking up on the notion of a ‘fixed gaze’ and taking on the viewpoint of the character whose position remains undefined through history, the work elaborates on Eurydice experiencing this scenario from the undefined backside.
Through establishing a completely enclosed and physically inaccessible scenario in the exhibition space, the clear division between on and off-stages is marked - where at the same time the limitations of gaze reinforces a notion of flexibility of perception: the work changes through the moves of the body, and even more so through the play with three- and two-dimensionality, light and shadow. Locking the spectators out of the exhibition space and leaving several openings through which fragments of the artwork appear enables a situation where the act of looking has become personalized; has paradoxically been opened rather than locked.
In the space where we gather, we’re reflecting on the gathering around the depiction. In the space where we gather, the stage is the only light source: that what is staged has become light source for that what is not staged…