FOREWORD
"Project Ålidhem" Ingo Vetter and Peter Lundström

"I like Umeå and Umeå likes me" Lasse Sahlin

"An Important Part of our Education" Students’ Foreword

ART WORK
Ylva Trapp

Frida Krohn
Therese Johansson
Lars Hedelin
Frida Krohn, Ylva Trapp
och Lina Palmqvist

Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy

Per-Arne Sträng
Martina Wolgast
Mariel Rosendahl
Nils-Johan Sjöquist

Chronology
Map

CONTEXT
"The History of Ålidhem" Hans Åkerlind
"My own private Ålidhem" Maria Bjurestam
"Functional Sculpturer" Ingo Vetter

Presentation of Participants
Sponsor

Svenska

Mariel Rosendahl
THE CEILING OF MY ROOM IS STARS

Two installations consisting of a number of large pieces in concrete with bronze details, placed close to but out of sight of each other in a wooded area in Ålidhem. The third complementary installation is, at the time of writing, not yet realized.

That there is a utilitarian aspect, a “function beyond art”, in the piece is self-evident. The furniture can be sat on or in one way or another be used as physical surfaces; the stove can be fired, and there are also obvious social qualities. I chose to take the risk that this could be understood as a supposition: that public art needs a “practical area of use” in order to attract financing, have a raison d´être and, not least, recognition from the public. Art always struggles with both attracting and shielding itself from other fields.

However, the presence of function is not the same as the reduction of artistic value. As regards my installations, the latter would have been the opposite had the pieces been diminished into only stylized representations of furniture. They are not furniture either. Interactivity does not lie in actually having a pick-nick but in the possibility of it and in the pieces’ physical attributes - they are about 50% larger than ordinary furniture. What all this means in full can only be experienced physically. It is, otherwise, the same size relationship as that between children and adults and (adults’) furniture during a great deal of childhood. Nevertheless, children – the not-yet grown-up people – seem more natural in the installation. They do not observe, they get into it immediately, they crawl into the stove, they climb on the table. Like the fairy tales’ Hansel, Gretel and Goldilocks, they help themselves, egotistical and curious. And they let themselves be enticed into – or out of – the wood.

The forest is a public space (planned, unplanned) while it also represents something non-human, non-civilized. An artwork there is not an eye-catcher on a square or a street corner. It is nothing one passes every day, but on the other hand, it is impossible to ignore if one happens upon it.

The forest breathes tranquility and beauty but is at the same time raw and threatening: it is what we call nature; it is also the opposite of the warm glow of the lamplight at home. In my installations it is perhaps not the furniture per se that forms the link - “who is this furniture made for?” – but the material. Concrete and metal are what we call natural materials, but they are controlled, static – and civilized. Recast nature.

Nevertheless, the installations conform to where they stand in the forest. The almost dove-blue concrete picks up nuances in the stones and the tree trunks that are otherwise difficult to capture. The smooth surfaces and forms play with the light and the metal castings collect water and leaves. The frozen moment interacts with time. People are attracted to or alienated by the work; small mosses grow on it. The installations become rooms turned inside out, where what we recognize is also what is alien.

Nowadays “timeless” is a recurrent word: in my work, is has to do with the lack of clear style references. But it is the time of human beings that is alluded to - as time goes, a very short time. There is both a consolation and a defiance in creating things. To understand that inner spaces are not separated from the outer; to know that the seemingly insignificant impressions that can be left comprise the tops and declines that the line vibrates in. The possibility to create involves accepting that the world is always changeable.

The Grass Will Be Greener

The birds will still be flying, silhouettes visible
The sounds from the ventilation
and the generators still running
The grass will be greener
And everything most beautiful
When nobody is here

Video 11 minutes

A horse moves on asphalt between the brick buildings, in human territory. He, who has followed human beings through the beginnings of civilization, is remarkably separated from them, lost in the world that once tamed him. Perhaps that is why the horse also encompasses multi-facetted symbolism - freedom, beauty, strength, mysteriousness and vulnerability. A wild animal that continually renounces its own instincts in favour of a complete obedience to human beings.

The video can be seen on www.marielrosendahl.se

The work also led to a collection of stills, of which several are on view in this catalogue.

My video installation at Ålidhem is site-specific. By that I am not referring to the spatial conditions in a viewing situation but that it inevitably will be experienced differently by people who see it at Ålidhem from those who see it somewhere else. The first have links to Ålidhem as residents or visitors. Just outside the exhibiting space are the environments where the film was made. To lift an artwork out of its context and do a new version can change the original way into the work, but also open up new interpretations.

I did the music much earlier with the film in mind and it functioned as the basis for the atmosphere when I was filming. The music is a polyphonic choral piece with classical influences and it reinforces the beautiful and simultaneously absurd in the images. The sacred references in the piece link it in mood to the apocalypse – the humanity of the music strengthens the absence of people in the film (even if we identify ourselves with flock animals and the horse thereby takes on a human character). The restrained drama both contrasts with and accompanies the tranquil tempo in the long take.

The sung text is a fragment from the Finnish “national tango”, Satumaa, whose romantic verses describe a lovely fairyland beyond the sea, where the beloved waits and where one can go only in thoughts that are free. The text acquires a deeper and darker content in context. Written in 1949 in a war-torn country, it is said to bear in its few lines the Finnish people’s sorrow, longing and dreams – perhaps the strongest symbol of the Finnish melancholy.

Despite obvious painterly and photographic connections, or perhaps even more, the influences of film-makers using these means of expression, I am primarily a performative artist. My work tends to be as much a captured performance s a video or an installation, but by that is not meant documentation. The present video is a result of a complex collaboration between me, my assistants, the magnificent shire horse and his trainer.

A manuscript would have denied the individual character of the horse. There are many ways of working with not entirely controllable elements, in this case an animal with its own interests and views, camera assistants who sometimes (and sometimes do not) follow instructions (and who were indeed asked to not always follow instructions). What is difficult is to maintain focus - without missing the birds flying by that complete the composition. Yet there is joy in the unpredictable, in developing along with one’s work and allowing the unexpected enrich instead of disturb the idea as planned.

Improvisation with a DV-camera gives a large amount of material to select from, but without the presence of intuition it would have been immense and messy. Perhaps the final result of such an improvisational way of working is actually under more control than working with a (film) schedule. There are several choices.