“Well, I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, thought Alice; but a grin without a cat! It is the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865)
I suspect that even most people who never read the book are still more or less familiar with this quote. What you may not yet know, though, is that A Cat Without A Grin is also the title of the 2018 International Sculpture Biennial in Borås, Sweden. (But now you know!)
The brochure tells me that the theme was chosen “because of its relation to the surreal, and the interest in nonsense”.
Hmm… In other words: an excuse to mix and display a number of odd art exhibits without taking any responsibility for them to make sense… ; )
The exhibition was opened at the end of May, but it wasn’t until Thursday this week that I found a good opportunity for myself to go and visit the Art Museum, where most of the contributions are displayed this year. Some new or borrowed sculptures are also to be found here and there in the city centre – and some old ones have been temporarily moved to other locations. I made no attempt on this occasion to try and find them all – after all, I have all summer to go looking for them :)
However, walking through the Town Park on my way to the art museum, I happened to notice this new addition to the sculptures there:
It is named Stub or Yggdrasil and is here on loan from another town in the area, for the biennial. The name of the artist is David Myrvold. Yggdrasil is the name of a holy tree (ash tree) in Old Norse mythology – kind of representing the centre of the world, with its branches extending far up into the heavens, and its roots far into the underground. Various kinds of creatures live in or by this tree, and it is also connected to the main god Odin sacrificing himself there. What Myrvold wants to say by showing it as only a stub, I don’t know. But there is a glow within it (from LED lights, I suppose) to suggest there is life in it still… I think the spot to display the sculpture in the park has been well chosen, as it has been “planted” close to two older stone sculptures that also remind of ancient times and unknown mysteries (reminding of old stone monuments like Stonehenge and similar).
Along my way uphill to the art museum from the city centre, I also came across this piece:
This made absolutely no sense to me until I got back home and read the brochure I picked up at the museum. Quoting what the brochure says about the artist, Iman Issa: “Issa takes inspiration from historical works of art and objects and the way they are displayed in contemporary museological context. By creating new and minimalist sculptures with a resemblance to the original artefact and pairing them up with texts describing the object that inspired the new work, new interpretations arise. The presentation mode challenges our memory, our values and the importance we ascribe to language in this context.” (You may have to read that quote more than once – at least I did!)
There were also some photographs by the same artist on display at the museum, pretty much on the same kind of two-faced theme. I took some of them to be paintings, but the brochure says photographs. I’ll have to go back for a closer look, I think. (There is no entrance fee for this exhibition so I can go as many times as I like.) I only snapped a photo of one that appealed to me because I like the objects as such (books, pens, papers…):
Iman Issa: “Replica For Illustration”, 2018 (C-print)
The biggest work of art on display indoors at the museum was this one:
▲ Seen from the ground floor.
▼ Looking down on it from the floor/balcony above.
La dépossission - Artist: Latifa Echakhch
A collapsed theatre backdrop painted like the sky.
(”The sky is literally falling down on us”, the brochure says…)
My favourites exhibited at the museum were probably these two, though – playing with light and shadows, and kind of relating to that Yggdrasil stub in the park.
(I don’t find these in the brochure so don’t have the names of the artists)
There were also quite a few works of art in the exhibition that on this occasion did not “speak” to me at all… Remains to be seen if they will if I go back again!