Stories, in Between
Loulou Cherinet, Patricia Esquivias, Brendan Fernandes, Tamar Guimarães, Will Kwan, Runo Lagomarsino, and Maya Økland.
Guest curated by Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh
22 January – 6 March 2011
21 January 2011, 6 PM
Discussions around identity in our supposedly post-colonial world have been in the forefront of intellectual and artistic activities for nearly four decades. From Edward Said onwards, thinkers like Homi K. Bhabha, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Frantz Fanon have transformed the way that we understand and discuss colonialism and globalization. Despite this crucial critical reflection, or possibly as a reaction to it, we are currently in the midst of a nationalist trend spreading rapidly throughout Europe and North America. As one of the world’s wealthiest regions, Scandinavia has a strong tradition of universal welfare and foreign aid. Yet, it is also at the forefront of this alarming nationalist trend, the effects of which can be observed around the world. In this ever more globalized and culturally intertwined time, stubborn tendencies toward distrust and ignorance fueled by fear call for renewed engagement in the public sphere with the multicultural realities at hand.
Stories, in Between features artists whose practices trace and unpack complex cultural identities impacted by diasporas. Based primarily in the Western hemisphere, these artists problematize and negotiate cultural and geographic associations of their personal identities as well as that of their work. The exhibition includes recent and new works by Loulou Cherinet, Patricia Esquivias, Brendan Fernandes, Tamar Guimarães, Will Kwan, Runo Lagomarsino, and Maya Økland. The artists share a desire to address the multifaceted implications of migration and globalization in relation to their various practices and positions. These are not necessarily personal narratives but stories and that result from research into tangled webs of international interpersonal relations. Often turning to time-based media allows these artists to negotiate more than one position, and convey intricacies and ideas that change through time.
In Scandinavia, notions of identity have for a long time been linked to discourses of unity and essence. Reflecting on the internationalization of contemporary art, Stiftelsen 3,14 is a unique venue, which strives to “try and look beyond our own country and to facilitate meetings between colleagues from different cultures and regions”. While we as curators recognize the dire importance of nurturing an international conversation about contemporary art, we want to continue and highlight a thread of 3,14′s programming, which complicates this discourse by looking at people and artistic practices that operate within multiple structures at once. The constantly changing imagery and voices that comprise Stories, in Between push viewers to question dichotomies such as North/South, East/West, Developed/Developing which are continually reinforced in the mass media and political policy. In reality, the continuous movement of people across the world and the ever-changing visa and immigration regulations that control this mobility ensures that the same actuality never recurs. Given the globalizing forces at play, we need to ask ourselves why so many people in so many countries are looking backwards, toward an idealized national identity, which in most cases has never existed. By connecting different realities, these artists create what curator Hou Hanru calls ‘in-between’ spaces in his essay Towards New Localities, which allows the works to obtain new senses and meanings.
Courtesy the artist and Elastic, Malmö.