Silja Strøm hevur í november mánaða havt eina framsýning í Glasgow, har hon býr, við hundrað málningum, sum hon hevur málað saman við skotsku listakvinnuni Lauren McGee. Silja greiðir frá, at tær hava havt ta føstu mannagongdina, at Lauren byrjaði upp á øll ólíka nummur (mynd nr. 1, 3, 5 ...) sum Silja gjørdi liðug, og Silja byrjaði upp á øll líka nummur, sum Lauren so málaði liðug. Tær hundrað myndirnar eru smáar, men eru annars lutfalsliga øðrvísi í mun til figurativu myndirnar, sum Silja Strøm plagar at gera við tað, at tær eru abstraktir felagsmálningar. Í sambandi við framsýningina hevur Josie Moore skrivað eina áhugaverda ritroynd um tað reina málaríið, sum ongan eyðsýndan ella goymdan týdning hevur. Tað er málarí, sum einki ímyndar, og sum er tað, sum tað er og einki annað. Lesið her:
Truth, Trace, Meeting, Meaning.
Josie Moore, November 2013
This is a story about truth and trace, meeting and meaning; about painting as presentation.
This is a story about one hundred paintings.
One dreams of a painting without truth, which, without debt and running the risk of no longer saying anything to anyone, would still not give up painting.
(Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting)
A painting without truth, without debt - what could this mean? An artwork that makes no claims, that reaches for or points towards nothing outside itself; an artwork that undoes the notion of transcendence. To see the work, not as a portal, a transmitter of some great and single truth; not as a representation of something other, something prior, something given: a beyond - but as something embedded, inextricably embedded in the world. An art without metaphysics - the work is present, the work is presence.
Presence, presentation; nothing beyond. The paintings stand for nothing but themselves. But is this enough? Can we go further? Having raised this word, themselves, which is heavy with questions of identity; can we go further? If a painting is nothing but itself - what is it?
...truth is always subordinate to the system of concepts at one's disposal.
(Gilles Deleuze, On Leibniz)
Identity is not a stable thing, not something fixed or static, but something arising out of multiplicity and difference. That is to say: a thing is as much not-something-else as it is-itself: our very means of identifying is predicated on difference. You cannot step twice into the same river; every moment is a new encounter, every thing is always different. There is context, always context; always an arising, an emerging-from. And always this productive opposition of negative and positive; an object’s not-ness interwoven with itsis-ness: an always-present trace of the wider world, pushing at the edges of things, rejecting the notion of transcendence. If the work is not a conduit for meaning - if it is nothing but material, nothing but presence - then how does it act? We could call it, in itsthereness, a record of the gesture; of the traces left by action, of the path of hand and eye. You see, the truths we think we find are not transmitted from some great beyond - they are created, generated by constant interactions; a continuing and renewing presence. Interaction, co-creation: a confluence of traces.
Since things and my body are made of the same stuff, vision must somehow come about in them... Quality, light, colour, depth, which are there before us, are there only because they awaken an echo in our bodies and because the body welcomes them.
(Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Eye and Mind)
A record of the gesture, the traces left by action, the (re)generation of multiple “truths”. We might think of the artwork as an archive of interactions: material meeting material and giving rise to nothing but material. These intersections are plural and simultaneous - paint, brush and board; artist and artwork; artwork and viewer; viewer and viewed. We can already begin to see the artwork as a locus; perhaps a sort of meeting-place. 100 Paintings makes this idea explicit. Here, not only do we find the interaction of materials, centred on the encounter: each painting is always already a co-creation; a presence, representing nothing, constructed by two artists. Plurality, simultaneity. This notion of the meeting-place is central: consider a street corner in a town. We might arrange to meet there, but no great transcendent meaning is sought in the place itself. The meaning comes from the moment, the encounter - the moment of encounter. The meaning is the meeting, nothing more.
Every sign by itself seems dead. What gives it life? - In use it is alive. Is life breathed into it there? - Or is the use its life? [...] Nothing is hidden.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations)
We want to think that there is meaning; we want there to be meaning. We want to look into an artwork and see truth; we want to listen, and so hear it speak. Buried treasure, deepest waters: we want there to be something there, a sort of reward. But the treasure is not buried; light sparkles on the surface of the water - and the painting is the meaning of the painting. What is is what is here, nothing is hidden. Presence, presentation. The moment of encounter.
Nothing is hidden.
Á hesari heimasíðuni er eisini ein lýsing av framsýningini umframt eitt stutt viðtal við tær báðu listakvinnurnar, sum er áhugavert at lesa. Onkursvegna tykist tað heimligt við tí síðsta ketta burtur úr høvdatrog spurninginum, hvat tær annars halda um fólkaatkvøðuna um skotskt sjálvræði.
100 PAINTINGS is a collaborative, process based painting project by Lauren McGhee and Silja Strøm. It consists of one hundred six by four inch oil paintings in an attempt to form a haptic understanding of the narrative functions which objects are forced to perform. The paintings eschew any representational function and have been produced only on the basis of achieving a satisfying resolution of the non-image through mark making and the combination of colour. This is achieved through the interpellation of the aesthetic judgement of each individual. In forfeiting the claim to ultimate authorship, the artists hope that the painting will be seen to exceed the limits of either artist's aesthetic satisfaction. The work acts as a meditation on notions of originality and unique artistic agency. The artworks are combative, and therefore perhaps not fully satisfying. In the process of collaboratively completing these paintings, both artists have recorded their thoughts and drives in relation to the production of the works: moods, worries, transgressions, distractions, and asides. This record takes the form of an online editable Word document, which is presented alongside the works. Displayed as series which is ostensibly lacking in content, the paintings are installed as a sequence of works without meaning. In an attempt to draw upon the significance of how paintings are made to speak, the artists present evidence of how our attentions can be fundamentally distracted, and how claims to the “truth” surrounding an object are entirely arbitrary. Initiating discussions about how artistic labour can be evidenced, 100 Paintings will also seek to undermine the conception of the mythical transcendental possibilities of painting, firmly grounding it as a cumulative endeavour not removed from the banal realities of the psyche.
What was the process of this particular opportunity: Inititally we wrote a couple of applications and proposals for different festivals and curated projects, but decided just to get on with it ourselves while these applications were pending, as we thought it more important that we make the work and show it. Lauren had just finished her MLitt in art theory at Glasgow Uni and Silja had just finalised a major art project herself, so we were keen to start a new, ambitious before getting distracted.
How did you prepare for this particular show? (did you receive funding, did you need to use workshops, how did you find the process of making outside of an institution etc):
We received no funding. Studio 41 was an excellent affordable resource which we paid for out of our small savings and tips. We also received logistical and practical support from Lauren’s workplace, The Squid and Whale, a small independent pub.
We are currently in the very early stages of planning another collaborative effort based around the significance of the two of us making artworks about our mundane daily routines within the flat we share. We plan to exhibiting the show in a derelict basement space situated directly underneath our bedrooms.
Your views on the upcoming referendum for Scottish Independence in relation to your life and practice:
Silja: I’ve only recently found out that I’m eligible to vote in the referendum vote, and I feel like I have a lot of research to do in order to make a fully informed decision, however on quite a general level, my political views are currently skewed further towards independence that not.
Lauren: Raised by vehemently enthusiastic separatists, I am broadly for independence whilst remaining somewhat wary of the wildly hyperbolic arguments which dominate the current debate. I think that an independent Scotland would improve the implementation of the policies and ideals which the people living here voted for. Also, it would make my mum so happy.