At the begining of this year, when curator Mark Andersson saw my piece Shower Head, I had the pleasure to be asked to exhibit it at Nora Art's yearly group exhibition. The exhibition, called Svensk Konst Nu! (Swedish Art Now!), claims contemporary Swedish art is not only made and shown in the larger towns of Sweden, and not only by Swedes. Ten artist residing in Sweden would each take upon a room. When visiting the exhibition building, a former brewery in Nora, I understood the potential of the location. For a while I had been wanting to expand my work with a bathtub installation. Nora Art could provide me with the space and the material that I needed to do so, that until then had been out of reach.
In June, at the brewery's garden a battered bathtub was waiting for me, disfigured from its previous life. I painted it in a pink color that reminds of skin and put it together with Shower Head above it. So much made sense. But something was off, something was missing, disconnected. I couldn't seem to hang Obscured, the bra and panties I made out of human hair, in a position that pleased me. At the same time the bathtub felt unfinished, though I must say all new work I create does that for a while, then settles down.
Trying to refresh my mind from another perspective, I climbed into the bathtub. Distractions disappeared and I felt closer to my work. I was now literally in it, and then it hit me. Earlier I wanted Obscured to be shown above each other, to become a body. But here, as my own body was in the bathtub, it felt like the right thing to do. I layed it in to the bathtub, the same way I had been laying there several minutes before, and all fell into place. However weird the pink color of the bathtub was, it turned into skin and the damages and scratches turned into scars and stretchmarks.
Now, several weeks after the exhibition opened and with several more weeks to go I reflect upon my work. The bathroom is a place of physical care taking. It is a place of retreat, were in the safety of privacy one cleans the body and rinses of the masks worn to adapt to public situations. It is therefore also a place of confrontation; the bathroom leaves no possibility to deny realities of the body. Normative imperfections or shortcomings must be dealt with or nursed. Physical conditions, changes or insecurities must be faced. The installation at Svensk Konst Nu! is a reflection on experiences within this subject.
Thank you Mark Andersson and Nora Art for providing me with the opportunity to expand on my work and thank you Benny Andersson for photographing.
Read more about the exhibition and my fellow exhibitors at norart.se.