Installation view

»Thinking and Speaking«

Stockholm, April 04, 2013 - May 12, 2013

Curated by Stefanie Hessler

Erica Baum
Francisca Benítez
Iñaki Bonillas
Luis Camnitzer
Haris Epaminonda
Felipe Mujica
Nanna Nordström
Linda Persson
Falke Pisano
Lisa Tan 

“Just as the imaginary situation has to contain rules of behavior, so every game with rules contains an imaginary situation.” ~ Lev Vygotsky in “Mind in Society”

The exhibition “Thinking and Speaking” takes its title from Lev Vygotsky's founding work of constructivist psychology from 1934. It brings together different attempts by artists to appropriate language and invent new idioms as a means for understanding systems and creating new worlds.

Language is at the base of societal power structures, and – as Michel Foucault has pointed out – power itself is exercised through discourse. If speech is crucial for determining societal systems and the constitution of subjects, and norms are so embedded as to be beyond our notice, a way to rethink them may be by altering the use of language itself. The exhibition “Thinking and Speaking” looks at modes of appropriating and experiencing idiomatic systems from a meta-linguistic perspective and with an emphasis on play.

The artists in the exhibition playfully analyse and question language as we take it for granted. Some invert aesthetically orchestrated and manipulated signs used to exercise power. Others address the relation between speech and temporality. Some deal with the impossibility to translate abstract ideas and dreams into oral speech. Still others point to the formal relationship between diction and physicality, or create abstract and visual forms of poetry. The exhibited works are not all connected to idiomatic language, but build their own regimes by bringing forth objects that do not fit into any category, and expressions of ideas that do not yet have any corresponding semiotic signifier.

Play and appropriation can be so associative and replete as to overbear the possibilities of translation from thought to speech completely. By contriving new patterns of expression that transgress or modify existing ones, deadlocked structures may be detected and discarded. 

Installation view

Falke Pisano, Silent Element (Figures of Speech), 2008, MDF, paint, 530 x 330 cm, Edition of 2

Francisca Benítez, Property Lines, 2008, 13 graphite paper rubbings, 45.5 x 60.5 cm each

Luis Camnitzer, Text and its Shadow, 2009/2012, graphite on paper, Edition 1/3

Luis Camnitzer, Text and its Shadow, 2009/2012, graphite on paper, Edition 1/3

Linda Persson, Re, TUrn, Dis, Ruption, Stab, 2012, HD video, animation, wooden structure, 3 objects, display cabinet, 3:10 min loop, dimensions variable

Linda Persson, Re, TUrn, Dis, Ruption, Stab, 2012, HD video, animation, wooden structure, 3 objects, display cabinet, 3:10 min loop, dimensions variable

Linda Persson, Re, TUrn, Dis, Ruption, Stab, 2012, detail

Felipe Mujica, Untitled, 2013, cotton fabric and thread, 270 x 158 cm; Untitled, 2013, cotton fabric, canvas fabric and thread, 270 x 154 cm

Nanna Nordström, A Sound Family Makes A Sound State, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable

Nanna Nordström, A Sound Family Makes A Sound State, 2013, detail

Nanna Nordström, A Sound Family Makes A Sound State, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable

Nanna Nordström, A Sound Family Makes A Sound State, 2013, detail

Nanna Nordström, A Sound Family Makes A Sound State, 2013, detail

Iñaki Bonillas, Specimens, 2013, 4 digital prints on cotton paper, 50 x 35 cm each, Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Haris Epaminonda, Untitled #11 n/g, 2013, found image framed, two plinths, chinese grave plate, 180 x 68 x 70.5 cm

Erica Baum, Dolores (Naked Eye Volume Two), 2012, Archival pigment print, 44.5 x 40.5 cm, Edition of 6 + II AP; Wild Tumult (Dog Ear), 2009, Archival pigment, 23 x 23 cm, Edition of 6 + 2 AP; Ballets (Dog Ear), 2009, archival pigment print, 23 x 23 cm, Edition of 6 + 2 AP

Lisa Tan, Sunsets, 2012, single-channel video installation, 22:30 minutes with sound, Edition of 5