Installation view

Sofia Hultén »Matter is Plastic in the Face of Mind«

Stockholm, October 03, 2014 - November 08, 2014

Sofia Hultén spent her youth in the shadow of 1980’s recession in Birmingham, UK - a city that had played a great role in British manufacturing since the industrial revolution. Her work explores the aftermath of this defunct industry by returning dignity to neglected materials with distinct histories and revealing their hidden potentialities in alternative realities and parallel possibilities.

In her second exhibition at Galerie Nordenhake Hultén presents sculpture, video and photos in which the matter-of-factness of redundant industrial objects is imbued with the infinite possibilities of quantum physics. The glamorless dreariness of discarded clothes found in the street is subverted by the deadpan slapstick with which the artist adopts and transforms them.

Some of the works evoke Schrödinger's Cat - they seem to be two versions of themselves simultaneously. For example, a telescopic elevator gate is welded allowing it to unfold in a new way, which in turn prevents it from opening at all. Does this render the gate half its previous self, or double? Does it increase its “gateness”, or negate it?

The paradoxes of Science Fiction recur in Hultén’s video performances and modified objects. Looping and non-linear time are common in depictions of time travel and characterise many of her works. In the video Nonsequences a sequence of events is re-enacted in various causal orders. In one sequence, an apple is polished on jeans, eaten, dropped into dirt then disposed of in a plastic bag. In another, the apple is placed in the plastic bag before being eaten, then dropped in dirt etc. In The Man Who Folded Himself (titled after the 1973 science fiction novel by David Gerrold) two found folding gates are welded into a loop shape based on a diagram of a time travel experiment. In other sculptures heavy-duty trolleys are cut in half and welded in new pairings. The new-mirrored axis results in a symmetry that prevents their potential to, in some, bear any load, and in others, roll in anything but tight circles. Although the original function has been subverted, they appear to gain some new function. Comedian Mitch Hedberg once quipped: There would never be an ‘Escalator temporarily out of order’ sign, only an ‘Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience’.

Sofia Hultén was born in 1972 in Sweden and lives and works in Berlin. She was awarded Moderna Museets Vänners Skulpturpris 2011. Exhibitions include I'm Still Here, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, I Used To, I Still Do, But I Used To, Too, RaebervonStenglin, Zürich (2014), Vom Eigensinn der Dinge, KAI 10, Arthena Foundatation, Düsseldorf, Rythm in It, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, The World Turned Upside Down – Buster Keaton, Sculpture and the Absurd, Mead Gallery, Warwick (2013), Pressure Drop, RaebervonStenglin, Zürich, No No NoNo No No, Konrad Fischer Galerie Düsseldorf (2011), Modernautställningen, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Ninety-Nine Problems, Meessen De Clercq, Brussels, Past Particles, Konrad Fischer Galerie Berlin (2010), Ikon Gallery Offsite, Birmingham (solo), Pop-Up!, Ludwig Forum Aachen, Perrot’s Folly, Birmingham (2009), Mutual Annihilation, Künstlerhaus Bremen (solo) (2008), Familiars, IKON Gallery, Birmingham (solo), You Do Voodoo You Do, Kunstverein Nürnberg (2007), Gagosian Gallery, Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2006).

Installation view

The Man Who Folded Himself V, 2014, two found folding gates, paint, 220 x 127 x 45 cm

The Man Who Folded Himself VI, 2014, two found folding gates, paint, 220 x 127 x 45 cm

Trucking, 2014, c-print, 7 photographs each 26 x 17 cm, edition of 6 + 1 AP

Trucking, 2014, c-print, 7 photographs each 26 x 17 cm, edition of 6 + 1 AP

Nonsequences 4, 2014, video, 5:41 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP; Nonsequences 1, 2013, video, 5:41 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP; Nonsequences 2, 2013, video, 5:41 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP

Nonsequences 4, 2014, video, 5:41 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP; Nonsequences 1, 2013, video, 5:41 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP; Nonsequences 2, 2013, video, 5:41 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP

Installation view

Indecisive Angles, 2014, found trolley, paint, 100 x 60 x 60 cm

Indecisive Angles, 2014, found trolley, paint, 105 x 70 x 50 cm

Indecisive Angles, 2014, found trolley, paint, 120 x 45 x 50 cm

Indecisive Angles, 2014, found trolley, paint, 120 x 45 x 50 cm

Altered Fates, 2013, DVD, 9:33 min, edition of 6 + 1 AP