Once upon a time, 2007, aluminium, lacquer, 39 x 22 x 12 cm

Magnus Wallin »Educated«

Stockholm, August 30, 2007 - September 29, 2007

Opening: Thursday August 30, 2007, 17.00-20.00
Exhibition period: August 31 - September 29, 2007

Galerie Nordenhake is pleased to announce the re-opening of its Stockholm gallery at Hudikvallsgatan, under the directorship of Ben Loveless. For this occasion, the gallery will present an exhibition of new works by the Swedish artist Magnus Wallin. Ever since the 2001 Istanbul Biennial, Wallin has stirred great public interest in his videos. His work, however, extends beyond video, as he also utilizes photography and sculpture. For the exhibition, Wallin will show eight sculptures formally and conceptually representative of his inquiry into the ideology of physical beauty in Western culture.Wallin’s work takes on the norms that define an ideal body in the history of images. He examines the entire shift of relations between humans, their bodies, and society from the Renaissance through today. Wallin questions how historical efforts to define and standardize what is physically „normal“ have changed  the self’s perception of the body. Thus, the subject’s identity is a product of a social and moral education that stresses basic ‚standards’ of being. These standards propose a distinction between ‚normal’ and ‚abnormal’ as natural, when in fact this dualism is an artificial, ever-shifting historical structure of inclusion and exclusion. Those who are „different“ are constantly made to feel as an Other. The Other is continuously excluded, made vulnerable, and in darker historical moments, eliminated.The sculptures in the exhibition present a politically charged surface on which inanimate materials, technology, and organic life morph together to chart the historical consequences of exclusion. Sometimes this is personal. Wallin was born with a withered arm which has allowed him to confront the visual authority of the ideal body. In the works „Intimate“ and „Once Upon a Time“ Wallin uses 1:1 casts of his disfigured finger and arm, respectively, as a basis from which to work. In „Once Upon a Time,“ Wallin’s arm metamorphosizes into a pig’s trotter. The work is mounted on the wall in a manner that resembles a handicap banister.Sometimes this is sinister. In „Lamp,“ an old Art Deco lamp depicting a dancer has, instead of a shade, the top portion of a skull attached on top. Similarly, in „Institute“ a rib cage has been flipped upside down and lined with a plastic bag. It seems to serve now as a trash bin. There is a certain similarity to objects made from body parts like skin, hair, and bone as part of various experiments on the bodies of „degenerate“ concentration camp victims by scientists during the Nazi regime in Germany. Here, Wallin is engaging with the writings of philosopher Michel Foucault. Foucault notes modern science’s fascination with endlessly categorizing and defining organic life. He characterizes this as a process of institutionalization. In this process, power over the human body is transferred from the subject to institutions that maintain and register its care, movement, discipline, and diagnosis. And according to Foucault, these various forms of power have had their moments of violent extremism in modern history.Magnus Wallin’s sculptures delve into the historical intersections of ideals, processes, and activity on and around the human body. By bringing this research into a three-dimensional level, Wallin visualizes the structures of oppression that have limited the unpredictable diversity of the human body. The viewer is implicated through his own education, what he or she expects out of a work of art. The result is an unexpected confrontation that produces an alternative narrative, creating a moment of local resistance.  Installation views are available after the opening at www.nordenhake.com
Please contact the gallery for further information and press images  

Installation view

Institute, 2006, white lacquered bronze, 29 x 26 x 22 cm

Lamp, 2007, patent black bronze, 33 x 16 x 15 cm

Discipline, 2007, infrared lamp, black lacquered dog funnel collar, patent black bronze eggs, 41 x 36 x 36 cm + 10 m electrical cable

Discipline, 2007, detail

Intimate, 2007, aluminium, wall object, h = 42, w= 42, ø = 80 cm

Sport, 2007, bronze, polished iron, 110 x 88 cm

Sport, 2007, detail

Obstacle, 2007, white lacquered and patent bronze, 64 x 12 x 9 cm

Educated (still), 2007, video projection, 11 minute loop, dimensions variable