Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fourteen minutes of fame

My 14 minutes of fame are soon over.

At the opening on Saturday, with some 70 guests all in all, I tried to explain my project in a short welcoming speech before introducing Torbjörn Elensky and his reading of his text about the prints.

It was a great moment, albeit not exactly like I wanted it to be. 

Friends and family and some unfamiliar faces, no hostility.

I got too carried away and didn't breathe enough to say what I wanted. 

I'll retry further down.

Most people know what it's like to host one's own party. 

Hosting your own exhibition and trying to make into something a little bit like an afternoon tea party adds to the confusion that would already be there, were you only "throwing an exhibition".

Luckily, I had manufactured just enough tea bag tags to last for every guest and so (still wearing a silly beard then) I offered them to everyone, to pick their favorite message from this plate, before I started the speech.

Conversation pieces, check. (I hate that expression by the way: Check!)

Anyway, I wanted my speech to have been more like this:

- - -

Welcome everybody.

As I feel the atmosphere is friendly and in good spirit, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about who I really am.

I have hidden my real identity much too long. 

Working some 20 years as a graphic designer and an art director/creative director with commissions from clients of all kinds I have always remained true to one secret vocation.

I am and have always been an artist, regardless of this definition.

And all the same, this is my solo show debut!

Over the years, I have taken part of a few design exhibitions, always group shows (and only actually in other countries than Sweden.)

For years I have longed to be the subject of my own art, and not the interpreter of someone else's messages.

And so, in conjunction with a teachers' exhibition at Beckmans College of Design, where I am a senior lecturer, I started to work with negative messages, in red, in the fall of 2011.

The very first poster was IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT

Since then the one theme has been different versions of accusations.

A year later I had the original message translated into Swedish, French, and German.

Each language is charged with different connotations, depending on the combination of words and, let's say, cultural traditions and history.

In addition to these, the other theme, a series of "matter-of-factual" messages, have been printed in two sets.

I have wanted to work with these two subjects in order to, for one thing, explore our relationship with blame as a human reaction to anything that goes wrong, and for the other, to examine the extreme certainty of assertions - also human? - that some people sometimes display. (Other people: always.)

To simplify, I believe that we as humans can be divided into two groups.

• Some people always blame others.

• Others always blame themselves.

• Some people always have the answer.

• Others always question the answer.

In everyday life I often wonder about my own reactions concerning these issues.

I look upon myself as a man who, as a reflex, blames himself. 

But then again, I don't really have any problems with placing guilt on whoever is nearby, when something goes wrong.

I believe we are all affected with both qualities. Some people are just more extreme than others.

The past weeks I've been blaming my beard for a lot of things.

I decided to let it grow when, in December, the plans for this exhibition came about.

I have now shaved.

Sometimes, the best way to liberate oneself from a problem is simply to get rid of it.

- - -

Clemens Poellinger (link in Swedish only) wrote a summary of my art. Quite to the point with few words.

To explain this project fully, however, I need to go through its different parts.

In its entirety the project includes not only the 14 posters and the miniature interior Red Print Room.

The exhibition also comprises this blog, a printed 24-page pamphlet, a short film (+ some clips), and a Spotify playlist  (which I don't expect will grow much further, even though it has had two songs added to its original "14 SONGS OF GUILT AND BLAME").

Not least the playlist was a joy to put together.

A late developer with the wonders of Spotify, making the list threw me back to teenage years and the bliss of compiling the most important songs ever.

This pick of tunes was done very fast, and with not so discriminating a selection as in a mixtape of one's youth.

Regardless, it's worthwhile not only to listen to the music. Listing the songs' titles creates some kind of poetry:

Guilty Partner
Guilty conscience
Modern Guilt
Blame It On the Boogie
Don't Blame Your Daughter
I Don't Blame You
Love To Blame
One To Blame
Blame It On The Girls
Put The blame On Mame
The Blame

Today Pernilla Glaser lectured at Beckmans. 

She told the students something like this: "If you have a problem, put it on a list and deal with other stuff instead".

There you go.

Thank you for your attention.

And thank you Catarina Landberg for helping me with all the printing business.

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