What / which artists do you think Artabout should keep an eye on?
Erik Length is a person who has taken a new direction in his artistic field and he´s very interesting to follow. When I saw his latest work, it was like I really understood what he´d been working on earlier.
Interview by Sara Rossling
Translation by Beatrice Lund
Viktor Rosdahl in his studio. Photo: Artabout
Studio Visit Viktor Rosdahl
April 12, 2016
What are you working on at the moment?
I work towards a solo exhibition at Gallery Arnstedt in September and an exhibition at Gallery Christian Larsen in 2017. Most current is a jubilee exhibition at Bonniers konsthall which will exhibit a group of Maria Bonnier Dahlin´s grant holders. Except those exhibitions I´m invited to join two artist-run initiatives. One is a group exhibition in May curated by Joakim Forsgren, Merzedes Sturm-lie, Maarten Raskin and Mikael Goralski at Espace MOSS in Brussels. The other at RYMD Konstrum in Stockholm.
How do you prepare yourself before an exhibition?
There is a lot to be planned, it´s important to me that the artworks have not been exhibited in the same region before. Usually I create new artworks for every new exhibition. I also work a lot with my titles by writing and by combining phrases and pictures. To me, words in themselves summarise nothing
– I see them as associations which are directed outwards and have to be put within a context. Nothing exists in a vacuum. If my titles can function as a fifth element with in my art, it feels good.
How does a day in your studio look like?
I´m here every day but what I do in my studio varies over time. These last days I´ve varnished some paintings but I´ve also had meetings and presentations here with gallery owners and curators. I will soon start with the paintings I plan to work on this summer. This means that I need to tidy up as much as possible, to make more room. I rearrange the studio area all the time, unpacking and hanging up things, to adjust the workspace. I also change studios on a regular basis, when I need new perspectives and routines. Most of all because I´m always looking for the perfect workspace.
How does the process look like when you start on a new project?
Earlier when working, I took a lot of photos approximately 3000 – 5000 a year but I have stopped doing that. It was a fixed idea I had for many years, constantly taking photos. Wherever I looked I saw interesting things and thought this and that I can use. Likewise, I bought a lot of antiquarian books. My art is often an intertwined world of images, full of fragments and references I´ve collected or have experienced during a long time. A sort of an inner collage which I constantly work with. I also work by arranging images on the studio wall, to change or to add elements. It can be pieces from earlier works which are put together with something new.
Describe what is on your collage wall right now
Now there are small sketched paintings of among others Anne Frank, Al-Shabab and Guantanamo, image references I´ve worked with in different ways and which I return to. I often do small paintings just for myself to explore a certain aesthetic expression or an element from an earlier painting. I see my references in art a bit like music – I don´t want to listen to just one kind of music, but hear many different sounds and styles. When fragments and expressions from different imagery meet, interesting things happens.
What are your opinion about art and politics?
As a citizen I´m politically engaged but don´t think that art in itself is, or necessarily manifests a political view. I guess, all I'm interested in will sooner or later enter my work and become reflections of my mind. I appreciate when art can represent a permissive space, where we can explore and reflect upon the society and our history.
Where or when do you get inspiration and how do you practise it?
Inspiration is a word that emerges all the time and I get questions about it, but what is inspiration? The longer I live the more abstract I find the word and the phenomenon.
Tell us about your relationship to art
I`m really an art lover and visit many exhibitions and enjoy to look into work of other artists and read about them. The latest exhibition which I was fascinated by was Tidvågor (Tide) by the Finnish art duo IC-98 at Röda Sten Konsthall. It was an incredibly good presentation resulting in a strong physical experience form me. Many of the works were carefully made which I believe witness a carefulness for details, as you can find for example in the images of Medieval Age and the Renaissance. The exhibition conveyed something different which does not comply with our time right now. The video works showed no fast YouTube clippings with unsynchronised voiceovers but had taken inspiration from fantasy and the idea of the anthropocene.
Are there any artists you´re particularly fascinated by?
Right now I intend to see the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition at the Prado Museum in Madrid and it would be fun to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibition in Paris at the Centre Pompidou as well. The Kiefer exhibition will not be an excessive surprise for me, you know what you will see. But it´s a kind of art I really love, it´s monumental, pretentious and heavy. I love when artists go all in, make a statement - not hiding in a corner with an ironic gesture.
In the art of Bosh and Keifer, there´s a seriousness which makes me reflect upon how we humans carries and stores the experiences of history in us. Their art also make me to think about who I myself would be if I lived in another time.