Katja Larsson’s exhibition, which encompasses sculpture and photographic objects, acts as an imaginary collection of artefacts from a world which has abandoned its humans but where its materials and textures continue to intermingle. The title is an excerpt from a text by McKenzie Wark, which sets the tone of the presentation:
The blue ruin of the earth is the total work of art at the end of history.
The earth will be buried at sea.
The project begins with an expedition to the Isle of Skye where a large scale silicone rubber cast is taken of its volcanic coastline. The surface of the rock is rendered precisely as the material seeps into every nook and cranny. Solidified lava is turned back into its liquid glowing state. An object emerges which is both strange and familiar, bodily and artificial. A Romanticist relationship to nature, traditionally occupied by heroic figures such as Caspar David Friedrich and Thomas Joshua Cooper, is reexamined through an experimental sculptural process which is bodily, messy and large in scale. The scale conveys a sense of place, real as well as imaginary. Such a place, which has been copied from reality and rendered in an industrial material, illuminates a more and more indistinguishable boundary between nature and culture.
In Katja Larsson’s photographic and sculptural objects, kelp from the sea and deer antlers on a beach touch and exchange their physical attributes. A 20 million year old Megalodon shark tooth evolves into the shape of a translucent icy wing. The fossil of a prehistoric Eohippus transforms into a drop of oil and takes its final breath through a 2003 Yamaha exhaust.
The age of Anthropocene, distinguished by geological sediments marked by traces of industrial activity, does not differentiate between the various textures of the world: Rather it insists the world is a fabric, a flowing surface, an amorphous expanse of mud…the world just is, and it is a mess.*
The exhibition is accompanied by a text by Sarah Boulton, a British artist and writer based in London. She was recently published in Best British Poetry 2015, Tender Journal 2015 and Jupiter Woods 2016. Recent exhibitions include Cell Project Space, London, ArtArea in Tbilisi and Unna Way in Huddersfield. Read the text by Sarah Boulton here.
*Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain Vapor Ray, ed: Katrin Klingan, Ashkan Sepahvand, Christoph Rosol, Bernd M. Scherer (2014)
Artist Talk with Johannes Heldén and Katja Larsson on Tuesday 25 October at 6 pm. The talk was held in Swedish. Listen to the recording: