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SKF / Konstnärshuset – Felix Gmelin – What you see and what you read is not what happens – January 15 to 30 2021 – Smålandsgatan 7, Stockholm, Sweden
ABOUT the artist
Felix Gmelin (born March 24, 1962, Heidelberg, Germany) is a video- and installation-artist and painter, based in Stockholm. He has shown work internationally in exhibitions including Always Already Passé at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York City, Storm From Paradise at Arnolfini in Bristol, Painting Modernism Black at Galleri Olsson in Stockholm, Delays and Revolutions at the 2003 Venice Biennale and Balancing Acts at Centre Culturel Suedois in Paris. Gmelin studied at the Konsthögskolan Forum in Malmö, 1979–1983, and the Kungliga Konsthögskolan, Stockholm, from 1983 to 1988. He is represented by Galerie Nordenhake in Stockholm.
ABOUT the exhibition
Text: Nora Arrhenius Hagdahl
I – Who really said anything? Who said that what we see and what we read is not what happens? Was it Felix Gmelin who said that what you see and what you read is not what happens? Or was it not so?
II – The Interplay’s Magic Consonant is what is perceived as sounding. There are voices in unison; clean, relaxed and harmonious. The opposite is dissonance. A dissonant sound cuts into the ears and creates discomfort. In an orchestra, the conductor’s task is to create harmony between its participants. The violinist and the bassist must speak the same language; play at the same interval. Both key, melody and rhythm must be agreed for it to sound comfortable. Without harmony, the message does not reach. Tears and contradictions create a sound image in a mess. Who should you listen to then?
III – Pixels When Hito Steyerl wrote about the low-resolution image, she said that it transformed quality into accessibility, contemplation into distraction. The low-resolution image is shared by many, it has been saved, saved, maybe modified to be sent away again. A screenshot, a bunch of pixels that change through their fast journey through the internet. The low-resolution image moves faster than the one with a lot of information. Images with a lot of information move slowly. A lot of information takes several minutes to download into its database.
IV – Objects without context What is a phrase without its context? An object without context. What does context mean for an object? A work, a product, an image, a sentence, a letter, a thought derives its meaning from what is close. Things are charged with energy from the close up; from that which lies around or from that with which it is intimately connected. It is the sentence that lies Before, the thought that was just thought, the text that explains next to the picture. The last and first page of a book are embraced by a cover. Meaning is created through relationships. Meaning is created through an object’s relation to other objects but also through the object’s relation to the subject who produces and projects meaning on the object. This in turn affects the meaning of what is close. Like rings on the water, the subject is a stone. What does it mean for an object not to be able to control either what is close or who is watching? Its significance is uncertain in the sense that it is open to discussion. The lone object has no meaning in itself. When neither context nor spectators are fixed or stable, the object’s meaning is in constant renegotiation. How did we end up here?
V – Mem: The cultural gene Just like a gene, a mem is about 2000 characters. Like a virus, it spreads between us, consciously or unconsciously. It is a message, a rhyme, a phrase, a feeling, a value, a truth, a lie that jumps from person to person. Duplicate and (sometimes) modified in the next. From brain to brain. It is believed that mems are passed on through imitation and they compete with each other for the brain’s limited attention. As with low-resolution images, a meme that is small, fast and easy to understand has an advantage. It gets stuck and is passed on. It is shared by many and liked by many. Fuck yourself, not the planet. A short message has better impact.
VI – Meme: A viral phenomenon A meme is a bit like a meme in a digital garb. It is a picture, a video or a line of text, often with a humorous tone but also many times loaded with political messages. A meme is copied and disseminated on the internet by various users, who, just like with a meme, change, improve and modify its message. Just like a low-resolution image, it travels fast, just like a meme, the simple messages have the advantage.
VII – What messages take over with us? I went into my mobile and checked my screen time. It lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes. At least it was 16% less than last week. Who do I choose to listen to? I can hear what they think on the other side of the earth, but I can only hear the one who thinks like me. The meme, the meme, the low-resolution image that resonates with my contoured context. I choose what I place next to each other, create closeness and connection in flows. I listen to what has been reinforced by many before me, that which has been shared a hundred thousand times. Just a short line can be divided a hundred thousand times for a meme is almost never longer than about 2000 characters. I have created my own unison chorus and place each letter, each word each image in my own context. In my context is my truth. My context is consonant.
ABOUT the gallery
SKF / KONSTNÄRSHUSET: A unique and open place for art and culture – present, tradition and future in the middle of Stockholm City
The Swedish Artists’ Association (SKF) is the main owner of Konstnärshuset, a Venetian palace from 1899. Our main activity consists of exhibitions of contemporary art, but also seminars, lectures and workshops.
SKF / Konstnärshuset should not be confused with Konstnärerlubben. SKF conducts exhibition activities, SKF membership activities and rental of most of the premises in the building. SKF is responsible for Konstnärshuset’s management through a property management company.
SKF’s values are based on participation, openness, gender equality, diversity and the equal value of all people.
SKF / Showroom mediates works of art for sale.
Every year we award scholarships to professional artists.
SKF currently has around 900 members who are professional artists or architects, and within the association there are regularly a number of different member activities.
Due to the #MeToo movement, SKF’s board wants to clarify that SKF supports the fight against sexual harassment, and sexist or otherwise oppressive power structures.
Vision SKF and Konstnärshuset
Is contemporary, professional and cares about artistic quality, openness, accessibility and equality in both content and appeal
Is a living meeting place where different worlds and artistic networks are given the opportunity for exchange and future collaboration
She, he and he of all ages feel welcome. A vision that the association SKF has stood for since it was formed in 1890
SKF’s values are based on participation, openness, gender equality, diversity, democracy and the equal value of all people.
The association has a board, where all members are artists and members of SKF.
The 2020 board consists of:
Martin Ålund, chairman
Maria Backman, Member
Ebba Bohlin, Member
Erika Dahlén, alternate
Andreas Ribbung, Member
Maria Toll, Member
Stefan Uhlinder, member
Sissel Wibom, Member
The idea of a common house for all Swedish artists was realized by the Swedish Artists’ Association.
The Swedish Artists ‘Association (SKF) was founded in 1890. The Artists’ House was completed in 1899.
SKF owns Konstnärshuset until 5/7. The artists’ club has its premises on the 2nd floor and owns 2/7.
Konstnärshuset has been a listed building since 1999. Its façade design is one of the few examples of Venetian architecture in Sweden. The building is characterized by great artistry and craftsmanship and several famous artists, artisans and architects have done work in and on the house.
The building as a whole and individual valuable parts such as lavish interiors are largely preserved from construction. The entrance and stairwell have been restored and partially reconstructed since two fires in 1970 and 1971. http://konstnarshuset.org/