124x85 cm | Filler, oak frame
About the work
Vow means "solemn promise". Giving your word and stand by it is usually seen as a sign of honour, but in Norway and the western world today such concepts can be said to diminish in importance. In a society that places more and more emphasis on economic thinking and the power of money, abstract ideas such as honour and morality receive less value.
VOW is about the relationship between words and action. We usually see them as each other's opposites. For example, one often says "too much talking and too little action" when one wants to prioritise performance in front of communication. It's possible to trace this contradiction in the relationship between inner experiences such as thoughts and emotions, and external activities such as performing manual work or making executive decisions. Thoughts, words and writing are not considered as concrete and solid as physical action, which creates direct changes in the material environment. One might say that it is about the difference between language and hard reality, or matter. Thus, we can understand a promise as a kind of connection between them. A vow is a linguistic act that has real consequences. Laws, rules and contracts have the same function, but also prayers and spells. These are words we use, to try to influence the physical environment.
To the mind, a word is always also an image. In that sense, understanding words function no different than normal perception. When we see, images are constructed inside the mind. We never perceive reality objectively or in itself. Perception is an interpretation and thus consist of language, in the same manner as understanding words.
However, to use language, we have to speak or write it. We have to realize it. Nothing ever communicates without being inscribed into a matter of some sort. But how words are inserted into reality affects how we perceive them. Thus reality itself seeps into language. There exists no clear or unmediated communication. Matter adds to the message. Because which matter we choose to communicate through, and how we shape it, reflects on who we are, it can reveal unconscious or hidden meanings.
Humans inscribed the first written words in stone or clay. One of the purposes was to save them for the future, to protect them from the volatility of time. To speak, or to write, is always to some extent, an act of power. The receiver must initially submit his or her attention to the message. No matter how insignificant, its meaning will always in some way change the receiver forever.
There is a constant tension between language and reality as matter. The human subject is defined by an individual will, as opposed to the strict causality of nature. This will strive to be expressed through language. Maybe self-awareness is a result of language at use. Language as a way for the ego to invent itself, to inscribe itself into the world. It is no coincident that many of the first examples of texts are curses, prayers, laws or inventories — different ways of trying to influence and master reality.
Tablet series is part of Template, a compilation of works made by using pieces of wooden plates as templates. They function a bit as a mould or matrix for the finished work. The plates are attached inside the frame and after the first layer of filler had dried they are removed. The remaining empty spaces are filled with filler of a different colour.
Reminiscent of Richard Serra's Verb List I try to use simple and clearly defined actions to shape the filler in my works. This way there is always non-cognitive aspects of the production process.