#273 Word

104x64 cm | Filler, oak frame, oak element

  • About

    The oak element should be installed aligned with the bottom of the frame at 15mm distance from the right edge.

    The title can refer to the famous passage in the bible where “the Word became flesh”. God is the word and flesh here means Jesus or the embodiment of God on earth. Also notable is in the genesis where God creates the world by using words - let there be light. This seems to indicate language preceding matter, which may be natural in religious beliefs. But in its primordial form language is structure. Matter can be structured or chaotic, and this structure can transfer to any material, but it cannot exist in itself. A structure needs a matter of some sort to be expressed.
    The literal understanding of the word to draw in Norwegian and Swedish is to make signs. Drawing or talking and writing - any use of language means inscribing it into matter and arranging it with a particular structure. Language doesn’t exist outside matter, not even in our minds - we need a physical body to think. But words or images in itself is not attached to any particular medium. They can move from any material to another. It’s matter independent. But the transferring is not without loss or gain. Matter always oozes into the message. Gives it flavour. And some parts of language is lost, turned to stone. Made impenetrable and enigmatic.

    The work could also relate to historical materialism, as Karl Marx expresses it. The material circumstances always have priority to ideals or spiritual needs. That matter finds a way to shape thought and ideas to fit its needs and not the other way around.

  • Tablet

    To the mind, a word is always also an image. Language connects to categories and clusters of information that projects an internal image when triggered. 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, as vision usually stems from physical reality, so does also words, written or spoken. Nothing ever communicates without being inscribed into a matter of some sort. The stuff surrounding us is also what connects us; without it, we would be completely sealed off. How, or in what way, words inserts 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 reflects on who we are, it can also help to reveal unconscious or hidden meanings.

    The first written words were inscribed 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 change the receiver forever. The receiver usually processes the reception, but he or she will never be the same as before. It is no coincident that many of the first examples of texts are curses, prayers or laws — different ways of trying to influence reality.

  • Template

    Tablet series is part of Template, a compilation of works made by using pieces of wooden plates as templates. They function as a mould or matrix for the finished work.

    Reminiscent of Richard Serra's Verb List I try to use simple and clearly defined actions to shape the filler in my works. This method ensures there is always non-cognitive aspects of the production process.


If you have any questions about anything regarding my works, please don´t hesitate to contact me!

Johan Söderström | Grenseveien 9b, Oslo, Norway

t. +47 41 355 355 | jodsoderstrom@gmail.com

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