#277 Bite The Hand

84x64 cm | Filler, oak frame

  • About

    This work should be installed at some extra height, slightly over eye level.

    Language introduces a clean cut into the impenetrable swirl of chaotic matter. It structures and make sense of the indivisible Real and opens up a space for the self-conscious subject to exist. This work also might raise questions about the power of art. Can art as an instrument of illusion, of imagery, of investment, of entertainment, in short - of pure language, really make any change? Can it make the transgression from the safe sphere of viewing, reading and interpreting to be an agent of transformation? Can it matter? Or is it just pastime?

    It is up to us. An artwork has as much power as we give it. To make actual changes, and not just adjustments and additions to what is already there, we must be ready to question the things we experience as the foundation of our existence. What makes us feel safe. The very master signifiers that give meaning to the complex of our world view. The title is a slight alteration to the saying "Don't bite the hand that feeds you". But this is exactly what we must do. To achieve real change we must challenge what provides the basis for our existence. Because that is where power resides. In the material circumstances for our daily lives. We must be ready to take a risk, to put something at stake, in order to free ourselves of the status quo.

    When will the bile fall? When will we be ready to let our dreams, our visions, our ideas, and vaguely formulated hopes crash into reality and shatter it, to expand our understanding of what is possible? When will language, a new language, enter the realm of matter and create a new order of things?

  • 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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©Johan Söderström 2015