#481 End Of Solidarity
64x84 cm | Filler, oak panel
This is the second part of the diptych Murder And Betrayal about the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986 and the Norwegian Utøya massacre in 2011. Two violent attacks on the worker's movement in Scandinavia during my lifetime. The dating in the work connects it with the European "refugee crisis" in 2015. The work is thus about resisting and dismantling the ideology of solidarity from the early eighties until now.
When the influx of refugees to Europe increased after the wars in Libya and Syria in 2015, the Social Democratic parties in Sweden and Norway gave in to the populist and xenophobic demands and implemented harsh and restrictive asylum policies. To me, this was a great disappointment. When solidarity only applies to specific groups, like national citizens, it becomes something else.
The shape of the stones in the panel can be reminiscent of a tombstone. But it can also lead to other associations, such as a boat (like the small dinghies refugees use to cross the Mediterranean Sea).
Speaking Stones is a compilation of paintings made with imprints of ordinary stones.
I see the stone as a metaphor for popular struggle and protest. It is the closest available weapon to the powerless. Throwing stones is a symbolic form of violence. The aim is not to overpower the opponent physically. It demonstrates defiance in the face of power by expressing concretely that the premises of the situation aren't acceptable. The stone speaks but not in a language open to negotiation or dialogue. A conversation means accepting the context in which it takes place and is thus always, to a certain degree, a form of submission. The language of stones is the language of mute matter. A form of silence that nevertheless speaks clearly and directly. The stone represents the resistance in itself from a place outside of language.
The stone is an entirely exchangeable and ordinary object that exists everywhere. At the same time, each stone is unique and has its own beauty and unfathomable mystery for anyone open to seeing it. This duality fascinates me. A stone is perhaps the closest we can get to a thing-in-itself, bound as we are to language. Sealed around itself, oblivious to the outside world. Simply existing. In a way, we can never truly understand. Infinite in its everydayness. Specific and concrete in its presence.
Res Ipsa is a compilation of works made by an act shaping the filler once it is prepared inside the frame. The works thus function as a recording device and give a statement of the event taking place while the filler was still wet.
Res Ipsa is Latin for "the thing itself" and is part of the juridical term "Res ipsa loquitur" (the thing speaks for itself), used when an injury or accident in itself clearly shows who is responsible, such as an instrument left inside a body after surgery.