From the community hall
Annika Ström’s first solo exhibition in Ireland is curated by Aoife Tunney.
At Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Dublin, Annika Ström presents a stage for an event: a performance or a talk. It is built out of basic wood and is adorned with textile works from Sweden. The piece is functional as a stage, as we know is used to announce, act out or to express emotions to the public. But this platform is also reminiscent of a piece of furniture, kept in a private space. The meaning is taking place, a performance perhaps: The audience is looking back at themselves and they are participants in this meaning.
The sculpture looks on to the stage, and is commenting on the stillness of the room, commenting on the art world. What is the artwork? Who is the artist? What is this event about and when is it going to start?
A film of some of Ström's past performances plays in the gallery. They are the sort of performances you could see being delivered on the stage. The sort of emotions the artist could have displayed. The film and the stage are interrupted. This could be the error of presenting artworks.
“The interruption of the action, which inspired [Bertolt] Brecht to call his theatre ‘epic’, constantly goes against the public’s theatrical illusion. Indeed, such illusion is useless for a theatre, which is trying to treat elements of reality as a series of experiments. But the situations the epic theatre presents are to be found at the end, not at the beginning of these experiments. Situations which, in whatever form, are always ours. They are not brought closer to the spectator, but distanced from him. He perceives them as real situations, not, as with the naturalist theatre, with self-satisfaction, but with astonishment.” Walter Benjamin, Author as Producer, 1937.
The artist and the artwork are within a performance- between the private and the public. The audience witnesses the use of text and speech and are part of the telling of an emotional story.
A distinguishing characteristic of Annika Ström’s work is the portrayal of everyday environments where both humour and melancholy prevail. This applies to all her forms of expression: video, text paintings, photography and music. Her videos and songs are documentary studies of social interactions in her immediate surroundings in which friends, family and the artist herself take part. The large scale text paintings consist of short messages resembling advertising slogans, such as ”This work was made with passion” and ”Please remove me from your mailing list”. In a recent show she revisited her interest in furniture and in particular the dual functionality of the hall stand. Annika is currently writing her first feature film supported by the Swedish film board. Her work for the show at Temple Bar Gallery will draw from her various interests within her practice, with a main focus on performance
ANNIKA STRÖM was born in Helsingborg Sweden in 1964. She lived in Berlin until 2005, and now lives and works in Hove, UK. Most Recent participations 2010 were the performance work Ten embarrassed men at Frieze art fair curated by Sarah McCrory, Playing the city II, curated by Matthias Ulrich, Shirn Kunsthalle, FrankfurtVidéothèque éphémère-Faux Amis, curated by Marta Ponsa, Jeu de Paume, Paris and the Solo exhibitions Möbler för festvåningen, Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm ,The title of the show is too sad, Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin, Made in France by Annika Ström Onestar Press, Paris www.annikastrom.net/