Making art ... and all the rest

Tree of Knowledge

Having an exhibition is fun, inspiring and exciting. I love sharing my images with the public, and getting their response. But of course: it is also a lot of work. Not only with what you see when you visit the exhibition: The artworks. But as I do not have a multitude of assistants, all the other work also has to be done by me. Not that I complain, I find most of it interesting, but I find me changing hats a lot these months. Ordering frames. Reserving time at the printers. Writing press releases. Finding out to whom these should go. Answering interviews. Sending press photos. Meeting the gallery, planning the opening. Busy like a bee I flutter about, trying to think about everything and to forget nothing! Four weeks to go! :D

I sent the press releases a couple of weeks ago, and now I am starting to get response. I have been interviewed by an Italian art website and a German gay magazine so far, coming up in a couple of days is a large American magazine I understand. I am very happy that the images and the concept catches their interest! I'll show you the text of the release here, as it is quite a concise presentation of what the exhibition is all about:

The art of shame

It is shame that is the subject for the new series of post-photographic works from the Norwegian artist Trygve Skogrand. Not any shame, but the deep shame you feel when you know that you are ugly, when you are certain that you are all wrong. This is the shame of the subgroups of society.

We all inherit the values and prejudices of our society. This is even so when the prejudices are against the subgroup that you are self a part of. This can leave you with subconscious prejudices against yourself – a shame of being who you are.

”I believe that many feels this shame. Whether you are too thick, old, handicapped, have mental problems, are poor, unemployed, an immigrant - the list goes on and on - you risk ending up with this deep certainty: I am unacceptable.”

In the exhibition "The Theatre of Shame" the artist Trygve Skogrand investigates this shame, taking as the starting point his own self-biographical story about being a homosexual Christian.

The artist uses his own disclosed body as artistic raw material for the post-photographic works. The pictures show meticulously constructed figures, built up from a series of self-portraits, inhabiting constructed landscapes and settings, where the process of discovering the systems of this shaming of subgroups is examined.

Two works from the series have recently been exhibited in London and in Edinburgh. In the upcoming exhibition the complete series will be exhibited for the first time.

Trygve Skogrand is born in Sunndalen, Norway in 1967. He works mainly with post-photographic art, and has exhibited in Scandinavia, Italy and the UK. Skogrand lives and works in Malmö, Sweden.

What: ”The Theatre of Shame”, post-photographic works by Trygve Skogrand
Where: Vasli Souza Gallery, Malmö
When: 27th March – 26th April 2015
Press showing: Thursday 26th March 1 pm and by appointment

The name of an artwork

Invisible man

With just over a month to go to the large "Theatre of Shame" exhibition in March, I keep busy finishing the last artworks, contacting the press, doing interviews and planning the opening with the gallery. Creating these artworks has been a two year process, so it will be very interesting for me to finally show them to the public!

Part of the last work I do before an exhibition, is deciding on the titles of the works. I suppose this is very different from artist to artist, some may know what an artwork is called quite early in the process, some doesn't want it to be called anything, and for some the name becomes clear during the process. For me, a late arrival of the title is more the norm. When I work with an artwork, I work visually, emotionally, and do not think in titles or words at all. Making visual art is for me an exercise in speaking without words, saying things that may be between what words clumsily pins down. So finding a "title" for a work is no easy job. I do not want the title to lock the reading of the picture - just invite the viewer to look closer and see what she experiences meeting the picture. An easy way out would be to go for the "Untitled"-tag, but I have discovered that for me at last that doesn't work. Meeting an "untitled" artwork on an exhibition, I find that the distance to the picture grows larger, not smaller. Untitled means "neutral" to me, so I have to try to get over the titling hurdle in another way.

So I end up experimenting. Writing a lot of possible titles for the artwork next to it, and see what sticks, what feels right. This new artwork for example, from the Theatre of Shame-series, has still no name. I suppose it is about waiting patiently in ones self-imposed enclosure, but what is its name? These last days it has been called "Unlikely Hero", "A Thousand Prayers", "Engulfed", "Permeated by Fog". None of these seem right. I keep on looking, hoping the right nomination will turn up before the opening. If not, "untitled" it will have to be.


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