“Solid Objects” a project by Sanna Marander
The project « Solid Objects » is lodged in certain museum tradition, which is put in place by potential players who make and build collections and their underlying strategies. “To reference the American artist Allan Kaprow, the objects in the collection contain ’stored code’. To decipher them requires an engineered confusion between histories, roles and disciplines, an unorthodox predisposition which Kaprow called ’signal scrambling’.” ( Allan Kaprow, Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, Berkeley/Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1993; quoted in Object Atlas, Fieldwork in the Museum, Weltkulturen Museum Frankfurt, ed. Kreber, 2012, p. 23.). This science of identification, enhancement and classification is also associated with taxonomic biology and its particular modes of classification which the artist Sanna Marander diverts into a graphic form in posters and covers for imaginary books which are inspired by objects found and chosen with delight. The « Solid Objects » project is not just an exhibition but a multitude of activities that circle around this potential collection of gathered objets. As such a blog (www.solid-objects.tumblr.com) individually compiles the accumulated elements as well as the infinite combinations of associated posters and book covers. The posters which are made are therefore signifying cultural elements constructed by the artist in accordance with each moment or encounter. This tends to give a certain perspective on the great authoritarian machine of the cultural industry and the objects which are the vehicle for such particular relations.
The artist Sanna Marander has been inspired by Virginia Woolf’s (1888-1941) “Solid Objects”, a short story written in 1920 about John, a member of Parliament, and Charles, his confident and friend. John finds a lump of glass on the beach and wonders how on earth it could have got there. He keeps it and, to his friend’s amazement, brings it home like a treasure. Unrelentingly, John searches with his walking stick for special objects in detritus on the ground. In one of the most brilliant parts of the story, John tells his friend Charles that he is merely starting a new career that brings him the greatest joy. In London, John pursues his quest for objects which according to him have greater value than all of his work. Any rationality is considered by the author as highlighting the rejection John experiences as the outside world stops paying any attention to him. Curiously, the author shares this story with us whereas the principal protagonist begins the greatest retreat. Through this story, Virginia Woolf – and therefore the artist who is re-appropriating it – points to the fact that no life choice is necessarily more pathological than choosing to work in politics, as John would come to say. The implicit meaningfulness of this short story, along with the fact that as a piece of literature it entered the public domain this year, led Sanna Marander to apply a methodological and uninhibited process of transposition of this story to our civilisation which prefers to keep certain things and objects rather than others. How can a found object with no apparent identification gain added value ? How does an object become art and why ? How are choices of preservation made and what are the criteria ? How can the public sphere which belongs to one and all be a place for the study of these objects ? For a while now, Marander has come to collect objects which are practically unidentifiable, found here and there, from Stockholm to Saint-Ouen and in the entire Paris region, and which could fit in the pockets of her clothing. Thus the artist’s daily gestures echo the renowned specificity of the town of Saint-Ouen and its world reputed flea market based on vintage chiffon collectors and the salvaging of materials and antiques. Within this territory, if you come after the market closes you can discover numerous corners with such objects which have potentially been left by the very actors of this taxonomy of recycled objects that have found no buyer.
Finally, Sanna Marander questions the particular, and even perhaps ontological, relation one can have which these objects and which, when displaced to another context, take on a completely other meaning and potentially enter another cultural value system with new displacements from one field to another.
Cécile Bourne-Farrell, 24 January 2012 (text translated by Caroline Hancock)
Sanna Marander, born 1977 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Her work has been shown in Vistamare in Pescara, (2008 and 2010), Flux Laboratory in Geneva,(2008), C Bass & Co in Beacon, New York (2011), and in group exhibitions at Kunstlerhaus Bregenz (2010), George Kargl Gallery, Vienna (2010), Para Site Art Space, Hong Kong (2010), Museo Maga, Gallarte, Italy (2011), EX3 Center for Contemporary Art, Florence (2012). She published an artist’s book titled catalogue in 2009 with MER Paperkunsthalle, Ghent, Belgium.
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