Kalmar Konstmuseum presents, in collaboration with Kunsthall Trondheim, the first major exhibition with artist Lina Selander, who will also represent Sweden at the Venice Biennale in 2015. The exhibition includes four film installations (2007 – 2014) and an archive for further reading and viewing of additional film works.
Selander works mainly with film, but extends her practice to include sound, photography, text and work for public space. Her films build on layers of images and meaning, layers that link history and pre-history to contemporary society, and in which nature as a prerequisite for life is one of the focal points. The human strive for development and expansion, the desire for control over nature, and above all the wish for visual control, depiction and surveillance, is at the core of her work. These human ambitions are always met by another contradicting force, a theme that is most distinctly elaborated on in her latest work, Silphium, where nature seems to be returning our gaze with empty eyes. The contradicting gaze and force puts the viewer in focus. Among the many parallel lines of narration and interwoven layers of meaning, the films contain an essential aspect that points back to us. The interest in the human being, her conditions and the possibility of choice expressed in Selander’s oeuvre, make these films political in the deepest sense. They are, as the exhibition title suggests, a series of images about us.
From their many points of entry the films unfold in essayistic narratives, in which the artist makes use of image material and sound from different sources — her own footage and still images, quotes and archive material. The works often revolve around a specific event – Walter Benjamin’s suicide in The Hours That Hold the Form (A Couple of Days in Portbou) (2007), the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in Lenin’s Lamp Glows in the Peasant’s Hut (2011) or the extinction of an ancient plant in Silphium (2014) — only to broaden the perspective to include historical context or aspects of media archaeology, or to seemingly rest in the image of clouds casting shadows on a snowy landscape. The shadows, the blinding light, the reflexes and the gaps through which the image can sometime appear points to a deep interest in the notion of image as such — as memory, imprint, representation and surface.
Lina Selander’s films oscillate between the wonder of image, of seeing and the understanding that the image is never a given. The image has to be under constant questioning and seeing is not an innocent act. In her films she reveals the invisible core of visuality, and still insists, as is said in one of the films: under some conditions we can see.
Lina Selander was born in 1973. She lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Selander’s work has been shown at Index — The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Moderna Museet Stockholm, Kunsthall Trondheim and in international group shows such as Manifesta 9 in Genk, Belgium, the Bucharest Biennale 2010 and at Haus Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Future events include Seoul International Media Art Biennale and exhibitions at Momenta Art, New York and INIVA, London.