In his short story The Cares of a Family Man, published in 1919, Franz Kafka introduces Odradek as a deliberately undefined protagonist. It is simultaneously a thing, an object, which he describes as an informal entanglement of threads, and a being, a living organism able to move, talk, and even laugh. It is also, and primarily, a word, seemingly uprooted from any language. Odradek suggests an open field for interpretation, but in the first place, it emphasizes the potential of the caring gaze and of closely paid attention to animate the inanimate, which blur the boundaries between object and subject.
Odradek, an exhibition at Malmö Konsthall
, invites eight artists whose works similarly transgress the fixed dualities between subject and object, and who tend to include the viewers in processes characterized by attention, care, and participation. The exhibition aims at making links and weaving affinities between the practices of these artists from various backgrounds and generations: Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Iran), Katinka Bock (b. 1976, Germany), Henri Jacobs (b. 1957, the Netherlands), Laura Lamiel (b. 1948, France), Judith Scott (b. 1943, d. 2005, USA), Hassan Sharif (b. 1951, d. 2016, United Arab Emirates), Oscar Tuazon (b. 1975, USA) and Franz Erhard Walther (b. 1939, Germany).
Judith Scotts sculptures are made of everyday objects that have been diligently combined, entwined and woven together under layers of fabric strips and yarn. Her work transforms them into organic entangled objects, which both hide and reveal their various components.
Hassan Sharifs series of works titled Books and Boxes also refer to the notion of containment and proceed through the accumulation of matter. He composed works out of found objects, mass-produced goods that he purchased in markets and shops, piling them up or placing them into open or closed boxes. Sharif created a visualisation of the surplus inherent to mass production.
The recent works by Laura Lamiel articulate minimal structures with a psychological vocabulary of intimate objects, carefully archived and displayed by the artist. Here, again, showing also involves concealing and hiding. Stacks of notebooks, pieces of clothing folded and tied with string, fabric rolled up or stored in suitcases, are accumulated as in an archive.
Henri Jacobs Journal Drawings alert us to the temporal aspect of the artistic process, and the personal set of rules that the artist imposes on himself. They are constructed through acts of systematic and meticulous composition, and accumulated as an abstract diary and archive of the self.
Experiencing the limitations of a space produces a physical effect on the viewer. Oscar Tuazons Reading Booth suggests a place to hide, a solitary place to think and to observe from a distance.
Franz Erhard Walthers minimalist textile works similarly immerse and involve the viewer in space and colour. The audience is invited to figure out the potentiality of the work as folded or unfolded, inanimate or activated. His works will be performed at scheduled times during the exhibition period.
Both Katinka Bocks and Nairy Baghramians sculptural practices are concerned with ideas of support and sustainment. Suspended in precarious equilibrium, or emphasizing the oppositional relationships that arise between the properties of the liquid and the solid, the hardened and the dissolved, Bocks sculptures demand constant care to protect and maintain their fragility. The ensemble Fluffing the Pillows by Nairy Baghramian confronts function and form, softness and solidity, suggesting an equivalence between disabled bodies and their supporting prostheses.
Odradek will be framed by a series of artists talks and lectures. Please visit the website, subscribe to the newsletter, and follow on Facebook and Instagram for further information and updates.
The exhibition is co-curated by Malmö Konsthall and François Piron, a freelance curator and critic based in Paris. Piron has curated several exhibitions and projects for renowned art institutions such as Palais de Tokyo and Maison Rouge, Paris, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid and Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo.