Last night I went to the museum of modern art Louisiana. The new exhibit, The World is Yours is all about reflection; reflection particularly of and on the way in which we perceive the meaning of what ‘yours’ means. At least that’s what I think. Among the many good and thoughtful pieces, installations and visual media, there were two artworks I enjoyed the most. One done by my compatriot, M. Cantor, and another done by a favourite, O. Eliasson. Cantor’s work consists of filming a silent demonstration in the streets of Tirana, most of it on Prokofiev’s score to Romeo and Juliet. The demonstrators walk about aimlessly holding big slogan-placards on which there is nothing written, as they are made out of mirroring material. The buildings and people are thus reflected in these big mirrors, yet as the mirrors are held by unsteady hands, they offer a distorted picture of the world. But one which is not devoid of beauty. Sun rays go in and out of the mirrors as well emphasizing the open movement in reflection, inside and outside, beyond point and even dimension. What is captured besides the world is openness. I liked this very much.

Eliasson’s work, in contrast, consists of a ‘cryogenic box,’ which you can enter. A room is frozen down to minus 16 degrees Celsius, and features the remains of a car, also frozen in time. When you enter, a big door is closed behind you, and the ward tells you to knock hard when you want to come out. According to Eliasson, when the body is confronted with abrupt change in atmosphere, and thus starts feeling different, it kicks into to a survival mode which instantly changes the mode of perception. He forgot to say, however, that your senses sharpen exponentially, as your tract registers the cold air passing through it. Yes, there is fear, and you feel it as the first thing when you enter the room. This fear is also a shared thing, as you can see it on the faces of all those who enter the room and who wonder if they can get out again. But there is also more. The body works with the mind in complete unison. And both are in a heightened state of vigilance, but also one of contemplation. This is quite an achievement in itself, to juxtapose a moment of pure instinct with ultimate reflection. On a more personal level, Eliasson’s fridge made me think of the reason why I want to live in the arctic.

Meanwhile, however, here’s what I got out of it that others can use on a general level. Two thoughts: 1) There is love in the world that reflects perception which takes place in rooms without doors. What the point is with everything is ditched in favour of going even beyond dimension. There is space in this love, and this space is neither regimented nor pointless, as it changes form all according to how space itself is reflected in changing ways in the mirrors. And 2) there is love in the world which is hermetically closed behind doors. While Cantor is adamant in emphasizing that his work considers direction-less movement – also in his artist statement – Eliasson’s work freezes ‘what the point is’ in time. But as such, the point also becomes timeless. Now, which do I think is better, you might want to know – if we were to allow for such pointless comparison. If you’re smart enough, you’ll guess correctly, especially the variations and nuances of the thought. If not, go to the museum and get your limbs follow the music or have them freeze in silence.


Popular Posts