Artist: Ida Ekblad
Venue: Herald St., London
Exhibition Title: A day of toil among its ruins and A gentle looking little alien of sorts
Date: October 11 – November 16, 2014
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Herald St., London
Two strands, even epigenetic codes, as these strands seem to stem, perpetuate and emanate from complex, molecular regions of creative life: the emergence of a certain phantasmagorical creature, a gentle looking little alien of sorts that seems blown and air-brushed into a puffy life-form, quantum-mechanically assembled through various un-identifiable archival figures, from cartoons and graffiti to sports stars, mascots, children’s books, the hang time of a certain number 23, and a seemingly endless flow of distinct and indistinct viral shapes. The inversions and implosions of the by now more familiar shopping trolley tracks, whited out containers of both poetic creation and erasure. They all bear witness to both a mindful registering and an automated absorption of contemporary materiality and life.
The core of the question remains, as often is the case with questions—there is always something left uncharted, as from elsewhere, yet always there, inside, and intrinsic to, whatever attempts at responses or evasions of responses one is given, presented, or depraved of. But let us suppose that Ida Ekblad’s new sets of paintings are not responses but rather some kind of open-ended affirmations of both what remains to be asked about and what remains to be answered for, and then coursed through whatever painting, in Ekblad’s singular practice (or even as a general topos) has come to signify, embody, and emboss today. This also carries with it a singular truth, or a specific production of truth, truth as a poetic event of sorts, as it still founds, at the blank bottom of untreated linen, untreated cotton, what has become known as the “track paintings.” It is as if the poetic, fully thrown, constitutes somewhat automated (by whom, from where, and by what parameters) tracings of the indiscernible.
This could mean that certain twists and contours, contortions and extortions, of this enterprise trace the ever so pressing questions about where these forms, figures shapes, colours, fields, pat- terns, and life-forms actually—or potentially—come from. This could be a way to start to phrase an answer: these questions materialize as inner pulsions their own becoming traces, courses, tracks, and imprinted fulgurations. A pushing for immanence. Put differently, and by way of something that relates to the muted knocks and beats of today’s opaque matter of information-becoming: these so called push notifications that somehow manage to push through and into our devices even if these are not actively connected, switched on, or plugged into the network. The uncanny sensation that something alerts us about something not yet made actually accessible. The dormant has its curious hypnogogic life and logic of its own
and it reverses translation as translation now takes place before the very expression itself awakens. The emergence of this gentle looking little alien of sorts may very well be a function of a combinatory maddened running-wild in the studio and some kind of tactile euphoria of memory. And this would be a pre-empted, euphoric remembering as the puffy ink carries with it material recollections of an arcane universe of t-shirts, dance, skateboarding, music, varsity lettering, sportswear, the bright and the synthetic, the soothing and the organic, and is carried out with nothing less than a heat gun—as if the change in the matter of figuration encompasses and exhausts pure atoms, movement, dissolving, resistance to dissolving, plasticity: marshmallowy melting. The puff of the puffyfied ink is our waiting and the duration of our memory, not crystallized but plasticized for a whole that keeps on changing. If this is the madness of the creative evolution in the artist’s studio one should pray to have the courage to propose the following: the in-organic depth of the puff, the puff of the puffyfied (a neologism is definitely in order here as “puffed up” has way too unfortunate connotations and simultaneously betrays the actual materiality at work here) little alien of sorts embodies and puts to life a something of a post-digital—or non-indexical— memory of motion (and emotion)?
This is different from the fireworks of so called process painting, it is rather a work of fire that ruminates its own extreme lightness, transparency, beauty, and world-positing affectivity. If there is an ethics to be glimpsed within the rapidly expanding oeuvre of Ekblad it would have to include an emphatic refusal to turn away from whatever surges up as the beautiful and the abstract horror that goes with it. Not beauty as a category or normative conception, but as pure, afflicted intensity. And in extension the push course for this immersive intensity. It is not without significance that the artist chose the ethically charged title “A Day of Toil Among its Ruins” that opens and unleashes, with the incisive poetics of suffering (Hölderlin’s worship of the sun comes to mind), the madness of the day upon a world, the World, and the Weight of the World. This gentle looking little solar embrace of goodness becomes a spiritual automaton of sorts, a (post-)digital One, in a world of both creation and emanation.
These paintings, and that would be both those of the track and those of the puff, powerslides with a certain ease and lightness, a shimmering vibrancy in-between creation and emanation, with a mnemonic vibrancy that, to the push-notified mind and eye resemble a veritable dance-in-becoming, a dance of becoming, a becoming of dance… But bear in that same mind: they are nevertheless and all the same emergent manifestations of a careful and rigorous epigenomics. The artist herself reveals that the use of heat guns, airbrush, puffy ink, and the emergence of shapes and lines that reverberates the visuals and hieroglyphics of graffiti could never have come into being with-out her relentlessly working through different viscosities, difficulties, and substances necessary to unravel and explicate imprints, visual and emotive genomes, that have been there all along. Somewhere. Immanent questions of hyper-specific form and substance. What was in question, and in the question, even before the question could possibly have been articulated, the translation that takes place as it pushes to notify. This puffed, marshmallowy, duration, and in-discerned tracing of the question, is implied in its dark “arcana” (Leibniz), a dark arcana so wondrously full of colour.
Peter J. Amdam
Link: Ida Ekblad at Herald St.