Opening: 13th May 5-8 pm /
The exhibition will run 13th May – 12th June 2022
Elisabeth Molin‘s practice gives a thought-provoking view into how lens based media inform and is put to use in a contemporary art practice. Her work deals with slips in perception, time warps and bodily displacements, often materialised as video, photography, installation and performance. Looking beyond the seamless ideology of the world we live in, her work finds multiple jarring contradictions, dislocations, asymmetries and quiet injustices.
“The dark inklike substance ran down my finger. Had it not been for the stark smell, I would have licked it. The opacity of its blackness felt very sensual. And in my mind the oil naturally connected to the material of the leather shoes that held the liquid, bending the fluid into something solid, without hesitation or tension. I definitely wouldn’t have been surprised had the shoes themselves been an incarnation of the plasticity of oil. It spurred me to think about the intricate feedback loops between our bodies, senses and how we extend into the world and to the objects and technical prostheses around us. You think you are the one operating the broom stick – but maybe it also operates you through its discrete behavioural control. The crows are attracted to the image of themselves, their copy.
The shoes standing on the floor are the material double of a pair of shoes appearing in the dream of a night guard, interviewed by Molin. My encounter with them and the dark liquid inside them along with the image of a glass of milk with oil pouring into it made me think of the different ways of making connections between things, in symbolic, metaphorical or metonymical registers, on a practical or imagined level. What meaning may that dark fluid carry? If the guard were to put his feet into the shoes, it would undoubtedly soak his socks and stain the floor. Is it a metaphor for his hesitance towards walking around in the dark – or simply an image of the fact that he does exactly that?
Elisabeth Molin’s works create room for imagination and speculation in focusing on the connections between what is physically present and what is there in a mediated form, as an image, a copy, a shadow. Oil and milk, however different, share qualities that may turn them both into metonymies of production and reproduction. Cows are excellent machines, philosopher Vilém Flusser reminds us, as “prototypes of future machines that will be designed by advanced technology and informed by ecology. In effect, we may state that, as of now, cows are the triumph of a technology that points to the future.”1 The ways in which our existence is entangled with the substance of oil is dizzying. As a means of transport, of heat, of plastic products and closely connected to lethal politics, oil shows us the way into an apocalyptic present and future, while being a biproduct of past forms of life inhabiting this earth. Being opaque substances without colour, milk and oil pose as each other’s contrast or reflection, when mixed we find ourselves in the grey area of uncertainty.
Molin’s works turn attention to the edges of perception, of what can be sensed and known: the inlets of the filmstrip carrying colour codes, but not disclosing what is on it, images of a burning camera and the reflection of a person, blurring hierarchies between background and foreground. We are here in full daylight, surrounded by things and the representations of things, but just behind that lurks darkness and nothingness. On the brinks of certainty, we may find objects moving that we thought were still, discover the shadow existence of things or cherish the seemingly insignificant movements of a fly cleaning itself.”
Exhibition text by Anne Kølbæk Iversen
Molin has had exhibitions at Wiels, Brussels; Sundy, London; Sixty Eight Institute, Copenhagen; Austrian Cultural Forum, London and Danish Cultural Institute, Edinburgh, among others. She has shown her videos as part of the 32nd Images Festival in Toronto, the 31 Stuttgarter Filmwinter in Stuttgart and the 7th Medrar Video Festival in Cairo.
The exhibition is generously supported by Malmö Stad, the Swedish Arts Council and Arts Council England