In a number of old horror and sci-fi films, a character suddenly realizes that he is the last person on earth. Usually, a short time after the realization, the final person picks up an everyday object, looks at it and feels its weight. The agony and loneliness is for a moment sidetracked by the privileged final perspective. The object holds memories, but is emptied from all its values and uses. For a brief moment the person see its non-suggesting surface. To see what he sees at that moment is a reward that might even make all the traumas up until then worthwhile.
It is not just ridding something of its references that can be an issue.
An artist was commissioned to make a drawing of a witch for a book. But he could not decide how the kind of extreme ugliness, hinted to in the text, should look. If you look at the sketchbook of the artist there are a number of possibilities of how the look of the look of the extremely ugliness could have taken shape. But this is not how the ugliness got its form.
After having tried to make the drawing for weeks he gave up and went into town. He sat at the same place for days, waiting for the right face. And finally she came.
If you look at the drawing today, it’s just a regular witch with a crooked nose and a wart on it.
The exhibition ‘Oil on canvas’ presents painting, sculpture and installation by Simon Ling, Thea Moeller and Arild Tveito. Its concern is primary the act of signifying.
Text by Staffan Boije af Gennäs