Romance at KKH
In 2003 I attended Art and Architecture at Konsthögskolan (Royal University College of Fine Arts), Stockholm. A twenty credits course of seminars and discussion and the theme of the year was Romance, starting off with the romantic era in art history and continuing with romance in literature, exotism, Love in a psychoanalytical sense, horror and contemporary popular culture. One of the events was about the beat generation literature and among the authors were Paul Bowles, writer of The sheltering sky. Prior to the finale of the course, traveling to Marrakesh in Morocco we also saw the movie with the same name - The sheltering sky by Bernardo Bertolucci, starring among others Debra Winger and John Malkovich. We read a synopsis of the story focusing on the point in the movie where the heroine (Winger) is being kidnapped by bedouins and is forced to live her life among them. Her traveling companions are gone and her lover, played by Malkovich is diseased from illness. This is a turning point where the story takes on a different character as she goes from being a tourist, partying and living an excentric lifestyle, consuming the exotism and the romantic image of Morocco into actually living the life of the nomading bedouins sharing their daily life. She goes from a fiction in her romanticized image of the exotic country into the reality of daily Moroccan life.
This story with its clash between fiction and reality had an impact on me and resulted in a new direction in my work.I had already initiated this new direction in 'Our Friends often comes and visits us' two years before, but the reading of this article gave me an insight and formulated some of the things I wanted to process with my work at that time. Things I still process in my current work but nowadays probably less pronounced. A new direction with a series of works that were titled and conceptual in a way that they haven't been before. Focusing on different fictional, fantasmal and romantic phenomenons we encounter in life, like for instance exotism when we travel as tourists, go to an foreign cultural restaurant or watch a historical costume drama movie. Or the romantic escapism when you dream of something better in life, like for instance a house on the countryside - Our friends often comes and visits us.
Another thing was to aim at the romance of craft itself and particularly the ceramic craft with its romantic images of the potter, the pottery, the origins of clay in the earth, the fire, the robust aesthetics of traditional European farming pottery etc. The thing is for me that I myself like to be seduced by these things and the overall notion I want to state is that it is OK to be so, even though the image painted before you may not always be true.In this way too much knowledge of things is not always a blessing it could also be a curse, unless you in some way, sometimes, awaringly or un-awaringly, could choose to look away from your knowledge and let yourself be seduced.
Where do you want to go next?