Klara Lidén (II)

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Not abiding by the given. De-formatting what has been incorporated. Habitual action and expectable response can be transformed into something alive.Klara Lidén(Stockholm, Sweden, 1979)

Versión de esta nota en Español

Not abiding by the given. De-formatting what has been incorporated. Habitual action and expectable response can be transformed into something alive.

Klara Lidén makes a habit of constructing non-constructions and giving new uses to what already entails a pre-established use. She carries out videofilmed performances that deal with instituted behaviors and daily experiences ? for deprogramming purposes. In these performances, the body is at the core. Like Gordon Matta-Clark, she uses it as a tool and as a weapon to radically alter the inner-private space and the political and material world.

Lidén builds with a great economy of resources. What has been discarded is a potential architecture. The script for her works is born from what she finds thrown out in the streets. Corrugated cardboard, packaging materials, Durlock, wood, cloth, carpets, plastic. Leftovers. The spaces she employs are spaces that have been left uninhabited. Her conception of habitat is related to the politics of appropriation and free use. In Berlin, while studying architecture, she set up a bunker on the banks of the river Spree and left it available to whoever might need it. In Stockholm, she created a free postal system for sending letters without buying stamps or resorting to institutionalized communications.

Klara leaves protected spaces out in the open. She broaches the use and abuse of public spaces. In ELDA FöR KRåKORNA (Loss of Energy, 2008) she renders the Reena Spaulings gallery permeable. She physically introduces the neighborhood?s dirty and charmless spaces. Now the gallery is a narrow white corridor, ending in a small room with little lighting and a sofa. When one sits there, one becomes aware of scratches and cooing. And that they are very near. The area subtracted from the gallery has been offered to the neighborhood?s pigeons, which peck for food behind the room?s Durlock. A sector of exaggerated private area has been recovered for the city.

Lidén seeks the raw materials for her work on the days prior to the opening of her show. For ALWAYS TO BE ELSEWHERE (2010) at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris, she collected large streetside posters for a month. She folded and piled them up until she had wholly obstructed the entire space of the large exhibition room. From floor to roof, from wall to wall. A sculpture of architectural scale. From this one can deduce how much public space is taken up by advertising.

Her videos are on intimate scale, of low quality and very short. As if for YouTube. With a loopable narrative, they can be projected in a continuum, thus gaining in attributes. They are records of routine actions that entail a disbelief in routine in itself and in that which originates it.

For the MOMA exhibition in 2004, Lidén searched for, found and appropriated an abandoned apartment in Brooklyn. In 550 JAMAICA AVENUE, the video she made, a camera moves forward amid stacks and agglutinations of scattered objects. It squeezes through stairs, a corridor and rooms, until it reaches another, likewise jam-packed room, in which Klara is with her back to us, naked to the waist, singing with feeling and playing the piano. Meanwhile, in yet another room, Klara, again topless, rides a stationary bicycle. The sex is always indefinite. Non-gender is always at the core of all her work.

In her videos she maneuvers atypical rhythms. She uses her body to argue with. Her body essays movements and temporalities. She innovates in intermittent behaviors and forms of affection. Through simple actions, she causes the meaning of the everyday to change. In OHYRA (2007), she comes and goes like a caged animal through the small kitchen, washes the dishes, goes to the door, comes back, speaks to the camera, ?I?m very bad at dishwashing. I can?t even wash the dishes. And on top of that… I haven?t visited my grandmother in ever so much time.? She punches herself.

In PARALYZED (2003), with a child?s enthusiasm, she executes a dance on the Stockholm subway. An uninhibited and sexless striptease. An emphatic, acrobatic and calibratedly clumsy pole dance. With the military jacket she twirls around, the jeans she unbuttons and gradually drops while she continues to move around the subway car, pirouetting, she triggers non-responses of annoyance among the commuters.

BODIES OF SOCIETY (2006): An apartment room only contains a bicycle leaning against a wall. Klara holds a steel pipe in her hand. In an inquisitive manner, she walks around the bicycle, observing it, evaluating it as if it were suspect. She maintains a somewhat autistic and somewhat sexual relationship with it. Walking around it, she jabs the bike with the pipe like someone prodding an animal to see if it?s alive. The cautious stalking turns into a thrashing. The bicycle breaks, collapses, while Klara hits it without losing control, with a strange rhythm, until she has left it in pieces. She has harmed her own belonging.

PRETTY VACANT (2012), the last exhibition at Reena Spaulings, is a cemetery for Christmas trees. They have been picked up from the sidewalks of Manhattan during the first week of the year. They are preserved with struts and water buckets and strung with artificial purple lighting. An indoor natural reserve. A suspension of time before being mulched. A tight path on which twigs are crushed. The ground is wet from the watering. The air is icy. A strong scent of pine and of garbage. There is a comfortable old sofa in the middle of the room for reclining in. Stopping, looking, smelling, leads to becoming involved. Who bought those trees, what were their celebrations like, how did the trees get here, how will they leave the city, what artists do they bring to my mind? Beuys planting oaks, Gordon Matta-Clark giving life to a cherry tree in a basement, Yoko Ono and her wooden coffins in which citrus trees grow.

Lidén?s outrageous and dark conceptualism slashes out at the social rules that govern us and render us submissive. Her work speaks to us from ?a post-atomic structuralism and an environment of survivors,? as Massimiliano Gioni mentions. It reveals the hidden aggression and the potential rebellion underlying the surface of our cities and their inhabitants. Loneliness is a fact. Even so, the works of Klara Lidén aren?t criticisms that irrevocably end in themselves. Nor do they promote vandalism. They are alternative actions; in other words, they are wagers made, visions. Possibilities that mentally begin to acquire embodiment.

Bibliography consulted:
Bodies of society, edited by Massimiliano Gioni and Jenny Moore. New Museum. 2012

?Bodies of Society? by Klara Lidén.
Until July. New Museum, New York City.

Images:
Bodies of Society, 2006. Video, color, sound. 4.50 min.

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Versión de esta nota en Español

Publicado en Leedor el 10-07-2012