Consisting of more than 75 paintings, various scaled installations and a number of ceremonial acts, the exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date of Ylva Ogland’s collected oeuvre.
Mastering the art of painting since early age, Ylva Ogland uses the language of painting to explore her recalled experiences and inner worlds, extending a field of personal mythologies. Her work spans a wide range from still lives assembled with familiar objects from her childhood, figure paintings often using herself and her mirror-twin Snöfrid as subjects, to performancelike rituals and sculptural objects.
Echoing an atmosphere of melancholia and spiritualism the sum of Ogland’s work is a complex layered imagery that bounces between real autobiographical events, pure fiction and notions of the subconscious. Ultimately Ogland’s quest is bound to explore the physical, mental and philosophical definitions of time and space. As she puts it herself: “I want the past and the future to be present in my work, at the same time”
Mirrors, variations and heterotopias
The title of the exhibition – Diverse Variations of Other Spaces – is composed as a compilation of two influential references in Ylva Ogland’s practice. The first one being Johann Sebastian Bach’s noted piano aria popularly called “The Goldberg Variations” (originally Clavierübungen) (1741), which explores the complexities of nuanced repetitions. The second one being the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s text “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias” (1967), in which he describes the concept of“heterotopia”.
Foucault illustrate his concept in multiple ways. In one example he refers to children’s play, when they invent games. They produce an imaginative space, but at the same time mirror the physical realities around them. A bed can become a boat or a sandbox a whole universe. Another of Foucault’s core examples of the heterotopian space is the mirror in itself. In the mirror, you see yourself while you are in fact in another place. By these examples Foucault highlights the meaning of the “heterotopia” as a space of intangible otherness. A particular type of space that reflects the slippage between the familiar and the unfamiliar between reality and utopia.
In Diverse Variations of Other Spaces Ylva Ogland exhibits a selection of motifs portraying universal but also deeply personal topics such as birth, life and death. By working in an intuitively, serial and mirroring method of painting Ogland references both Bach and Foucault as she examines various ideas of the heterotopian spaces. She uses, for example, the placentas of her own children, an architectural structure based on a replica of her oldest daughter’s childtipi, and the body of her deceased father as visual representatives of such spaces.
Do you want to see more? You can see more images from the exhibition in our Flickr album. You can also find albums with photos from our other exhibitions on our Flickr.
For Röda Sten Konsthall Ogland has developed a new site specific work – a largescale floor installation entitled The Birth of Xenia (Diverse Variations) and Diverse Variations of Other Spaces, which is located in the Cathedral space and will act as a core work in the exhibition. The piece consists of a monumental oil painted canvas measuring 10 x 8,7 meters and painted on site as a bright red pictogram. Along the sides of the canvas 30 easels with equally many paintings from the series The Birth of Xenia, Diverse Variations are placed. The paintings face towards the centre of the canvas creating a semi-closed room, which Ogland will use as a ”active painter’s studio” to work on the 30 variations.
Another key work in the exhibition is the installation and tableau The Preparations of Xenia (Diverse Variations) (2013) which is on view on the 3rd floor. A doubled 7 meter long red canvas layed out on the floor as a painterly space for ceremonial intervention and integrated with symbolic objects and paintings from previous series. The piece references Ogland’s fathers consumption of heroin.
Amongst other new and recent works the exhibition also features the tipiinstallation and performance piece Le Contre Espaces, and the Preparation of the Masters of Ceremony, the mirrored diptych Looking at The Unconscious (Rock Crystal) (2014), a 1:1 mirrored version of the life size painting Pappa (2013) entitled Speglad pappa (2014), which is accompanied by 30 portrait variations of Ogland’s fathers rested face.
Influenced deeply by the masters of early renaissance art, baroque and early modernism represented by artists such as Giotto, Caravaggio, Velasquez, Matisse and Duchamp, the act of painting is for Ylva Ogland the most unobstructed way of communication. A way of bringing together various styles of imagery making and personal experiences, that allow historical and contemporary modes of thinking to parallel and intertwine across time and space.
With Diverse Variations of Other Spaces Ogland takes us on an intellectual and historical journey through her impressively rich and multilayered body of work. A journey that challenges our ideas of reality and imagination. The exhibition unfolds how Ogland’s hyperstructural and unmediated methods of working, can create a coherent and deeply personal “heterotopic Gesamtkunstwerk” for the audience to encounter.