Minda Andrén

Stones grow soft

Minda Andrén — Stones grow soft

Consider that seemingly inert yet voracious time during the incessant feed scrolling of any given social media or online search. Minutes stretch like a vacuum or a gap in spacetime engulfing us into rivers of information. Meanwhile, our eyes restlessly gobble up images at the time our fingers rapidly pass them by up, down, swiping them left or right. Thoughts and visual cues jump from one to another, random, unconnected. Sometimes the glimpses are too fast even to grasp them. The immersion is exhausting though it creates a strange dependency. A reflex that sways between repulsion and crave, so that just after a short pause, one jumps back into that digital visual pool.

The scroll becomes unstoppable, arisen from some immediate thrill, like that of a sugar rush, fed by a mixture of voyeurism and the numbness of boredom. But, what if this endless image-scrolling would overlap onto one static frame? What would be its outcome? How could we interpret this interpolation of random and opposite signs?

The resulting vision would become a riddle: An intersection of arbitrary impressions from press images, selfies, ads, landscapes, artworks, Snapchat filters, and other viral trends, whose massive exchange defies any sense of authorship blurring the image‘s hierarchy. We collect and share ad infinitum in whimsical assemblages which hold a tacit unity that belongs to the same language, that of the user. This web of apparently disconnected snippets responds to an individual span of interests and their permeated exposure to a community.

For Stones Grow Soft (1), Minda Andrén builds these visual riddles from the embedment of found and borrowed images that she collects from a myriad of sources, including her private archive. The exhibition‘s title underlines the ludic manner in which she resignifies the original images into playful, intricate compositions that dislocate their original connotation into a posit of impossibilities: From fragments of Bruegel‘s engravings overlapping with Rock-flaming-Boots from a Willhaben ad to an enigmatic landscape with five head-in-theground vertical bodies elongating into abstract lines.

Andrén thus plays with the temporalities of digital media from the supposed „staticity“ of painting. The dissimilarity of the image vortex converges within a single body leaving its imprints. She then treats them as corporeal traces superimposed in an instant captured through layers of paint and gesso, creating a simultaneity that only the pictorial media allows.

Minda works from a digital mindset onto an analog technique. Her paintings inform of the „after image“ physical reverberation on the self and of the subsequent thorough study of these imprints that she entails. Minda first outlines them in small format sketches to master the shape, learn it by heart, and then transfers them onto a bigger surface. There is a careful devotion during this transitional moment. She prepares the body that will receive the incision of the drawing. During this process, she erases and tames the line‘s variations through oil layers until reaching the desired proportion: its musculature. However, these effaced lines fight their presence back into the surface, like phantasmagorias that give the image a story in motion, an evidence of what occurred: The skeleton and its epidermis.

Ravens white he’d have and swans like soot, Slugs that talk in tongues and crickets mute; Forbid the fish to swim and birds to fly; Make fountains stand and mountains run, through dry, And fire sink down and water rise on high; Let bones with blood and nerves with marrow clot, Stones grow soft but wax, when heated, not.

Lorena Moreno Vera, 2021

(1) From the poem A Posit of Impossibilities by Walafrid Strabo in Silverstein, T. (1989). English Lyrics Before 1500 (York Medieval Texts. Second Series). Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press.