Magnus Bärtås

The Great Memory

Project Info

  • 💚 Flip Project
  • 🖤 Magnus Bärtås
  • 💜 Flip Project
  • 💛 Amedeo Benestante; Giovanni Allocca

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The title of the exhibition is borrowed from W. B. Yeats idea of a reservoir of souls and images that functions meeting point between the living and the dead. Humans would have access to the great memory through dreamlife, either by dreaming or by inducing oneself into a hypnagogic state to listen to voices of the dead, who would share their wisdom, as well as giving advice about everyday life actions. The great memory could be viewed as a metaphor or symbol for our relation to history; a constructed “space” where temporality is collapsed, and the private merges with the collective. The installation at Flip Project space consists of a large number of cut out embroidery fragments. The textiles are bought at secondhand shops in southern Sweden, most often charity shops, in the province of Småland, where Bärtås grew up. Traditionally this was a poor area, an area for hard rural work, but during and after modernity it became an area of innovation. In his family most of the embroidery was made for local charity auctions arranged by the church. Now, in the postindustrial society, these embroideries have their second circulation of charity. Utilizing various stitching techniques they represent flowers, plants, humans, animals, objects, and buildings – a collective memory of folkloristic imagery. The handicraft techniques that underpin these image worlds belong to slowness, to the private sphere, but could also be seen to express encapsulated time and creative power. The parts originate from an antiquated, idealized imagery, and at the same time embroidery a forerunner of the digital image’s pixel structure. It is a realm of images that is associated with farmer’s words of wisdom, with moralities (in word and image), which have essentially developed out of fear and – as He see it – is related to incantation. The anonymous creators of these object-images – which spans from a period of almost hundred years – are all most probably dead, and the handling of object-images has a necromantic meaning to the artist. The great memory belongs to a series of works (films, installations, assemblages) with necromancy as artistic and historiographic methodology (some of them together with Swedish/Iranian artist Behzad Khosravi Noori). On November 23 they will give a seminar at Goldsmith Research centre in London on the subject. /// Magnus Bärtås works foremost with film, essay and assemblage/installation. He is a professor of fine arts, and Head of Research at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm. His works have been exhibited at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, in 1990, 2006, 2010 and 2017, and he is the winner of the grand prize at Oberhausen International Film Festival in 2010. Magnus Bärtås participated in Platform 2009, Seoul, the 9th Gwangju Biennial 2012, and “The Real DMZ” at ArtSonje in 2013 and 2015. Gothenburg Konsthall presented a larger retrospective exhibition of his work in 2016. His book All Monsters must die (together with Fredrik Ekman) was shortlisted for the Swedish national August prize 2011. /// Flip project is an artist-run space (2011, Naples), an independent curatorial project, a platform for discussions devoted to developing models of collaboration that expand on interests in contemporary culture and artistic practice. Flip is motivated by continuous changes in location and spontaneous occurrences that extend from the local to address the current milieu. Flip presents across a multiplicity of ‘spatial’ situations where discussions take shape as exhibitions, publications (web, digital and print), workshops, screenings, seminars. Flip has curated in dialogue with fellow participants/artists/authors/curators involved in a variety of projects that have taken place also in unusual contexts, outside of museum norms, and beyond borders. With the Matronage of Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee, Naples in collaboration with IASPIS, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee´s International Programme for Visual and Applied Arts Thanks to Konstfack - University of Arts, Crafts and Design
Flip Project