Cartharsis - Yet Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves
«Catharsis - Yet Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves» is a spacial installation adapted to the Contemporary Art Gallery -kunstplass 5 in Oslo. The exhibition follows up my solo exhibition at nääs khv in 2013 but is now more focused on Oscar Wilde and his prison sentence because of his sexuality, sat in a contemporary perspective: "Catharsis", that is ablution or ritual purification process, as a metaphor for the political developments of the situation of homosexuals around the world in our time. Even in our Western World today you will find strong forces willing to «clean homosexuals away» and going in the opposite development that can be expected in civilized modern cultures. As previously, the entrance to the installation was Wilde's work «The Ballad of Reading Gaol" but now divided into parts and with a clearly visual concentration that could be felt in the body. A narrow passage one must go through led to an opening, a kind of "liberation". 18,000 handmade coils testified about what it could mean to surrender to society, to atone for your orientation. But you can not "purify" it away, can you?
-kunstplass 5 Galleri for Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway For the exhibition the gallery was supported by Arts Council Norway
Description of project
1898 a poem with the title «The Ballad of The Reading Gaol» signed C.3.3 was published in England. The signature stands for Section C, Hall 3, Cell 3. The poem was written by Oscar Wilde in exile in France, after his release from Reading Gaol in 1897. From the time he was arrested for sodomy, and eventually sentenced, he was first imprisoned in Holloway Prison, then Newgate, Pentonville and finally Reading Gaol, where he was serving a two-year prison sentenced for sexual offenses. To compare, the average atonement at Reading is said to have been about two months. «The Ballad of The Reading Gaol» is also almost the only work Wilde writes of literary value, until his death in exile in France three years later. He had been subdued, as an artist and as a person. In after time Wilde’s poem has been understood by most literary scholars as a strong critique of the Victorian society and the English legal system. But few have wanted to see a link to homosexuality, which is what Wilde was convicted for, and the very reason for why he ended up there in the first place, and thereby got to witness the system from within that he was critical to. Through the project Grüner attempts to highlight the poem and give it a new urgency relevant to other contexts. «Yet Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves» alludes to three specific verses from «The Ballad of Reading Gaol» (verses 7, 8 and 9), and that taken out of context, opens to other rooms. The whole poem consists of 109 verses of six lines each. «Catharsis - Yet Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves» is a spacial installation adapted to the Contemporary Art Gallery -kunstplass 5 in Oslo. The exhibition follows up Grüner’s solo exhibition at nääs Konsthantverk in 2013, but is now more focused on Oscar Wilde and his prison sentence because of his sexuality. It is an attempt to set the poem in a contemporary perspective: "Catharsis", that is ablution or ritual purification process, as a metaphor for the political developments of the situation homosexuals around the world are facing in our time. Even in our Western World today you will find strong forces willing to «clean homosexuals away» and going in the opposite development that can be expected in civilized modern cultures. The exhibition was supplemented with two public presentations within the official program of Oslo Open 2014. According to the gallery over 700 visitors had seen the installation by the end of the exhibition period. Although it did not lead to purchases, the official purchasing committee of museum collections in Norway was on site twice and discussed the possibility of buying the work. Further the exhibition was also presented in the web through Blikk, «20 meter Wilde», 24.04.2014 by Reidar Engesbak Kulturtipset - Blikk, 02.05.2014 by Steffi Lund Gaysir, «Inspirert av Oscar Wilde, redakjonen 25.04.2014 and advertised through Oslo Open.no -kunstplass 5.no listen.no As mentioned, the poem is perceived as criticism of a very concrete system. Through «The Reading Gaol», Grüner sought to build a system of his own and consistently submit himself into it: The poem was translated into morse code. Morse coding consists of rhythmic combinations of dots, dashes and spaces. Through a necessary simplification of the process, the dots must be omitted, and left to work from was only the position of the dashes and the spaces in the lines. For each dash in the morse code system a handmade coil was fabricated. The position of the dashes in this code scripture indicates the placement of the coils in the design, in the panels describing the verses, without trying to aestheticize but instead submitting into the system. The dashes in the morse code system form a population of approximately 18.000 coils. All individual 109 verses has its own assembly on panels, where the longest measures approx 155 cm and the shortest about 80 cm. The about 10 cm high coils are manufactured in newsprint with a feltcore and have two different sides. From one side, you can only see the newspaper, with the paper's characters with textfragments and writing from about 20 different countries and languages. The opposite side reveals a small ellipse in two colours on top, where the felt in 25 colours are combined with each other in all possible combinations. The newspaper print gives the work an additional dimension that puts it in a contemporary context and gives it further references. The red shades were used to group and emphasize the three specific verses representing the more well known verses «Yet Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves». Out through times these verses have been used as an inspiration for different art producers and performers including film music as well as stage performance and recordings within a variety of interpretations by many artists including ballad, cabaret and rock music. Each man kills the thing he loves runs as a theme through Rainer Fassbinder’s «Querelle» (German-French English-language drama film from 1982, selected to screen in competition at the Venice Film Festival that same year. The film was adapted from French author Jean Genet’s novel Querelle de Brest, 1947, the song by Jeanne Moreau, the lyrics by Oscar Wilde.) Later it has been adapted for stage performance in several places, among others by Dorothee Swellengrebel in Groningen, Holland, with soloist Wiebren and Homomannenkoor Zangzaad. The work resulted into a materialised spatial installation in relation to a specific room of 35 sqm with 3,5 m height to the roof and depending on passage on two sides of the room (one to an office and the other one to the exhibition room next door). As previously, the entrance to the installation was the 109 verses of Wilde's poem «The Ballad of Reading Gaol», but now divided into parts and with a clearly visual concentration that could be felt in the body. A narrow passage one must go through led to an opening, a kind of "liberation". The materialisation of the poem through the coils is an effort to give the poem a visual poetical interpretation. At the same time it evokes something unpleasant, nearly threatening. It is the material that creates the necessary concentration and the presence to perceive what the poem can be about, both on a physical as well as on a conceptual level. 18,000 handmade coils testified about what it could mean to surrender to society, to atone for your orientation. But you cannot "purify" it away, can you?
Type of work
Solo exhibition, Installation
-kunstplass 5, Oslo, Norway (Galleri for Contemporary Art,new name and adress from Nov.2014: kunstPLASS )
Public presentations on 26.04. and 27.04.2014 as a part of the official program within Oslo Open 2014
Link to web site
Contemporary Textile Art
Yet Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves
The Ballad of The Reading Gaol