Strange Empathy, Urgent Affairs.
I have in my previous work often been dealing with emotional numbness, dizziness, and unreality as emotional points of departure, and based my work on what I like to call a productive ambiguity where borders between the object and the space and context is blurred and challenged. Questioning the terms and conditions concerning the production and presenting of artworks and how artistic experience is created and shaped in and as dialog is central in the development of my PhD project. In the ambiguous area where the personal interest of the artist and the public realm of art meet and merge, I try to create projects that challenge spectatorship and the function of the exhibition in contemporary art practices.My questions roots back to Robert Smithson complex staging of experiences between art and spectator and between the interior and exterior sites of the institution. But from Smithson`s legendary contest of modernist dogmas until today the scene and society have evolved rapidly. What used to be strategies of resistance is now fully embraced by a culture-industry that often reduces the critical potential through absorption in the urge to transform experience into capital. These are some of the underlying dilemmas that inform and challenge my practice in general and that I find significant to tackle in order to create a meaningful investigation into the criticality of the exhibition as an artistic form-, strategy and medium and to imagine new models of spectatorship within contemporary art practices.
In 2016 I co-wrote Mørkningen (Lord Jim Publishing, 2016) together with the Danish author Andreas Vermehren Holm. The book was based on my major solo exhibition at Kristiansand Kunsthall Neo-Compressions. Central for both book and exhibition was a shared journey to Athens, Greece in January 2016. My primary intention with the journey was to make sound recordings of the Syntagma Square. This renowned public square is known as the democratic center of contemporary Greece and it serves as a symbol for western thought and civilization. I wanted to experience this specific area in relation to the economic recession and the vast number of human refugees in Europe 2016, and make this the ambient backdrop of the exhibition I was working on. Through the process of developing the work questions of receptivity and creaturely worth arose. It became more and more clear at the time that some kind of ontological subversion where necessary in order to turn the desperate situation in Europe and the Middle East around – maybe desperate necessity and overwhelming panic could be transformed and serve as an opportunity to face the crisis more direct and raise questions on how to care for this fundamental condition of help and helplessness in a conscious way.
In previous work, I’ve been dealing with emotional numbness, dizziness, and unreality as emotional points of departure. I’ve based my work on productive ambiguity where borders between object and space are blurred if not completely wiped out, and the position of the spectator, presence and movement in itself, is made part of the work, activated through perception. This approach has resulted in a series of questions on the relationship between artworks and the space they inhabit and how artistic experience is created and shaped in a dialog between object, space and spectator. I’ve been able to venture into a wide range of experiments with materials, forms, volumes and artistic strategies. Combination is central to my practice. Thus I combine painting with sculptural and graphical elements, video and sound, in order to develop a tension between the different elements put into play.
In the recent years, I’ve completed three exhibitions with material from Athens, Greece. I like to believe of these as continuations of former work and experience, but I also know for certain that some new concerns have entered into my work and methodology. Elements that make the internal, formal or theoretical narratives less dominant, allowing space for what I like to think of as the immediate element of experience – that which forces itself into play by necessity and coherence
For presentation of work and exhibitions you can look at my webpage at www.sveinungunneland.com
Sveinung Rudjord Unneland graduated from the Art Academy in Bergen in 2007. He has presented several solo and group exhibitions among others at Hordaland Art Centre, Gallery LNM, Tag Team Studio, Gallery 0047, KODE – Bergen art museum, Kunstnerforbundet, Visningsrommet Entrèe, Kristiansand Kunsthall, Østfold Art Centre and Waterside Contemporary in addition to site specific projects or commissioned work. Besides this, he has been active in the artist group Members Club and has hold position as board member in Young Artists' Society, B-Open and BKFH. He has been organizer for a number of group exhibitions and as a stage designer in various theatre projects. The latest project being the funding of the artist- run space Joy Forum situated in the foyer of the Faculty of Art Music and Design in Bergen. Rudjord Unneland art projects usually consist of painting and sculptures assembled in installations. Before becoming a scholar in 2018 he worked as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Contemporary Art / KMD in the period 2012-18.