The first one was presented at Haa Gamle Prestegaard, a beautiful gallery on the west coast of Norway where they build so many stonewalls and fences. See project named Haa. There one can read about the techniques and the sizes.
From my earlier experiences I have learned that it is not a bad idea to show the same material in a new setting and make a variation on the same subject. I used to make video documentation of my first installation and use it as a part of the next one. I always make things for a specific space.
I wanted to try a slightly different approach this time. One can make art from anything and about everything. So I decided to use the title as a gathering moment for this group of projects. I do not know myself yet, how long it will last, for how long I can be interested in and preoccupied with the same subject. Originally I had in mind at least three more other walls: the big one from China, Creml from Moscow and The wiping wall from Jerusalem. But it is difficult to finance these ambitious ideas, so I kept receiving refusals for the most of my applications for financial support. Except for one from the Foundation of professional photographers, who run this gallery, Fotografiens Hus.
This was the reason why I made this installation. Refusals are the main theme for this exhibition. Norwegian walls.
Before this I worked with new subjects and new materials and techniques all the time. That is not a usual thing in Norway. Most artists keep digging one and the same thing through their entire life, improving themselves, making small small changes, polishing their techniques and walking in tiny steps towards the perfection. Therefore my working methods and ways of artistic approach and progression are neither recognised nor understood here. That is the reason for all the refusals, I guess.
For the first time I wanted to repeat myself, to show the same pictures twice. By adding a new element, I managed to change the concept and the impression of the work completely.
At Haa this same pictures looked innocent and beautiful, relating to the landscape outside, the light, the room, the public in between the pictures and the reflections. At this exhibition I gave an interpretation to the stones. I have built a real wall of papier-mâché stones, which reflected in the photographs of the real stones from Haa and suggested a meaning that has not been there before. The texture on the stones was made by words and sentences from different letters that I have received in the run of 2004, letters of refusal.
These letters are an incredible material in themselves, the way they are formulated and written, I keep collecting them and hope to make a project one day that will be homage to Boltansky. I have seen an exhibition by Christian Boltansky in London once, when he already turned famous and well established. He showed the letters of refusal from different institutions from the times when he has been unknown, like all of us the others.
Naturally, the walls symbolise exclusion, segregation and discrimination. They can be tall and hard to rise, or they can be invisible, transparent, but still isolating and dividing. In this case I try to show the walls around me as an artist working in Norway. The paper walls I placed in the exhibition room are light and fragile, I manage to ignore them, to survive behind them. I make a laugh of this obstacle, I am ignorant, arrogant and self certain.
The next time I am going to relate to more serious matters. One walks into the walls and talks to the walls all the time.
I want to talk by the walls by the way.