Artist Carolina Falkholt started performing the work Dark Monolouge, a new large-scale installation transforming the entire building of ICIA Art Space into a vast black speaker. The new piece commissioned by ICIA unseals a new and less known dimension of her controversial artistic practice. The work opens for darker, more poetic and existential aspects: a celebration of the melancholic rage of the black gall.
The production is divided into three acts, the first one took place May 23, where Falkholt collaborated with a cellist during her performative act of spray painting the building black at Järnmalmsgatan/Manufakturgatan.
The installation will be fully completed in the spring 2020.
Who doesn’t at times feel like an emotionally hurt diva? But how often do we let this force, the fierce power of the black bile, bring light into existence and welcome the bi-polar oscillation between heaven and hell? With other words – how often do we dare to be proud of our wounds? If the romantic cult of the genius saw the suffering male genius as a laudable hero, the Victorian era of the 19th century came to demonize and even humiliate female artistic suffering. With her theories of emotionally hurt divas such as Agnes von Krusenstjerna, Nelly Sachs and Sigrid Hjertén, Karin Johannisson has revolutionized our view of not only female artistic suffering but also suffering in general, where the mentally ill is no longer seen as a victim but as an actor, and madness as a self-elected liberating force. With other words, it is about becoming the protagonist of one’s own life.
Carolina Falkholt’s new performance work for ICIA opens a hitherto less known dimension in her controversial œuvre. What we see here is a darker, poetical and existential side; one that celebrates the melancholic wrath of the black bile. Falkholt will transform the whole building into a loudspeaker by spraying it black to the suggestive tones the music of cellist My Hellgren. The work unfolds in three acts. The first takes place on the 23rd of May. This is also the first time that Falkholt leaves her colorful, monumental cock- and pussy paintings and her interventions in urban space (of which the last was an attempt to project a squirt orgasm image onto the White House in Washington, which was immediately censored), and instead she is to produce a black monochrome. Abstraction has often been used as resistance to state control of art, but also as harmless decorational art. The fact that Falkholt engages with this medium, with graffiti art as a starting point, also challenges the rules and taboos of classic figurative graffiti art. It is back to black, the origin of the All, prime matter, the alchemical point of beginning where chaos dominates.
The lone human either becomes an animal or a God, said Aristotle. What happens when the lone melancholic finds its way back into social spaces? The person in question falls into a melancholia generosa, a productive, exalted and interactive melancholy. It is this very melancholy, a generous kind, that emerges in the collaboration of Falkholt and Hellgren and that will be available for the visitors to take part of and even contribute to with their own personal investment, their own bodies and emotions.
We live in the age of affects, a time that can no longer separate between hate and love, or between revolution and regression. All the more important then is to create platforms where our accumulated and entrapped desires, fears, dreams, and nightmares can surface. We have to create spaces where darkness may exist, if only for a while. When this black dimension is channelled through art and music it always has a cleansing, but also uniting, power. In the third part of Vernon Subutex, Virginie Despentes dark trilogy on the odysseys through the lowest life forms of society, the book ends in an uncertain future where individuals live isolated from each other in their separate virtual capsules. Only a spiritual and pitch dark music does sometimes succeed in waking them from their dormancy and unite all of them in an ecstatic trance that causes them to oscillate between self-oblivion and political awakening. Which one it will be, falls on the very personal will of each and every one. Perhaps is it this future that is being prepared in the graffiti-musical work of Falkholt. And she does so by double exposures of both darkness and light, wrath and happiness, for it is the extremes that make us appreciate the nuances and the acknowledging of the constant coexistence of the extremes that change us into fuller and more tolerant people.
– Sinziana Ravini
translated by Benjamin Wagner