Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kate Gilmore (2009) "Blood from a Stone" showcased at Crystal Palace

Instead of Magasin 3, which is already on summer vacations (see yesterday's post), I visit Hudiksvallsgatan, known by some as Stockholm's Chelsea, referring to the area of New York well-known for the clustering of art galleries. (For details about this area, see the post in my other blog Stockholm4Foreigners.)

Crystal Palace, a gallery that only recently moved to Hudiksvallsgatan, showcases video installations by a New York-based artist Kate Gilmore. Her work entitled "Blood From A Stone" catches my eyes. (A clip of this video can be seen on the artist's website.)

The video begins with the dark grey wall with ten shelves (also in dark grey) at the height of a person's head. The artist herself, dressed in a red top and a white skirt with little pink patterns at the hem, starts putting a white cubic box on one of the shelf. By watching her struggling to lift up the box, we learn she's trying to do a job that appears to be too tough for a woman. Once she manages to place the box on the shelf, white blood splashes at the back of the box and flows down the dark grey wall. She keeps lifting up white heavy boxes, one by one, and every time she places it on the shelf, white blood splashes and flows down the wall. She repeats this ten times until all the shelves are complete with the white box. The video ends.

Her movement in this video essentially goes against two laws of nature: gravity and the fact (or the artist may say everyone's perception) that female human beings are born to be physically weak. Each time she overcomes these two challenges, white blood splashes as if it suggested going against nature would hurt. But she places white boxes against the grey wall, and the color of blood is white, not red. It seems what she is doing is morally correct if the color of white represents purity

A few walks away, Galleri Andersson Sandström features another New York-based artist Barton Lidice Benes. His 2005 work entitled Painting attracts my attention. It consists of five picture frames in green, blue, brown, orange, and purple, respectively, which showcase dozens of tiny items the artist collects around the world, ranging from a fragment of a banknote of some country (a recurrent motif in his works) to a tiny toy doll, from a used condom package to a case of drawing pins. Since each item's color matches the picture frame's color, each set of junk looks very pretty as a whole. This is perhaps a nice way of displaying your own tiny, junky objects that you accumulate over your life.

Hudiksvallsgatan really appears to be Stockholm's Chelsea this weekend.

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