LINA SELANDER. Excavation of the Image: Imprint, shadow, spectre, thought

Sweden - Biennale Arte 2015

Lina Selander's films and installations can be read as compositions or thought models, where ideas and conditions are weighed and tested. Representing Sweden at the 56th Biennale di Venezia 2015, she has compiled a group of works and documents describing a migration between utopia and collapse, where technological or ideological development as generators of energy and destruction are inescapably linked. 

Excavation of the Image: Imprint, shadow, spectre, thought
Lina Selander examines relationships between memory and perception, photography and film, language and image. Her works focus on junctures in history where a system or physical place collapses and something new emerges. Montage is used in the films to create pauses or set images against one another, but also involves the risk of causing perceptual gaps.
Lenin's Lamp Glows in the Peasant's Hut
This installation  - comprising film, radiographs and a text plaque -  is made in dialogue with Dziga Vertov’s film The Eleventh Year from 1928, about the construction of a hydroelectric plant on the Dnieper, juxtaposing it with contemporary footage from nearby Pripyat, a ghost town since the Chernobyl disaster. Images are also included from the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev – such as of fossils, the earliest imprints documenting prehistory.
Lenin's Lamp Glows in the Peasant's Hut
Radiographs displayed in a vitrine corroborate the symbiosis between early photography and the discovery of radioactivity, which, in turn, seems to presage the invisible code of digital photography.
Lenin's Lamp Glows in the Peasant's Hut
The steel plaque reflecting the moving image and tying the installation together constitutes a mind map of the work. A partly documentary, horizontal narrative intersected by vertical chasms – dipping into material, and finding links between disparate, incompatible parts; as if tracing the process of an archaeologist piecing together the fragments.
Model of Continuation
"Model of Continuation is based on the invisible core of the visible inscription, the image as an interior object and its relationship to seeing and various reproduction technologies. In my work I have attempted to follow an idea of the illusion’s beginning in the simple fact of images, like radioactivity or leakage between layers: vegetation and sporadic work outside the window, the room, the studio environment, the lonely plants, as well as the projection with its different layers of time." LS
Model of Continuation
"The material is imbued with an experience that interferes with and modulates that which the camera does not contain: the images. Some sound and images have been borrowed from Children of Hiroshima (Kaneto Shindo, 1952), Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) and Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August 1945 (Erik Barnouw, 1970)." LS
Working Archive
Vitrine with radiographs, fossils, stone containing uranium, ancient coin with silphium plant, Anteroom of the Real (video) on an iPad, publications and documents.
Anteroom of the Real
"The film takes its starting point in the deserted town of Pripyat, located within the zone of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A pair of hands flip slowly through a pile of photographs: images of a model of reactor 4, buildings in Pripyat, books in deserted offices, empty rooms, trashed interiors, pictures of a TV monitor showing a documentary about Chernobyl, etc. As the timelines of the still and moving images cross, the film raises questions about what an editing room is and can be, and about narrativity, time and images." LS
The film Silphium centres on an ancient coin from the Greek colony Cyrenaica, imprinted with the eponymous, priceless and now extinct medicinal herb. The sense of something lost and obscured is like a filter across the film’s fragmentary historiography; Hans Holbein’s enigmatic painting The Ambassadors, Chris Marker’s 1962 film La Jetée, with its time warp. Selander reveals different layers and experiences of time – geological, cinematic, personal. Footage from the Stasi archive and the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology in Trondheim appears recurrently.
Documentary material meets quotations in a sometimes enigmatic image flow, where some motifs, sounds and words are repeated like obsessions or codes. Attempts at control – over nature, knowledge, technology and people – echo throughout. Selander returns to the phenomena and technologies that have made images possible, thereby enabling the mediation of history; in a quest for the primordial status of the image.
The Offspring Resembles the Parent
Memory is inextricably connected to economy – in the form of capital that we manage or hand down. The title is based on Aristotle’s Politics, in which he argues that it is unnatural for money to increase at interest, since, unlike livestock or crops, it cannot breed. The word memory stems from the Greek goddess Mnemosyne, protector of language and recall, likewise the root for both money and muntze .
The Offspring Resembles the Parent
The starting point of the film is emergency money of the kind issued in times of crisis and inflation, or for enclaves without a set structure, such as ghettos, concentration camps or colonies. Visually dramatic, the 1920s' notes in this film hold propagandist messages in word and image. Colonial motifs conjure up an era that, in some ways disastrously, helped lay the foundations for a Western welfare society. A contemplation on fictive economies, dormant power, blind subordination and a hyperinflation of values – human and monetary.
Lina Selander
Lina Selander (b. 1973) lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Selander’s work has been shown at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) in London, Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Kunsthall Trondheim and in international group shows such as Seoul Media City Biennale 2014, Manifesta 9 in Genk, Belgium, the Bucharest Biennale 2010 and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
Credits: Story

Lina Selander - The Excavation of the Image: Imprint, Shadow, Spectre, Thought
The Swedish Pavillion at Arsenale, 56th International Art Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia, 9 May – 22 November 2015.
Curator: Lena Essling
Commissioner: Ann-Sofi Noring
Exhibition architecture: studio nāv / Carl Fransson, Thomas Paltiel
Organised by Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
With generous support from Lena and Per Josefsson.
With thanks to Kvadrat.
The artist wishes to thank: NTNU University Museum, Trondheim; The Royal Coin Cabinet, Stockholm.
Texts: Lena Essling, Lina Selander (LS)
Images © Lina Selander, Andrea Rosetti, Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

Credits: All media
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