Artist : Sofie Thorsen
Title : Spielplastiken
Date(s) : 2010/11
Website : www.museum-joanneum.at
“I am not very much interested in the personal or the subjective”, is how Sofie Thorsen (born in Århus, Denmark in 1971, lives in Vienna) describes the focus of her work. Rather Thorsen’s interest lies with culturally shaped forms and their political, social and art-historical contexts. Her solo exhibition Cut A-A’ was developed in collaboration with the film festival Diagonale and the Kunsthaus Baselland and will initially be on show in the Kunsthaus Graz, followed by the Kunsthaus Baselland in the summer of next year. In it Sofie Thorsen presents three major installations in which on the one hand we see clearly her working method which blends a deepdelving focus with objectified distancing. On the other hand, in their almost forensic and direct questioning of the object, the works correspond with hidden conditions and constructions of specific image realities: thus the film that provides the exhibition title, Cut A-A’ deals with the spirit of Socialist Modernism and with a cinema that is associated with a museum, is seemingly utopian and has fallen out of favour. As a highly precise journey in formal terms through the depths and chasms of space, it is devoted to the filmic language of transcending light as well as to an abstract recreation of a look at the expressiveness of architectural form. The film, which forms the basis of the trailer for the Diagonale 2012, will finally be shown in autumn 2012 in its place of origin – the Open Air Cinema of the Museum of Modern Art in Bratislava – before this venue is demolished and assigned to oblivion.
The Achromatic Island (2009) is alsodevoted to direct questioning of seeing and perceiving. The film is based on the history of theDanish Island of Fuur, where some of the residents suffered from genetic achromatopsia, i.e. totalcolour blindness, over generations up until the 1930s. Drawing on texts, photos and film instriking black and white contrasts, Thorsen shows the landscape and environment of Fuur fromthe perspective of those with this unusual vision defect, and so attempts to approach in artistic terms whatcharacterises the perception of an achromatic world. The illness thereby helps in examiningperception in general, as a conceptual “tool for seeing” that enables us to experience a possiblemodel on the basis of a discernible difference in the way we see. Another important work in the exhibition are the Spielplastiken (2010/11), which as drawings and collages take a look at forms ofpresentation. The work, which sculpturally grows outward into the Kunsthaus, concerns a programmetitled “Art in Construction” that occurred during the reconstruction period following theSecond World War. Artists were invited to develop sculptures for a number of children’s playgrounds in Vienna.The sculptures stood out on accountof their utopian shape and colour which were exceptional for the drab Vienna ofthe 1950s, and, besides theirarchitectural and sculptural aspects, were designed to be used by children for playing. Here too, by the reduction to the puresymbolic nature of the contents, Thorsen creates a certain distance to places and situations, whichshe analyses with the means of the medium. Thorsen’s works oscillate between a perceptible copy of reality, andpossible fiction – and in this way they open up new realms of association right in front of theviewer’s eyes.