As the 2015/16 course leader for the MFA at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Faculty of architecture and fine Art, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, (Kunstakademiet i Trondheim, Fakultet for arkitektur og billedkunst). I was pleased to be invited by the MFA candidates I have nurtured for the past year to write a foreword for their Graduation Exhibition being held at TKM Gråmølna.
In order to fully contemplate the works of these artists, dear reader, you are invited to do a short ‘Apperception Test’ – 1) Please note down the following answers for yourself – What is your place of birth? What place do you call home? If you even have the amenity to be able to refer to a singular place called home, is this the place you currently live? 2) Do any of these add up to a singular answer? 3) Does the act of answering these questions for yourself challenge and distort common presumed perceptions of having a singular place of belonging. If so, then, you are probably in suitable company, and if not, we entice you to find yourself enmeshed in the realm of transnational creative art production.
Art distracts and art is received in distraction, but we must perform ‘new tasks of apperception’ wrote Walter Benjamin (1936-9, p. 269) these undertakings resonate through the artist’s creative processes. It should be noted that the term apperception is used within this discourse to refer to the self-awareness of the perceiving subject, in distinction from the object-orientated process of perception. Meanwhile the convergence of materials and mediums – the training ground of distracted reception has migrated from painting to cinema to television and again to the multitudinous sites and social functions of computational media. The Internet carries in its wake, an ambient Global awareness simultaneously present in our embodied locale. Consequently, the works in the exhibition produce a renewed and new historical interest in refreshing parleys of apperception held up for reappraisal. For instance we see in figure 2. a box of Annatto (spice from Mexico) often referred to as ‘the poor man’s saffron’ used in an artwork by Enrique Roura Perez who among other things will boil a Mexican spice into the Scandinavian Space.
Through practice-orientated research the KiT 2016 MFA graduates engage in a manifold of play upon and reflection of our global predicament where displacement threatens our implacement at our every turn. It is not an exaggeration to say that far too easily many of us may even find ourselves in a place we never intended to be. This ineluctable uncanny feeling of not being at home is endemic to the human condition, intrinsic to habitation itself. In this graduation show even the traditional landscape, usually a most accommodating presence, alienates us. The practice’s of these artist’s is without question diverse – but as a whole what unites the group is their ability to transform materials into astonishing and often perplexing works of art, which raise deep-thinking questions about the world and our position within it. Presenting vastly disorientating experiences in various ways, the group stimulates and encourages their audience to adapt themselves to alternate aesthetic forms of self-awareness in order to perceive their artistic intention. However raw and politically orientated these messages may be, when placed in the realm of contemporary art, they have the potential to lead us into the world of magic. The practice becomes akin to alchemy, the ancient mysterious power to transform a utilitarian substance into something of profound significance.
– Nancy Mauro Flude
Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility’ (third Version 1936-9), in Howard Eilnad and Michale W.Jennings (eds.), Selected writings, Volume 4: 1938-1940, (Cambridge, Mass and London, Harvard University Press 2003) pp. 268-9.
Edward Casey, The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History (California, University of California 1996).