THE RELUCTANT ARTIST
NOVEMBER 18, 2020 – JANUARY 20, 2020
When Jakob Solgren takes charge of his destiny, or when his destiny takes charge of him, all the difficulties and occurrences once again force him into the studio to set out to paint. Or, if circumstance allows, to bend and hammer an object into existence. A way to capture an echo or reverberation. If not from within himself, then from that of a beholder.
The first beholder is one’s mother. In that sense, every art viewer can be said to be one’s mother. And the artist therefore also observes the beholder (as if she were his mother), but from a distance. This distance is Solgren's challenge for you to overcome. Which is why you’ll find him in the studio; the studio below the mountain, the mountain of work.
The working title of this exhibition is Berget (the mountain). The tools for compiling the exhibition feature a flute, a funnel, a grater, a stone and a constructed, moulded, tarnished lump of clay. None of these objects has moving parts, all fixed in place. Locked together, but with a different kind of expression. Or perhaps dead. But the flute produces melody, the funnel collects, the grater divides, the stone transforms into matter and the matter becomes clay, to be touched and moulded with the hands. Clay is therefore Solgren's raw material. Never did I think that Solgren’s mind ever considered this reasoning, the dealing with riddles. But the way he knocks on the reverberating box - his studio - can be interpreted as his response, the stones crumbling away.
Solgren has painted many skies. Blue skies, with clouds. Yet in reality, it is not the empty sky that is blue; it is the very light of heaven that is blue. In this exhibition, the sky is brown, or rather clay-colored, earth-colored, like raw material. As if Solgren is looking down, deep into the solid ground, among the roots, and perhaps towards his own origin too. Other colours provide different reverberations and brushstrokes, different light, different foundations, different insights and knowledge, different landscapes.
Next to the paintings, which frame the tools (within square-shaped clouds), there are vessels of clay on the floor. Alike, but distinct, like individuals in a crowd, or as clouds appear, or as like-minded observers act. The vessels are empty, as if they haven’t been able to keep hold of anything. Neither can the flute, the funnel or the grater.
The one who can and should keep hold is the loving observer, it’s her responsibility.
Without the viewer (the motherly host of the artwork), the artist is nothing. Merely a sounding flute, a lump of malleable clay, a helpless infant thrown into the world, from the mountain of love.
No wonder Solgren is reluctant.