Curator and Her Artists

Some women one would just fall in love with.

The first time I saw Stella was in an artist talk of Gelitin, a group of four Vienna-based artists she invited in Konstfack University. That was not an ordinary artist talk. According to Adnan my colleague, that was a rock band concert! You want to shake your ass with, and you want a party or a bath with them!

I am not sure if I should continue talking about Stella or Gelitin now, because they are all amazing people. Okey, let me briefly describe this not-to-miss artist talk of Gelitin, and then we go back to Stella later.

It was almost like a construction site on the lecture room; Gelitin were playing with these timbers, wood blocks, ladders classroom furniture and all objects they could grab in the space. They were hyper kids kind of natural born artists who creates things every second. Four of them were overlappingly talking among themselves when they tried to do this presentation about their artworks: this super big rabbit installation in the forest of Italy where people have sex on, this two-seated sauna installation in London that people go crazy about, their studio in the border of France and Italy, their performance, and then a coming up opera production next year, etc. Their artwork is like crazy, and they are crazy about their works as well. They are also very noisy, and that is good! That’s something rare in Stockholm. Gelitin is invited by Stella to come to Sweden to do this project on a no man island where they will spend two months there by themselves. There is no architecture on the island besides some debris from a former military bunker, and the entire island is like 20 to 30 square meters large. That’s it. For two months! One of them started eating banana on the stage, and he made faces to this over-head projector so the color image of his face looked exaggeratingly distorted on the screen.

On this artist talk, Gelitin tried to invite a volunteer to perform a “human elevator” with them to demonstrate what they did previously. But Swedes are quiet people, now you know it already, so they don’t do this kind of things to make fun of themselves in public. No. That’s not Swede then. So, even in an art school, among art students, nobody was willing to do the performance with Gelitin people, and Stella, the curator, stood up for it and walked to these crazy lads who were buttered themselves and already stripped off except their boxers.

“Human Elevator” is about to throw a body from the top into more bodies that hold beneath as the elevator. See the original drawing by Gelitin below (stolen by me after the talk):

gelitin 02
There she was. The first naked curator I saw, Stella also took off her cloth except her underpants, and she climbed up to the ladder and jumped through these naked butterly Gelitin. Voila. For more Gelitin, please check their website by clicking Gelitin here.

Stella gave me such impelling first impression that I couldn’t forget. What kind of curator is she? She is such a deep warm existence, colorful and dark at the same time, and she lights up people. When she talks to you, her eyes are staring three inches into you and her long waterfall-like black hair swings a bit as she nods. You feel her movement all the time even she sits so still. Her build is not so feminine, but I could easily imagine she is this sexy goddess to many straight men I know. Phew, that’s a very strong power a woman could possess. I almost want to feel jealous about it, but I just admire it more.

I paid a visit to her yesterday in her office. I was so curious about what she did. This organization that she and some other people run together is called Mossutställningar, which has this poetic touch, meaning moss growing all over. Mossutställningar is a non-profit organization of a group of curators who are more driven into commission works, projects, community work rather than pursuing the expectable curatorial credit or international fame. They are more interested in the relation of artwork and its audience, and they would also take the role to help artists they like to realize some projects together. Stella told me that she was not interested in becoming an international curator like a cultural product, but wanted to really do something locally valuable for Sweden. That was quite a statement, I have to say.

There is one project they do, for instance, which I think is quite interesting. They look for houses that are about to be renovated or re-used but still waiting for the governmental permission to start the construction. These houses are under a only a few real estate agencies here in Stockholm, so they target these agents and try to work out projects in these emptied space. They also work with these pension houses, and once they organize real commission artwork exhibition into these old retired people’s individual living space by inviting artists to discuss their ideas with these elderly people, and eventually artworks are installed inside these people’s home.

The strategies to work with real estate agencies in an innovative way are super brilliant. Their curatorial practices and ambition are unique, creative and directing to some new value and concept. Though their financial condition is also at stake, and they are seeking opportunities to go further, I am amazed by the energy of many younger, less-known curators in Stockholm. Stella is like hugging everyone on her way here and there to spread out such warmth and the message of her passion in life or whatsoever, or Gelitin’s shitty art. They really shit to make art.

gelitin 01

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2 responses to “Curator and Her Artists

  1. somehow, i am very touched by this article. it’s rare to talk about ideal now but it is priceless as always.

  2. i must say i am overwhelmed by Stella’s strength and the beauty in it. you really want to fall in love with her for such incredible charm and passion. there are many kinds of curators trying to reach their ‘ideals’ and ‘ambitions’, but what Stella demonstrates in her living practice is definitely one of the rarest kinds.

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