Decending Movements


& SVEINUNG RUDJORD UNNELAND Decending MovementsTCG Nordica, Kunming, China.An Exhibition Review

By Luo Fei

In the room of a cultural space adapted from an abandoned factory, there's a set of installation made of steel on the floor. It's only as high as knee-high, yet it occupies almost the entire room. The audience have to walk along the wall to come around it. Thick hemp ropes are tied tightly and neatly on to the frame. The ropes passes through the sleeves and legs of T-shirts and pants in different shades of green. The cloths are from local second-hand market, they are either stretched out between the wires or hanging loosely on the hemp ropes. The whole frame looks like a sturdy safety net, as if to catch fallen objects from the sky. From the knots on the frame and the ink marks whipped on the three pieces of paper hanging on the wall nearby, one can feel the sense of power and determination.

As you get near this "safety net," you can make out a low male voice (Chinese) and a crisp female voice (English), both of them reading something out loud. Ah, it's a poem - Imaginary Routes. The poem is portraying a number of descriptive pictures, a descriptions of an open landscape, zooming in to narrations on the human condition. It's the sound of self-reflection and contemplation. It seems as if the situation is tense. The contemplation and struggle that were hanging right above the earth was readily felt, like a low hanging cloud floating near from afar. The poem is printed on translucent paper next to the entrance of the "safety net".It's an artwork by the Norwegian artist Sveinung Rudjord Unneland and the Danish writer Andreas Vermehren Holm, elaborated during their stay in Kunming, the summer of 2017.

Polaroid-photos are also displayed leading away from the steel-construction, polaroids that Unneland and Holm shot on the streets in Kunming. All of them were painted partially green, like the cover material used to enclose the constructing sites. It's done in a way that gives one the impression that this city is always under construction - in fact that is the case. And this is exactly what the exhibition is all about - a visible, never-finished world, and an unseen, never-weary crowd in it.

In a society where social Darwinism is popular, life is forced to be an "Ascending Movement". However, under the logic of the global capitalist economy, the people at the bottom always face the reality of being expelled. They are expelled from where they stay, where they work, they are expelled from their own lives, and so they join the of the many creatures in this biosphere who are excluded from their habitat. Dignity is too luxurious.

It seems that Unneland and Holm did not mean to present a tragedy, nor a hymn to praise the proletariat, but simply to outline, describe and examine the overall situation of mankind. The bodies at the bottom of the social landscape are used and stretched to form a solid "safety net". Because everything will go back to the earth, and from here everything arises.

The exhibition [23.6. - 11.7. 2017] combined knowledge of the social framework with contemplation upon mere existence, and it mingled them with visual forms and a literal approach. The exhibition formed a perceivable and readable passage that invited us to experience the inherent power of this "descending movement."

December 6, 2017

Foto Luo Fei