Siobhan Hapaska, Charles Long, Ernesto Neto


Foreword by David Neuman, director Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall.
Three Conversations interviews by Richard Julin, curator Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall.

Exhibition catalogue no 21. ISBN 91-972986-4-6
53 pages, color, illustrated, insert, soft cover. Texts in Swedish/English.
Published 2000 by Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall.
Price: 150 SEK (approx. 16 EUR)

Three Conversations 
by Richard Julin

Siobhán Hapaska 3 Nov, 1999 … on sculpture:

I have to define myself as a sculptor because I make three-dimensional objects and I am actually quite proud of that. With so much predominance of the two-dimensional image it seems that we now have to extract information quite rapidly by scanning, processing and compartmentalising, making the process of looking as economical as possible. Things seem alluring when they are fast and exact, they seduce by promising to carry us along in their slipstream but I feel like I end up with visual indigestion. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it is undignified to just exist from the head up, like a king or a queen who just gives commands from a fixed throne, with no need for a body, just an intellect with total control. Making three dimensional things is a bit old fashioned because the remind me that I have to account for that embarrassing old body, that I am indeed not just an interface like the feeling of bulk and permanence that an object has. It’s there as a big, fat object in the room and you can’t get away from it. That’s why I stuck with it! It consolidates my feeling that I actually exist.

Charles Long 3 Nov 1999 … on the exhibition at Magasin 3:

I think the notion of cleansing, even though it’s fed through the “end of millennium-paranoia” about viruses and bacteria, is what we have as a cultural residue. If you go really far back and look at, say, different African rituals there is so much about purity of the individual. When I was first working with Stereolab and I went over to visit them I went to the Museum of Mankind . They had a show of African vessels, made by women. The vessels had multiple necks coming out of the same object. You could have a ritual with several people and they could all drink out of their own spout without contaminating the spirit of the others. At the same time there was a unity of a whole thing, the vessel. That became a good metaphor for me at the time. My Forms were the vessel and Stereolab’s music was the elixir inside and the public engaging in it [“B.U.A. (Burnt Umber Assembly): An Entanglement of Wholes”], hooking up with headphones. They would all have separate experiences, but physically they were all connected to the same thing. The title of one of the new pieces is the “Unity Purity Occasional”. The name comes from just a feeling rather then trying to come up with something explanatory. This idea of a hub where people come together, where there is a focus of energy and a cleansing is done jointly. I do believe that there is something about cleansing that makes bonding more possible and less risky. On a visceral, palpable level, socially we’ve adapted to a less shameful relation to sex and our bodies. At the same time we’ve found that sexually transmitted diseases is more prohibitive to it. If you had a way of getting rid of these diseases physical interaction would increase. I look at this work as a metaphor for that. Cleansing oneself so that you can interact with people. It came from earlier, interactive pieces, where all these people’s hands were on the same thing. I wondered if that was OK and how safe I was making it for them. In the other new work, the tools with the letters will create more of a distance to the primordial gunk, the clay. I love that primordial gunk. There are theories that hypothesized that the possibility of information being stored physically originated in claybanks. Because clay is a silicon-based material that has all these platelets that enable it to store information. Yet it is still malleable. So it has this combination of flexibility and crystalline structure. To me it was always like gray matter in the brain. In fact the shape and color of this new work is not unlike the top half of a brain. The title, I think, is going to be “Letter Head”. It’s just basic models that I have always been drawn to: the head, the earth, clay. These things seem archetypal to me. It’s nice to work in a contemporary way and still refer to really primitive metaphors.

Ernesto Neto 1 Nov 1999 … on abstraction and the figurative:

There is a duality between abstraction and the figurative in my work. We have the human being with the idea of our body. I think about it as bodies existing of cells. Your body, a dog or a plant have this in common. Like an amoeba. I am not interested in representing the body. I want to think about the body. So I like to work with abstract works that totally relate to the body. It has been mentioned that my works sometimes look like aliens that landed from outer space. I really like that! Sometimes I feel like an astronaut. It’s funny, because I recently met this girl I knew as a small child. She said this is what I always said I would become, an astronaut. Everybody told me that this is not a profession. And now that I have become an artist she said she felt a bit the same, that it’s not a profession! So I feel like I am a kind of astronaut discovering the world.

(Excerpts from the catalogue interviews by Richard Julin, curator Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, 2000.)