September 25, 2004 - Danish Pavilion at the Sao Paulo Biennial - Lars Mathisen
September 25, 2004

Lars Mathisen

Lars Mathisen
25 September – 19 December 2004

26th Sao Paulo Biennial for International Art 2004
 Parque do Ibirapuera, Portao 3
 CEP – 04094 – 000 Sao Paulo
 Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
 Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays
 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission free

Info/press material:

Danish Representation, 26th Sao Paulo Biennial

Lars Mathisen, Cat, Microwave, Tinfoil. 2004, Work in progress, Sao Paulo    Lars Mathisen. Cat, Microwave, Tinfoil
The Danish Representation, 26th Sao Paulo Biennial for International Art 2004

Artist: Lars Mathisen Curators: Lars Bang Larsen and Dorthe Abildgaard Commissioner: The Danish Arts Council’s Committee for International Visual Art Organisation: The Visual Arts Centre, Copenhagen
Catalogue: 136 pages, richly illustrated Editors: Lars Mathisen and Lars Bang Larsen Authors: Suely Rolnik, Lars Mathisen,
Armando Silva, Brian Holmes, Lars Bang Larsen

History, science fiction, and the existential scene
Lars Mathisen’s project for the Sao Paulo Biennial is a political picture puzzle in space and sound. Cat, Microwave, Tinfoil – the title comes from a modern variation on the universal game Rock, Paper, Scissors, used for settling things in a rush – spreads out in two installations, one on each floor in Oscar Niemeyer’s biennial building. The first floor installation evokes the exhaust pipes of a space rocket, hanging down from the ceiling and made with recycled tin sheets and sound effects: a fragmentary – yet massive – staging of a space vehicle. The space rocket fragment points to the past, with space exploration as one of the big scientific adventures of the 20th century; and to the future, with the spacecraft as the vehicle in which mankind escapes in science-fiction stories, away from a planet Earth with depleted resources. In this way the space rocket is rendered as a global sign of the ambition of drawing boundaries within the unknown.

Directly above, in the second floor installation, the viewer finds herself on a stage inside a metal structure, a kind of capsule. Here, sound emanates from many sources, and a video montage made from manipulated footage from Sao Paulo TV stations unfolds over three screens. Questions, graphs and curves represent statistics generated for Mathisen’s project during the summer of 2004 by a Copenhagen polling institute, covering questions about everyday life. A recurring image in the video montage is a countdown, never actually reaching zero. A hidden logic hinted at in the montage recurs in the installation’s ‘props’: a large stone, like a boulder that has fallen from the sky, and a fireplace with grass growing on top.

Like earlier works by Mathisen, the installations challenge our cultural memory by focusing on points in history where claims to normality and the perversion of the political feed off each other. By recycling the ‘waste’ of mass media Cat, Microwave, Tinfoil thus dramatizes ways that subjectivity is imagined in our time. Global reality is material and hard as well as a spectacle of images; a politically charged sphere where the subject meets the pressures and phantasms of transnational power operations – whether in Sao Paulo or Copenhagen. In the acceleration of time that we witness today, world capitalism is an intrusive but always only half-present horizon for behavior, memory, and being: what always defines its human subject from somewhere else.

The publication that accompanies Cat, Microwave, Tinfoil contains essays and documentation related to the project and its themes. The writers’ contributions are associative and analytic portraits of contemporary life. The book is published in English.
“Global Imaginaries: fears, bodies and doubles”
By Armando Silva, Professor Emeritus of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota “It is not necessary to consume in order to live, but it is required if we are to survive in a world full of objects and images…”
“Through the Looking-Glass: Intermingling subjectivities and the possibility of public life”
By Suely Rolnik, director of the Contemporary Subjectivity PhD program at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo and Brian Holmes, art critic and activist “…to produce a vaccine against the virus that dissociates subjectivity from the intensive body, and that dissociates this body from its political and artistic potential…”
“Inner Space, Outer Space and Powers not Present”
By Lars Bang Larsen, curator and art critic “…the work’s two parts – and those parts each of them consists of – are in themselves a working material to be re-invented and re-narrated, perceptual machines that tease out new signification in each other. Make up your mind now! Cat, microwave or tinfoil? One, two, three…”

Organisation: The Danish Arts Agency, The Visual Arts Centre, 3 Kongens Nytorv, 1050 Copenhagen K. Tel: +45 3374 4500 Fax:+45 3374 4528.
Publication: 136 pages. Illustrated. English edition. 21,8 x 15,3. Paperback Design: Michael Jensen / K.Grafik
Distribution: Pork Salad Press (Nordic Region), Revolver Verlag, Archiv fur aktuelle Kunst (International)
Published by: The Danish Arts Agency, 3 Kongens Nytorv, DK – 1050 Copenhagen K; Pork Salad Press, Dannevirke Gade 2, 1th floor, DK – 1763 Copenhagen V, Archiv fur aktuelle Kunst, Jacobystrasse 28, D – 60385 Frankfurt am Main,
Financial support: The Danish Arts Council: The Committee for International Visual Art and The Committee for Visual Art. Augustinus Fonden.
Sponsors: Pioneer Denmark A/S. Peerless/Danish Sound Technology A/S. Bang & Olufsen ICEpower A/S. TNS Gallup Denmark. Dagbladet Politiken/Politikens Trykkeri. Dagbladet Berlingske Tidende/Avedore Avistryk/Dagbladet Information/Dagbladet Ringsted.
Collaborative partners: TV Bandeirantes, Sao Paulo, TV Cultura, Sao Paulo, The Danish Film Institute Workshop, Copenhagen, The National Workshops for Arts and Crafts, Copenhagen, The Danish Vice-Consulate, Sao Paulo, Fundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo.

Danish Pavilion at the Sao Paulo Biennial
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