Ina Blom

  • Pierre Huyghe, Variants, 2021–, still from the real-time simulation component of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising a scanned forest, generative mutations and sounds, intelligent camera, environmental sensors, animals, plants, microorganisms, and materialized mutations: synthetic and biological material aggregate.


    IT IS NOT AN ESSENTIAL ISLAND, only an accidental one. When Pierre Huyghe found yet another occasion to intervene in a natural ecology, he conjured up an artwork that would not only be placed on an island; it would also in some senses be an island. Located at Kistefos Museum sculpture park, an hour’s drive from Oslo, Huyghe’s island differs from our habitual image of an autonomous landmass completely surrounded by water. It is a chaotic piece of woodland that juts out into a slow bend in the river and separates from the mainland only when the water is high; when the water is low, the land bridge


    TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SEVEN PAGES, column after column of digits so tiny and so densely packed that, even with my reading glasses on, I have to use a magnifying glass. Three sets of numbers in each column, eleven columns on each page. This is the principal part of Florian Hecker: Halluzination, Perspektive, Synthese, the catalogue produced in the aftermath of sound artist Florian Hecker’s 2017 exhibition at Vienna’s Kunsthalle Wien. Leafing through the volume, I am lost in what feels like an endless, undulating expanse of ciphers I cannot possibly hope to make sense of, abstractions more brutal

  • Ulla Wiggen, Vägledare (Microcircuit), 1967, acrylic on wooden panel, 27 1⁄2 × 27 1⁄2".


    ULLA WIGGEN’S PAINTINGS ARE ENIGMAS. Flat, dense, and obsessive, her mid-’60s depictions of circuitry and electronics resemble diagrams, but instead of informational clarity they express an arcane strangeness. New York audiences received an introduction to the Swedish artist earlier this year, when a selection of her paintings appeared in “Vista View,” an exhibition curated by Caleb Considine at Galerie Buchholz. Here, art historian Ina Blom elucidates the early context of Wiggen’s work, teasing out its affinities and entanglements with modernism’s ongoing mediation of bodies and machines.



    Curated by Marit Paasche and Esther Schlicht

    Amplifying the surge in attention to textile art in general and to the politics and aesthetics of twentieth-century women weavers in particular, Hannah Ryggen’s exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle will include approximately twenty-five monumental tapestries she created between 1926 and 1970. Born in 1894, the Swedish-Norwegian artist used her slow medium to communicate quick, sharp socialist perspectives on the key political events of her day, such as the rise of fascism and militarism in the 1930s, the atrocities of World War II as she experienced them


    TO WATCH a great many Ed Atkins videos over a short period of time is to become somewhat desensitized to the theoretical-poetic verbiage that often flows through their soundtracks. Eloquently phrased yet hard to follow, these soliloquies at times come across as almost parodic pastiches of decades of Chris Marker–style voice-overs in the field of video art. All that intelligent reflection to the beat of ever-changing associative splicing: Does anyone ever really listen, really give it the attention it seems to demand? Still, some of his phrases stick. They stick because they come across as

  • Marie-Louise Ekman, At Home with a Lady, 1973, oil and faux fur on canvas, 19 3/4 × 23 5/8".


    To enter painter and filmmaker Marie-Louise Ekman’s world is to find oneself in a version of the Swedish sexual revolution that is at once decadent, poetic, stylish, biting, and funny. Ekman’s 1977 film Mamma, pappa, barn (Mother, Father, Child) presents a nuclear family weighed down by visual chaos that would do any installation artist proud; in the middle of it all, the titular young child fights for her freedom. The artist’s crisp, cartoonlike paintings in sugary colors, long ignored by critics, deftly question social relations as if from the inside of designs appropriated

  • “Aldo Tambellini: Black Matters”

    Bringing together painting, handpainted slides, film, video, poetry, and sound, Aldo Tambellini created pulsating dark spaces centered on a multidimensional concept of “blackness.” At once a negation of light and visibility in art, an evocation of racial violence and civil rights struggles, and an imagination of the nonhuman sphere of astrophysics, the artist’s work plunges you into a realm where politics is as much a matter of sensation and affect as perception and knowledge. This career retrospective—featuring eighty-six works made between 1950

  • Torbjørn Rødland, Pads, 2010–14, C-print, 23 5/8 × 29 7/8".


    WE’VE SEEN IT BEFORE: the hazy glow, the casual perversity, the entire picture made punctum. But we hadn’t seen it before photographer TORBJØRN RØDLAND took up the lens more than twenty years ago, capturing scenes of allure, sex, style—and we’ve never seen it quite like this, in strange focus, unsettlingly backlit, infused with tactility and dread. Despite a recent resurgence of interest in the artist’s work, it remains elusive to critics and viewers alike. In the pages that follow, INA BLOM, who has known Rødland for nearly his entire career, reflects on the artist’s deft touch—and on the uncanny connectivity that surfaces in his photographs.

    I CLEARLY REMEMBER the first work I saw by Torbjørn Rødland. It was a photograph that many others at the time also saw, and that drifted to the top of the local pictorial surf and stayed afloat for a while. This was in the early 1990s, but even today it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what the image, In a Norwegian Landscape 2, 1993, is about. It shows a clearing surrounded by dismal fir woods and, in the middle, a young hipster type—the photographer himself—wearing black jeans and a black suit jacket over a cardigan and button-down shirt. His hair is long and blond; dark aviator sunglasses

  • Torbjørn Rødland, Nudist no. 6, 1999, C-print, 15 3/4 × 19 3/4".

    “Torbjørn Rødland: Sasquatch Century”

    “What do pictures want?” This provocative question, famously posed by W. J. T. Mitchell to make us reflect on our abiding tendency to attribute quasi-magical agency to images, seems particularly relevant when beholding the uncanny, even importunate vitality of Torbjørn Rødland’s photographs. To look for their meaning somehow seems less urgent than to find out why they are here and what they plan to do with us. Answers may perhaps be found at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, in the artist’s midcareer survey of seventy select works from the past twenty-one years. In Rødland’s

  • Sonja Krohn, Kjemp ikke alene mot krise (Don’t Fight Against the Crisis on Your Own), 1975, silk screen on paper, 29 1/2 x 22 1/2". From “Hold stenhårdt fast på greia di: Norwegian Art and Feminism 1968–89.”

    Hold Stenhårdt Fast På Greia Di: Norwegian Art and Feminism 1968–89”

    It may seem surprising that Norway—a deeply feminist country—has never had a major survey addressing the impact of second-wave feminism on its art production. Yet it is perhaps fortuitous that this exhibition on just that subject is happening at a moment when antifeminist sentiment in the Norwegian public sphere seems to be increasing and actual knowledge about the movement’s diverse positions is fading. With a title that defies translation (literally, “hold on to your thing”), this show will span thirty

  • Still from Frank Gillette’s Symptomatic Syntax, 1981, video, color, sound, 27 minutes 20 seconds. Photo: Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.


    THE ONLY INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE thing is water. It must be water, unless it is some other translucent fluid that catches the light and puts objects in motion. Not that the movement is very dramatic. Whatever natural phenomena are caught on this videotape—ferns? Small buds? A butterfly wing? Torn petals?—seem to feel no obligation to provide any sense of action, much less to explain themselves. On first impression they come across as minor contingencies on a picture plane. A tangle of billowing red and white shapes remain locked in a vibrating standstill until interrupted by a brief

  • Agnès Geoffray, Night 3, 2005, digital C-print, 11 3/4 x 16 7/8". From the series “Nights,” 2005–2007. From “Salon der Angst.”

    “Salon der Angst”

    Face your fears. This imperative is clearly the rationale behind “Salon der Angst,” Nicolaus Schafhausen’s inaugural exhibition as director of Kunsthalle Wien. At this moment of grave economic and ecological crisis, the show is designed to target the affective dimensions of our attempts to handle a present and a future that are rife with a whole new range of insecurities. A host of artists, including Saâdane Afif, Didier Fiuza Faustino, Gerard Byrne, and Zin Taylor, will explore angst and its related symptoms, such as phobia, panic, and depression,