Critics’ Picks

Liv Bugge, PLAY (detail), 2019, 16mm transferred to HD video, dimensions variable. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger.

Liv Bugge, PLAY (detail), 2019, 16mm transferred to HD video, dimensions variable. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger.


Liv Bugge

Marabouparken Konsthall
Löfströmsvägen 8
September 19–November 24, 2019

In close-up, a hand insistently models a piece of clay. The soft shape alters under the pressure, as one imprint is immediately exchanged for another. On an opposite screen, in Liv Bugge’s Instructions to make use of an already present itch, 2017, diapositives of fossils loop unendingly, their material inscriptions seeming to float, unmoored. Meanwhile, anonymous human voices on an accompanying audio track struggle to empathize with the paleontological objects––or are they speaking to each other?

The work reflects the viewer’s own spectatorship, framing the central concerns of the Norwegian artist’s exhibition. Devoted to the concept of storage, from museums to prisons, “Let the Tail Talk” negotiates the biopolitics of modernity’s main logistical means: custody. Throughout the gallery, human hands, dog faces, and trilobites appear as moving images or sculptures. Subjected to an archival usefulness, they are dispossessed from reproduction, their activity amended according to their captivity.

The Other Wild and To accept theirs, to make it mine, to wish it for myself, both 2018, draw out the link between the fate of paleontological objects and human incarceration: The former presents a group of fossils being deselected from a museum collection as the institution relocates, while the latter features a group of male inmates reenacting the mundane routines that keep their imprisoned bodies alive. PLAY, 2019, seems to provide a key to ending this sleepless annihilation. Dogs move freely in and out of the frames created by a group of wooden boxes with television screens, nonhierarchically distributed in the space. Their locomotion is not despite the format––rather, the format is despite their movements, which are independent of the shapes’ rigidity and disinterested in the logistics of confinement.