To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.
OSL contemporary is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works with Kristian Skylstad. Entitled ‘Jaded Inept’, the exhibition space is filled with surface-wise unrelated artefacts. Skylstad seems bent on pushing the synthetic capabilities of the exhibition as medium to the point where its congruence possibly snaps, where it seizes to function as medium, as the container of something - one thing. Because what holds the notion of medium together is the application of it, its subordination to the purpose of communicating something. Lacking a visual or thematic coherence, a subjugating whole, the show follows that the separate works - videos, assemblages, sculptures, drawings, readymades - all get conflated with the exhibition-form under the category of a total «installation».
The exhibition is the installation, and any sub-categorization only serves to confuse and create un-needed friction when trying to work out what is at stake. And «installation» is the operative category here only by default, because it has the expansive prowess to encompass the truly eclectic. In this sense the medium of installation embodies Hegel's dialectic structure of becoming; it mediates conflict and alleviates the frustration of choosing by neutralizing the distinction (either/or) intrinsic to choice.
This proposal takes as its premise that anything could actually be made to fit within the structure at hand, the installation, because the installation is an inexhaustibly pliable phenomenon, like existence itself. So any choices made regarding what to include and what not to include are actually just pseudo-choices with no bearing on the outcome, because the outcome is whatever is there when the lights are turned on. There are no formal characteristics to recognize it by. The artist performs the act of making choices, but you cannot trace the pattern of this choice-making back to a consistent self. The contradictions are too many. Since the expansive logic of installation dictates that you get to have your cake and eat it too, installation is a negation of self. By suspending choice as an action that has a sedimentary effect on you, that rules out an opposite course of action, you make the formation of an identity, of selfhood, impossible.
The outcome is simply the synthesis of the choices made up until the scheduled event - that is the exhibition - takes place. This synthesis is not in any way capable of transcending the mechanistic of its own unfolding as a generic event in time. It is what it is. It could've been different, not because it wasn't determined to end up this way, but because it wouldn't have mattered, which is obviously a painful admission to make since it jeopardizes your investment. But we need to reconcile with the pointlessness of art lest we risk inflate our own foundation.
This is Kristian Skylstad’s second solo show with the gallery. Other recent projects includes NoPlace at Armory Show NY, screening of the documentary Violence of Silence at Oslo International Filmfestival, book launch by Michalis Gennarakis and he's currently working on a translation of Clouds Are Gathered On the Knife to Norwegian for publishing. He just received a residency at 18th street art center, Los Angeles from OCA.
Press Release II
Why does the ocean make people cry? Is it an act of giving of ourselves to the ocean so that we can better connect with it? Why would we want to connect with it? I think its the same as with childhood, where whatever that signifies your childhood, if you were brought up near the woods for example or went to the theater a lot, whenever you're close to these phenomena, you smell them or something, as an adult you'll get flashbacks, happy flashbacks. You'll feel sad and nostalgic but also invigorated. You feel drawn to them.
I think that the ocean pulling tears out of our eyes is a related emotion. But it's deeper seated. It's about the childhood of life itself. The pull toward the ocean transcends the individual, that's why the response is physical - tears.
Bas Jan Ader sailing off to sea was simply a retraction. That was what all the crying was about: reconnecting with the ocean on a phenomenological level - salt water and salty tears. He wasn't sad. The ocean was just pulling him back in. Off shore Ader metamorphosed into a billion bacteria that was sweeped off the deck by a wave. His boat sunk. He didn't need it any more.
Now Here , Kristian Skylstad
We find ourselves on the table nude me and Gertrude. Loose fragments of new beginnings. Self-made puzzles beneath our ties, our ankles and our feet. Baby bells in discarded memories. We were supposed to be somewhere else today I suddenly remember. Today aborted. I try to reach for my IBM Thinkpad on the shelf in the corner of the room to check todays date and schedule, but it´s too far away and my arm is too short. I be mmm. Tomorrow wasted. The puzzle is self- made or I should rather say Gertrude made it to me as a birthday present. Green liquid pulsing through the underground beneath me. I stretch over to solve a problem beneath Gertrudes vagina. Nude lady resting in cartoon shadow. While I reach my shoulder snaps and I scream. My back a desert. She caresses me with soft movements and I feel the hair on my arm rising. Yesterday ok. Every time she touches me it hurts a bit and I don´t know why, cause I do love her. Skin thin fragile facing. We decide to jump off the table and rest on the floor for a while where a stable of books are resting. Words blur when pages turned. I read for her still naked both, with her pale face on my tanned arm from recent travels. White powder pounding bloodstream. We haven´t slept all night. Future seems like moon arising. Anywhere else seems like a prison. Heart a crest in dirty moist. I got rich from cutting pieces of downloaded pictures together into one picture, print them and glue them together. Youths stronghold on a river. My last solo I sold ten pieces and that will give me the opportunity to travel to fifty five countries over a timespan of four years, though I need to rest in a hotel room now and then to download further. Green eyes raging forehead. I never take pictures of places I go to. Ash from volcano threat to planet. It seems like recording stuff destroys the moments I´m in. Movement a millimetre. Turning memories into numbers. Math spended on measuring capture. But the Thinkpad looks tempting and is for me to reach but I can not do so with Gerterude on my shoulder. Silhouettes of arab men tempting. I admire its potentiality on distance and rest. Muscles now like folded paper. She moves down to my penis and fellates it teasingly. Gurgles, spits and leaves the lips. I have saved up for this moment for three months in sylibacy. Into a pit on porcelain. Then I light a cigarette and sigh pretending to enjoy the moment though I know I´ll only appreciate the memory. Smell distracts the sound from breathing. She sits down and opens the folder where the sketches for a new beginning are resting. Invisible crowds googles self. I feel depressed and empty suddenly jealous on my work from keeping her attention. Window large and exit dear. I remember well Final Fantasy 7 cause in those sixty-five hours playing it I didn´t need anyone. Computer game unaccesible. Though now I´m not entertained by anything only anyone. TV broken. It´s not the visuality of people that makes me curious it´s their potentiality. Knee ok but sometimes clicks. Haven´t eaten in several days, that´s not from the heroin we have ingested but rather from being so excited from seeing each other again. Stomach fine except when filled. I got sick last summer and unattractive. Cancer coming crawing fear. She rests her chin on the palm of her hand and I turn fascinated again and I forget my fair and jealousy. Language broken and not spoken. Last night she emptied from her mouth half a gallon of red wine into my bellybutton. System laughable matter now. I formed the wine into a circle on a piece of paper. Laughable matter systematized. She cut the paper into small pieces and turned it into the puzzle we didn´t finish. The idea to swear is not here. ”I would love for you to leave again just too let my older self miss you, meet you again and kiss you my dear,” she says. Limboqueen a chain on foot to keep the soldier a slave in skyway. I can´t answer cause my only crawing is to stay. Fatherface polished almost demolished. But I smile back anyway to let her keep her fantasy. The only thing left is drapery and pillows. I also like to miss but I look upon it as sacrifice. Pounding perfect in confused nightmares beautiful. Though wandering pushes me into a state I can only describe as being born again and I realize she can not be everything. A savage beauty wandering highways. The thing that bothers me the most is that her breath and her voice is intertwined I can not record her voice on a tape recorder and so bring her with me. Sad and tormented singing lulls. So we are stuck there in the middle of all of this but not mourning it. Looking, seeking, swallowing, sampling,. She takes my hand and guides me to the stairs that are leading down to the bedroom. Meditate the immediate. I remember the other, the one I did not touch. She was walking walking walking softly softly on soft soft sand. Something missed to preserve the now I didn´t see then but I could imagine. Simple pane, The last time it happened I sat in an internet café for seven straight hours studying old masters. Heroes organized. I couldn´t do for one month, totally paralysed, my head totally Gerterude. Then again we meet again. She bites her lips and folds them over my mouth. Meet again again. I melt and squeeze her bottom into my groin, her neck twisted. A gain. Our toes are bound together by small but powerful muscles. To meet again. She cuts loose and sits down on the edge of the bed sobbing softly waiting for caress. Again. I recide and disappear into a lonely memory. Jungle jumped us made us hungry. She stops her sobbing cause no effect. Served by busy languagejunkies. She was not there and she regrets that her presence would destroy the melancholy of reality. Rainbow hit the sea there shining kids in background darkened smiling, dancing, drowning. She needs walls and fireplace while I need noplace. Worthless yeah oh yeah so worthless. She opens her mouth and says: ”nothing that matters matters.” Narratives and meaning. My pulse starts beating and my limbs are twitching. Scattered and screaming. All that is and all that were suddenly are reduced to mold. Scolded. Empty she looks at me curious for answers. Burned by beast of immediate belonging. I don’t´know what to say but I say it anyway. ”Now is crawing.” She wants more and more and more and I can give her everything. Lame duck dining. We move to the kitchen to distract the disappointment of the magic lost in moments leaved. Wounded lamb lies on grill. She sits on the bench in my kitchen, her butt squeezed and it gives me an erection. Meat. She strokes my chin and grabs my hair and plays with it . I would like to try to eat human flesh. Then she sits down on the floor so cold not even noticing playing Chrono Cross on PSP. Just to feel the power. She asks me: ”Do you think we´ll ever forget this place, this moment?” It doesn`t need to belong to anyone. ”We will never forget this place, this moment,” I answer. Just a single piece of human flesh. ”We`ll forget it eventually,” she answers. Sometime.