Catalogue text for the 27:th Pontevedra Biennale, Spain. 2002.


Mats Stjernstedt: Repeated patterns

-"It repeats itself!", the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, would have been able to exclaim, looking
at any work at all by Gunilla Klingberg, but without accusing the artist of a dearth of ideas or of the ability
to renew herself. If in addition Freud had been able to step into Gunilla Klingberg's more recent, more spatial
work series "Nonstop Unfold", he would into the bargain have seen a clear, coherent vision of how his theses
about repetition and "das Unheimliche", can be given a smart manifestation. Here repetition has been syste
matized in a variety of artistic idioms: in sculpture; with the aid of projected video; and in the form of an eerie,
penetrating sound that makes its presence felt long before the moment the visitor steps into the space.
Together the works contribute to a highly unique, poisonous atmosphere that seems to weigh heavily on all
the rooms where the works have been shown so far. The atmosphere is conjured up and reinforced by the
hallucinatory qualities of the works, the kind that can make any visitor feel dizzy, even making him or her
mistrust his or her perceptual abilities for a while.

"Nonstop Unfold" is a compilation of works, all commenting on and experimenting with the notion of visual
and acoustic feedback. Each work is built up with the more unglamorous design of everyday life, which in turn
makes it very simple for the observer to find his or her own position in - and connection to the space.
In the work "Transtube System", ordinary rice-paper lamps, acquired from the internationally renowned depart
ment store IKEA have certainly been mounted on the ceiling, but not on cords, nicely hanging vertically
down towards the floor. Instead the artist has arranged them in a considerably less traditional formation, into
a kind of Medusa's Head of organic lamp forms attached head to tail seemingly without a beginning and end.
Gunilla Klingberg is presumably the only artist capable of transforming certainly worthy, but quite design-neutral
ceiling fittings into giant amorphous forms, into mere ectoplasm, not spewed uncontrollably over the
walls, but geometrically floating in the air. Adjacent to this a loudspeaker with a built-in amplifier is linked up,
in front of which a microphone has been placed. If the frequency is right, thanks to small effect boxes used
by guitar players, they begin singing in time: a monotone, lamenting duet - again - without beginning or end,
which pursues the visitor through the room and throughout the whole visit. The audio work "Feedback
Soundtrack", as well as effectively stalking any visitor, also functions as just a soundtrack to the video work
"Unfold", a film that has been shot inside a furniture department store and which consists of a slow processi
on past its kitchen interiors, bedroom suites, kitchen paraphernalia and piles of rugs. Of course nothing in
Gunilla Klingberg world is any longer what it pretends to be. "Unfold"'s documentary-filmed material has under-gone
a radical transformation which in an instant turns the familiar world into an unfamiliar one.

In her art Gunilla Klingberg has consistently worked with comments on commercial information, on the cor-porate
advertisement in the form of logos we are used to encountering every day in the urban environment,
in media, and which, almost virally, invade our private dwellings to the extent that we no longer pay attention
to them. The work series "All lost in the supermarket" (1997 – 2000) is a major integrated serial work which
demonstrates the artist's repeated, subtle terror attacks: in the work "Sparspace" for instance she started with
the grocery chain Sparliv's logo (1999), a project that lived on in "Sparloop", a video animation where other
logotypes such as Lidl and Aldi also were. Gunilla Klingberg seems to have noted how the props of materialism
attempt to transform individuals into consumers - in fact she might perhaps be the most effective disarmer of
this image world, annexing it, and with the aid of computer graphics, manipulating it, turning it finally into
decorative elements with decidedly psychedelic features. Her material is however not in the least highbrow
bon chic, bon genre stuff but more basic requirements and quite everyday things. That certain logos are used
rather than others has practical than ideological-aesthetic reasons, for example the fact that the artist has long
and regularly shopped in these places herself, or simply that such supermarket outlets are found close to the
exhibition space, or that some particular supermarket more or less constantly has attractive special offers.
Force of habit and the ritual patterns of everyday life seem to play a crucial and psychological role here; the
kind of habit that almost anaesthetizes insight into how personal choice can be exercised, in a state which,
taken to the extreme, one could compare with hypnosis or hallucination.

Gunilla Klingberg's psychedelic animations have a family relationship with the more randomly formed
kaleidoscope pattern, the strict geometry of Moorish patterning, the Persian carpet, and the ritual painting of
Hinduism, the so-called mandala. The last of these is a picture which exists solely to function as a conduit for
the observer's concentration so it can immerse itself in an altered, suspended state. It seems, in the same way as
a Klingberg animation, to offer a random place of refuge parallel with the existing world, a kind of by-way or
temporary lay-by alongside the excessively trafficked arteries of the mind. All these repeated patterns,
Klingbergs geometrical animations and posters included, seem to demonstrate a structure that follows its own
logic. Sol Lewitt, another person who took a keen interest in the structure of structures, however meant that as
an artist one could sometimes manage to take a quite illogical idea to its logical conclusion. The work of art is
thereby permitted to twist the familiar in its various idioms from being an elegant and beautiful object in its
own right, so that it is later metamorphosed into something completely different. Gunilla Klingberg's work too
keeps on showing us that - repeatedly.

Mats Stjernstedt - director of Index, Stockholm.