TORE and SIGRID
Nothing in this show can be said simply, not even its complexity. Sigrid Wallert, themultifaceted artist has had a long mercurial career that seems destined to become asubject of transhistorical examination in the near future. Her artistic journey, spanningseven decades, intertwined with her resolute pursuit of independence and self-expression,undoubtedly calls for an extensive monographic exploration. But this is the longhandapproach to every question and answer, or so it seems.
Familjelogistik, organised by her great grandson Tore Wallert, is not that kind of exhibition.It offers, instead, a shorthand into Sigrid’s life and work - and by extension into Tore’s own.Through a process of reduction, a relatively smaller set of marks abstract a larger piece ofmeaning. The meticulous sampling of artworks, chosen by Tore, creates a fragmentedexperience of genealogical significance: family mythologies are made of everything thatpossesses strong enough evocative power. Whether these are made from consciousmanoeuvres or from unconscious gaps and omissions, they offer perforations of truthswhere syntax decays.
There’s an element of naturalism in welcoming a life’s work as a record of the throes ofnature or society. It is likely to provoke a salutary dialogue and reflection on the entirecentury it belongs to. There’s also an element of fantasy, if the work lets us remove anyreference, cultural, historical or biographical and bypass citational practice altogether–which has relevance here. Because of the intimate premise of this exhibition, a meta-worldbetween the two is not necessary. The encounter between Tore and Sigrid can be stageddirectly. Even if the subjects of the show are individuals of a different century, both felt thenecessity of their themes and work - differently executed and thought out. Even if there isa question of religion, it is not entirely clear who’s the icon and the idol? Even if we mightrecognize similar motifs - who else could Tore be inspired by? And, even if they arguablymeet for the first time here.
For a great many things overdetermined this encounter beyond family: first, the bringingtogether of these two implies a great occasion and a time of celebration; second, thechosen period and place enhanced by cosmographic strangeness, is also the residuum ofsome religious order. The sacred nights of summer when everything can happen, when allworlds of the here, there and beyond mingle, when all the opposites have the exceptionalright to meet and fertilise each other. There we see different uses of the same weirdoprinciple of fate: the fruit never falls far from the tree. In other words, there is some actionof cutting through surfaces to a site that has perhaps no business being underneath. Whatis the future (the fruit) doing underneath the past (the tree)? The exhibition dauntlessly embraces ambiguity where it currently does not exist: incuratorial practice. The absence of extensive documentation about Sigrid’s life deliberatelyshuns the historical “aura,” fostering a destabilising environment where interpretations andimaginations can flourish freely. This approach, born from the perspective and theprerogative of Tore, an artist and a great grandson at the crossroads of both roles, isrooted in lived experience and childhood memories. In other words, where imaginationusually finds its bearings.
By intermingling Sigrid’s works with his own pictorial invocations, Tore’s conversation showelicits a sense of immediate gratification or significance in witnessing the evolution ofartistic ingenuity across different epochs. Yet, simultaneously, it poses a toughie for those who arenot privy to the intimate connections that underpin the exhibition’s fabric: What connectsthe creative essence of two generations of artists, woven into a genealogical tapestry ofexploration, if not family ties? And, how can we give more significance, or any significanceat all, to these ties when the very institution of family is being questioned and, at best,reinvented?
Both artists’ oeuvres maintain a transitory essence. Nonnarrative and nonlinear, theyeschew conventional notions of beginnings, middles, and ends. When shown side by side,they are granted a wild and unconventional extension into each other’s present andpresence. In her life, Sigrid traversed various art movements, mirroring her own physicalmovements across time and Europe. She lived in Stockholm, Rome, Öland and Ibiza. Today, her work emerges as a testament to her artistic inventiveness, and a record ofsurvival and commitment, a kind of selfless ’sticking to it’. In contrast, Tore erasesevidence of movement and time in his work with painstaking precision that allows him toreach a specific breaking point. This inflection point is deliberately shaped, forming a self-imposed Gaussian curve, wherein the vista on top reveals an irresistible blend ofresignation and acceptance. His work captures the essence of contemplation and sums up the timeless appeal of painting: old metrics inside a silence.
There are many systems of transference we can connect this to. Notably, Judaism’smatrilineal passage endows each child with a distinct privilege, while psychoanalysisestablishes a proxy for emotions to release other emotions. Artistic legacy traditionallyfinds its path through renowned figures in art history. Here we are confronted with apuzzling prospect. What if the discovery of the prophet was a private matter, secretedwithin the family?
Within this artistic dialogue, we are invited to explore the parallels and divergencesbetween these two artists’ representations of their subjective worlds. Tore’s interventioninto painting creates an intimately private space, mirroring the autonomy that Sigrid soughtall of her life. Spatial configurations, both on and off canvas, come to life, revealing theanimated nature of the works, steeped in spiritualism and fantasy, while painterly gesturesreveal their distinct attitudes and biographical influences. Amidst the exhibition, there is aninterplay between all these diverse spaces of sublimation. Two sculptural objects draw ourattention. Tore’s anodized flower-like lamp lights the scene of Sigrid’s painted ceramictable placed atop a pedestal. Despite their distinct characteristics, these works interlace,creating a visual bridge that connects Tore’s tangible world with Sigrid’s evocativepaintings. As we observe this installation, an invitation to consider a new semiotic systememerges: what if the fruit fell from the tree directly into a hole? The only method would beto cut away surface until we could see what was really inside. Probing the surface forsomething like a thin edge.