Act and Meaning
Lisa Jonasson (b. 1978) is educated at the Royal Institute of Arts in Stockholm (1999–2004). In conjunction with a student exhibition at Kulturhuset, Stockholm in 2003, her text-based posters were widely recognized. The works combined humor, community engagement, provocation and intriguing poetry. She received the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation’s Artist Award and arranged a biennial in her own name, The Lisa Jonasson Biennial, at various locations in Stockholm, Sweden. The linguistic aspect of Lisa Jonasson’s work has remained, but the written word has developed into comic strips and later to wordless paper collages.
In 2012, the solo exhibition Man’s Inner in Average at Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, presented Lisa Jonasson’s painstaking and richly detailed paper-cut-out collages. The swarming pictures were intuitively made with small pieces of cut-out and painted paper mounted with great precision. The technique and theme were developed in the first solo exhibition The Circle Must End at Galleri Magnus Karlsson in 2015. Here the collages were given three-dimensional parts and more distinct compositions.
In recent years she has worked with a number of public commissions before returning with the current exhibition Act and Meaning at the gallery.
The word meaning extends between signification and intention, act between drama and action. In my new work, the cut-out figures extend over curved surfaces, without even knowing that they enter the third dimension.
In the new works the three-dimensional parts are given more focus – both in carved elements and in backgrounds that are arched inwards and outwards. Lisa Jonasson describes the works as a division of bodies and surfaces. The bodies are carved in balsa wood, into a kind of anonymous objects with a purpose to carry the surface.
The bodies become my partners as the motifs grow. I carve and shape something that can carry the surface towards the viewer. The feeling is that I develop the possibility of my own images.
A series of works in the shape of books reconnects to Jonasson’s earlier text-based works and comic strips. Here, however, it is rather symbols, signs and information that brings to mind Egyptian murals and ancient narrative. The book spreads offer a promise of pages before and after what is unfolded right now. The story is not a whole, it both ’is’ and has a continuation. Something that in a way, is significant for Jonasson’s art in general — the images have a before and after, they continue in time and space.
I think of the creation of images as the writing’s zealous sibling, in which embodiment, form and meaning are impossible to distinguish. I think of cave paintings, whose moose are not depicted, but interpreted. The picture is a predictive spell with hope of good hunting luck. The cave painter’s execution, purpose or meaning, and also painting on the wall – it is not possible to discern a hierarchy, it is as if the very attempt to understand the work in parts is wrong. I think it is the peculiarity and potential of image creation that the act, meaning and product cannot be separated.