Music for Resurrected Atoms
With plant communication at the core of her research, the artist uses plant pigments to visualize ways for humans to reach new levels of understanding with the vegetal world. Researching chemical signals, acoustic vibrations and similarities between the genetic processes of humans and plants, Ödlund creates works on paper, paintings, and videos which become living things themselves in the body of her work. Past works feed future investigations and allow the artist to deepen various theories or methods which would bring us closer to her ultimate dream of symbiotic communication between the animal and vegetable kingdoms. For this exhibition we will be showing a series of new works on paper and canvas, as well as four seminal video works in the downstairs spaces.
The colours present in Ödlund’s works are soft and earthy, due to the utilization of plant pigments. This show has also inspired the artist to create new pigments, sending plants from her studio and garden in Stockholm to the Belgian producer Lutea, who has transformed them into raw artistic materials. This creates a form of non-formal hyperrealism in the works, as the artist is using the plants she is representing and that she is trying to communicate with. One can thus see the artistic process as a form of communication in itself. The idea of a plant’s life cycle, linked to that of human’s through the transformation of carbon, is embodied in this transformation of plant to pigment, as the plant has a second life as an artwork.
With a background in photography and electroacoustic music, Ödlund’s works often read as musical scores, investigating ways that acoustic waves can reveal patterns or facilitate the exchange of information. As electroacoustic notation shows how sound fills a given space rather than how the music is played on an instrument, the notation itself takes on mountainous, organic forms which are found throughout the works. There is a porosity between scientific, visual and musical forms of thinking, where tangible objects or bodies become musical waves, and vice versa. Acoustics also play a key role in her videos, which is exemplified in one work where the artist studies the way butterflies drum on plants to send signals. This video has inspired two paintings, in which the creative process can be understood as a sort of artistic synesthesia where sounds evoke colours and forms.
The life cycle of plants, as well as processes such as photosynthesis, are omnipresent in the works and often combined with elements linked to human DNA. This constructs the more scientific core of Ödlund’s works, in which she investigates ideas linked to the transfer of carbon atoms, electric impulses in both humans and plants, and brainwaves. These ideas manifest themselves through imagery of Tesla coils, diagrams of molecules and chemical symbols. Conductive materials such as aluminum are applied to the surface of paintings, and videos of electric loops between man and plant spread over the downstairs walls. The combination of diagrammatic thinking, images and music scores are ways of using images and sound to understand complex processes, motivated by the desire to be able to listen more closely to the world around us.