6 oktober 2014 – 9 january 2015
OLAI KYRKOGATA 43, Norrköping, Sweden

The installation White Light II was displayed in an empty store in the centre of the city during fall and winter. It was shown in the frame of the exhibition "Hem Längtan/Home Sickness" at Norrköping Art Museum, curated by Helena Scragg.

Norrköping Art Musuem

Review (in Swedish)

Ågren and Hegardt’s art often begins with interiors that are in various states of change. Where these changes will end is left open, for the most part, since the works capture a process that has suddenly stopped, or perhaps merely taken a pause in its evolution. The artists are less interested in depicting a final, fully evolved state than in proposing a more dynamic relationship to the rules of the game by which we perceive space. The result is a sort of dissolution of the established conventions of what is normal or common in everyday life, what is true and what is false.

In the installation White Light, a series of familiar objects plucked from a typical home seem to be caught in a state of levitation, and drawn toward an increasingly intense point of white light. In addition to its literal meaning, the term “white light” has several idiomatic connotations, including the use of methamphetamine or the light sometimes associated with a near-death experience.

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates gives us the well-known Allegory of the Cave, in which a group of people sit imprisoned in a cave with their backs to the entrance. Their only experience of the world outside is through the play of shadows cast on the cave wall by whatever passes by the mouth of the cave. The cave analogy is meant to describe the distinction between the world of the senses and the world of ideas: what we perceive in the realm of the senses (inside the cave) is merely an incomplete interpretation of the reality that exists in the idea realm.

Like the use of amphetamines or a brush with death, and with perhaps greater urgency for the general public, art can open up possibilities for reinterpreting all sorts of boundaries. In this way, Ågren and Hegardt’s white light is not meant to illuminate the cave and reveal the underlying reality; here it becomes instead a medium that allows an alternative articulation of time and space. In many ways the genius loci of the gallery site is its position in the midst of a transition or passage between different conditions and places—between work and leisure, between art and life. By dissolving the contours of spatial articulation that distinguish one state from the next, Ågren and Hegardt break down the inherent dichotomy between them. This is not a matter of uniting contradictory concepts but rather exploiting the space between them. Somewhere between on the way out toward the light at the end of the tunnel and on the way down into the darkness, a moment of opportunity appears in which an entirely different organization is possible. What we make of that opportunity is another matter.

Markus Degerman



Photo: Brita Nordholm