Rhapsody and Still Life–
More than 20,000 identically shaped pieces make the the installation «Rhapsody» in Room VII. Each piece is hand painted, and is shaped as if a blue stream, from the window towards Vigeland’s Fountain. The same small hand painted pieces were used to make the installation «Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstandings» in Kunsthall Grenland in 2019. Even though the artist is using the same starting point, the final work creates a set of different perspectives for the spectator.
A prototype was produced in Porsgrunn, at the porcelain factory. This was used as a basis for the industrial production in China of the pieces. The colour spectrum shows silver, white, brown, and various shades of blue. The dark blue, cobalt, is historically related to Germany, China, and in Norway to both Porsgrunn, and Blaafarveverket at Modum.
From early on cobalt was mined, and it was an extremely expensive colour. Some time during the 19th century the synthetical ultramarine was invented. It became less expensive, and also more available, forcing cobalt mining companies, such as Blaafarveverket ,out of business. The mines closed for good in 1898.
The history of trade is connecting cities, countries, and continents together, and we find a similar multi-national and –cultural connection in the work «Rhapsody».
On a round table, neatly set, is a number of hand painted objects. They are made of porcelain, and are a both over sized dinner plates, meat pieces, and a pelvis. They have all various tattoos on them, which the artist has collected from former sailors. They would get a tattoo whenever in a port, somewhere far away from home, and they function as visual memories. For instance, only sailors who had sailed south of the African continent could get a tall ship tattoo on their chest or back, and thus prove they had been to some exotic place.
The installation takes its inspiration from Dutch still life from the 17th century. In these painting you will see objects of desire, expensive and exotic goods, spices, and in short they would illustrate the trade and exchange the Low Contries had with the far east at that time.
The still life of Lin Wang is complex and sometimes full of contrasting relationships. It is, perhaps, a wish to illustrate the historical exchange of both commercial and cultural goods. Still, if you look closer, there is something deeply disturbing. A piece of meat with tattoos. A bone, also with tattoos. An anchor with a spine. There is undoubtly a feeling of the Heimlich/Unheimlich in this scene.
Lin Wang is, in a subtle way, challenging our way of seeing. The better you look, the more you see. But that is not always for the better.