Ida Ekbald is a young Norwegian artist whose work, at first glance, might seem to have fairly conventional formal concerns. Clearly discarded and appropriated materials are either submerged in pavement-like, coloured slabs or assembled into rickety structures. The sculptures are laid out as if they are being displayed 1000 years from now, as evidence of our super-abundant society, implying, in our minds at least, some unnamed catastrophe.
Such work brings to mind the recent debate around the somewhat exhausted notion of utopia. Here is an artist who finally seems willing to put this idea to rest. What we are presented with instead is the anthropology of the object. Their skeletal remains, raggedy and broken, unearthed for future viewers and academicians to puzzle over.
However there is an interesting twist to this story. Ekblad treats her objects to a contemporary reinterpretation. Within the detritus we find discarded bits of musical instruments, while not a dominant presence, enough to warrant attention. Ekblad performed with the sculptures at the opening of the exhibition, reanimating them, giving them a new function, reminding us that nothing is ever lost, just reinterpreted, reconstituted, a power which we hold. This idea is reinforced by the onomatopoeic beat-inducing titles of the work; Brassy Gong (2010) or The L, The LL, The Lapis Lazuli (2010). These titles are in turn stripped apart and reworked into poems to accompany her shows. There is no interest here in the object as a static form, existing in of itself in a narrow form of definition or illustration. Instead there is a fascination with how unknown future interpretation might affect the historical reading of our age.
Vibrancy of the L The L, The LL, The Lapis Lazuli Unearthing the Ferrum, the Mercury, the Copper Be-bop Be-Bop Bop-Bopper Organ Intervention Hammer twist Hammer turn Attention shell and limestone Attention Soaking Groan Gong Gong enter the Brassy Gong Echo the hi-hat cymbal The rim and the head Gong at once Mental liquefaction of Iron Showery, slimy, smiley Steel Oiling the drum machine wheel Broom the wrinkled prism of glass Bloom scrapyard netherwold Mutate into Baby BOOM only later to be split apart Sonic Violence Read Lead suh-MENT Burial