The Great Solar Eclipse 1868, Guntur, India. Dagmörker
November 12 – December 22, 2016
Galleri Riis, Stockholm
Christine Ödlund's second exhibition at Galleri Riis Stockholm contains fragments of possible visual explanations of fundamental scientific disciplines and phenomena.
An event that has come to play a major role for Ödlund is the eclipse that occurred in 1868 and which lead the way to the discovery of helium; a discovery made by the French astronomer Pierre Janssen. He is portrayed by Ödlund in an image with a streak of yellow which he saw in the sun's spectral lines in 1868 in Guntur. A streak that could later be identified as helium.
The disappearing light, so apocalyptic and frightening. In times when science could not provide people with explanations, there were a number of theories and myths linked to the sun suddenly disappearing. In China there was a legend of a winged dragon that devoured the sun. Many historical events have later been linked to eclipses in the actual course of events, as if to reinforce the mythical.
An example of a description of an eclipse which was later used to resolve a historical calendar problem was Homer's Odyssey. In the twentieth book:
"Ah, unfortunate men, what horror is this that has happened? Shrouded in night are faces and heads; to the knees it descends. See too crowded with ghosts is the porch, ghosts hurrying down to the darkness of Erebus. Out of heaven, withered and gone is the sun, and a poisonous mist is arising."
Astronomers have since been able to verify the time when this occurred. In this way, we are in contact with the past and the future. Homer's words can be linked to our timeline. The eclipse phenomenon is close to poetry. The word daydarkness is an entire novel. In Ödlund's interpretations of eclipses lay a sensitive quality, through a human scale which speaks of incredible phenomenon without shouting.
The periodic table is encompassed in Ödlund works, a system so incredibly graphically tangible and concrete. But, how can we look at and actually understand these elements? Ödlund strives to highlight and put on paper the impossible and much too large. The waves, the non-material phenomena: flows, sound and light. All this created with collage and drawing. Ödlund uses this technique for its immediacy to idea and thought.
Artistic freedom also allows images of something as impossible as Laplace's Demon. A mathematical idea noted by Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1814, an idea which isn't perceptible. The idea of a knowledge, or hypothetical intellect, as something that have seen and sees, and will see everything in the universe. Ödlund demonstrates this with abstract painting.
If her latest exhibition at the gallery, Music for Eukaryotes, was about the ability to transcend language barriers between people and plants, this exhibition addresses a barrier between the invisible and the visible. In playful images Ödlund develop a simple but refined imagery that relates to visualizing extensive processes as well as chemical and astronomical phenomena. What is the relationship between helium and hydrogen and the other? It's what builds the Universe.
Sound waves are often featured in Ödlund's different practices and so also in this exhibition. The sound and the image of the sound. Even the sun has sound waves as the sun oscillates. How does a solar eclipse sound and how can it be portrayed? The walls of the gallery contain an associative web of collages and ink-laden images.
Making artistic freedom give form to the formless.