Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, approx. 493 x 537 x 391 cm. (Magasin III production)

Aether & Einstein / Magasin III / 2016
Artist Statement

In the exhibition Aether & Einstein I am looking at natural science from different perspectives, suggesting that science and metaphysics are not only a dichotomy but involves a wider spectrum of interrelated phenomena, and that art is a valid tool for presenting these matters. The title is partly a poetic way of describing this. It also points to the concept of ether/aether with its sliding meanings whether it is used in theosophy, physics or daily language.

In the exhibition there are two central pieces pointing in these different directions; Xylem Floem and Astral Flight Adapter. Xylem Floem (the transport systems for water, nutrients and chemical information in plants) is a large plant installation where I am conducting an acoustic experiment on the root systems of the plants, referring to research in bioacoustics and evolutionary biology where tests on maize plants confirms that plants can communicate and respond acoustically with high frequent clicks produced in the root system. I am exposing roots to sound with the frequency around 220 Hz in separated water filled containers attached with contact microphones The plant roots are recorded and the results (if any) are to be analysed during the exhibition period.

The other installation, titled Astral Flight Adapter is placed in the opposite axis. Based on a small paper model, made with a center shape that could be read as the spiral of an inner ear, the five-meter-high construction still has the light feeling of paper and cardboard. This corresponds with the intent of the model as an imaginative apparatus, listening for signals, open to other forms of communication, from the plants or from parallel dimensions.

Placed around the two central installations are drawings, paintings, videos and sound. Different understandings of plant life are presented through scientific research, modified into musical scores with the chemical language of plants transposed to sound. Nature studies of flora with plant pigments and various mappings of plant perception including an acoustic pseudo scientific plant experiment from the 70s. The time-laps microscope video of ferns in motion together with a magnetic, inorganic dance of iron filings are scaling the elements down to particle physics in works like Cloud Chamber and The War of the Worlds, where the subatomic particles in motion and interaction collides with the invisible forces of occult chemistry. Results of the unconventional methods of exploring microcosm are present in Ockulta Legeringar (Occult Alloys) with symbols from Occult Chemistry (1908), by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater. This composition is made of elements in the periodic table and organized as a graphical score. Interpreted as a recipe, it would make a toxic highly radioactive concoction.

By tracing these ideas I have come across esoteric and other trans-disciplinary fields like theosophy. I have found interest in the key figures, the impact their work has been on the legacy of modernism and cultural currents until this day. In these works I am using different ways of seeking knowledge, whether it is scientific empirical, estimative mathematical or clairvoyant theosophical. I find my creativity in the cross connections and gaps.

Albert Einstein once said that there are two ways to live; either everything is a miracle, or nothing is. I have a strong sense that these are not the only two options. In fact, I am convinced that these are not the only two options.

Christine Ödlund, Stockholm 2016


Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, approx. 493 x 537 x 391 cm. (Magasin III production)
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, approx. 493 x 537 x 391 cm. (Magasin III production)
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, approx. 493 x 537 x 391 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, approx. 493 x 537 x 391 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Photo: Christian Saltas.
Cloud Chamber, 2014–2016, Pencil on paper, quadriptych in 32 parts, each panel 232 x 157.5 cm.
Ockulta Legeringar, 2016 / 1 of 2 / Ink on paper / 120 x 120 cm.
Ockulta Legeringar, 2016 / 2 of 2 / Ink on paper / 120 x 120 cm.
Antimateria / Antimatter, 2013 / Ink, water-soluble pencil and pencil on paper, 76 x 56 cm.
Världarnas Krig / The War of the Worlds / 2013 / Gouache, ink and pencil on paper 114 x 221,5 cm.
Acid Rock, 2014, Pencil on paper, 147 x 188 cm.
Världarnas Krig / The War of the Worlds / 2013 / Gouache, ink and pencil on paper 114 x 221,5 cm.
Aspects of Plant and Man (2016)
Pigment from stinging nettle, tutsan, mahogany, indigo, buckthorn, madder and acrylic binder on paper / 77,5 x 59,5 cm each
Nahuku, 2016, Pigment and acrylic binder on canvas, 297.5 x 205 cm.
Plant Perception 1, 2015, Pigment and acrylic binder on canvas, 297.5 cm x 205 cm.
Plant Perception 2, 2015, Pigment and acrylic binder on canvas, 297.5 cm x 205 cm.
Nahuku, 2016, Pigment and acrylic binder on canvas, 297.5 x 205 cm.
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, approx. 493 x 537 x 391 cm. (Magasin III production)
Aether & Einstein, Installation view, Magasin III, 2016
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm. (Magasin III production)
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Colored Light in Far-Red Eyes (In Ten Parts), 2015-2016, Ten stained glass windows in two frames, 145 x 145 cm.
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed Media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm. (Magasin III production)
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Cryptogami, 2016
Time-lapse video, 24 min, loop
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Xylem Floem, 2016, Mixed media, 436 x 498 x 299 cm.
Photo: Christian Saltas.
Colored Light in Far-Red Eyes (In Ten Parts), 2015–2016, Ten stained glass windows in two frames, 145 x 145 cm each.
Colored Light in Far-Red Eyes (In Ten Parts), 2015–2016, Ten stained glass windows in two frames, 145 x 145 cm each.
Astral Flight Adapter, 2016, Mixed media, 537 x 493 x 391 cm.


Aether & Einstein


Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art
Stockholm, 2016

In 2016, Magasin III presents an extensive solo exhibition by artist and composer Christine Ödlund. Many of her artworks challenge the limits of our senses and give physical form to phenomena that otherwise remain invisible to the naked eye or even the scientific microscope.

Ödlund’s artworks draw inspiration from fields such as theosophy, synesthesia and biology. For example, she has researched how plants, specifically stinging nettles, interact and communicate with one another at the Royal Institute of Technology’s Department of Organic Chemistry in Stockholm. During the course of this exhibition, Ödlund will expand her study of sensory reactions, to a greater variety of plant species.

The exhibition presents new sculptures, works on paper, and video works alongside large-scale site-specific installations with live plants that visitors are able to step into. These various elements combine to create an all-encompassing experience. In what could be seen as a laboratory that cross-references science and esoteric knowledge, Ödlund opens up a holistic world where detailed studies of natural phenomena can be seen from very different perspectives.

Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art



Magasin III: Catalogue

Aether & Einstein, 2016
Publisher: Skira editore S.p.A.

Director's Foreword by David Neuman, Museum Director Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art
Christine Ölund: Manifesting the Invisible, essay by Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Professor Yale University
Conversation between Christine Ödlund and Richard Julin, interview by Richard Julin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art
© 2022 Christine Ödlund