21 April 2012

Elin Melberg: What's mine is yours to borrow

What's mine is yours to borrow
Elin Melberg
Tou Scene, Stavanger

I struggle to find the words to describe this magical exhibition. This is one of the art experiences that has left me almost shocked with awe. The sculptures, the setting, the experience through the interactions with the visitors make this an exhibition you just can not miss out.

In "What's mine is yours to borrow" Elin Melberg presents three large boxes about 2 metres high, oval or mandorla shaped. All are hollow, one you can only peek into, while two of them you can even stand inside. All sculptures are placed in their own dark hall, where the only light is set on the sculpture.

Elin Melberg: What's mine is yours to borrow
The first sculpture is covered by red, plastic flowers, and from the inside a mass of glossy flower paperclips are bulging out from the door.

Elin Melberg: What's mine is yours to borrow
The second sculpture is covered by mirror, you may go inside, and be surrounded by hundreds of small mirrors. There is a handle on the outside, none on the inside.

Elin Melberg: What's mine is yours to borrow
You need to rely on your fellow visitors for the full experience. Alone you will not be able to close the door, there will always be an opening, a connection to the outside. You need others to be able to lose the grip.

Elin Melberg: What's mine is yours to borrow 
The third and last sculpture has a red glow, which turns to white when you come closer. The outside is also covered with mirrors on this one, but both the door and the backside is covered with a large number of handles. Here are so many handles it is hard to choose, but they all have the same purpose. Inside the sculpture is covered with white fabric, white roses and one door handle.The inside feels at the same time like a wedding dress and a coffin. Or rather, it feels like a wedding dress as long as the door is still open, but as it closes, the interior becomes a coffin.

There are three sculptures that may be percieved as three phases of life. There is love of birth and childhood, then there is the maturing and self-conciousness of being able to reflect on yourself. And then there is the end you step into and where you close the door after you.

The sculptures are like exotic vessels or containers from another world. To get near you have to walk to the end of the dark tunnel towards the glowing object. The interaction with and the placement in the Beer Halls at Tou Scene is just incredibly effective. The accurate light setting add an outerworldish glow to the sculptures, circling like an aura, affected by the people moving around or opening the door.