16 October 2012

Lars Arrhenius: Tegn i tiden

Tegn i tiden
(Signs of the times)
Lars Arrhenius
Kinokino, Sandnes
Animations and pictures of pictogram stories

Lars Arrhenius: Tegn i tiden
Exhibition opening, the artist in front of "The Man Without Qualities"

Lars Arrhenius: Tegn i tiden
The Street

Since I heard about Lars Arrhenius coming to Kinokino I was looking forward to experiencing it. I had seen some of the works before, and knew it would be good. The exhibition consists of a picture story and movies.  In the movies he tells stories of regular people with pictograms. The individuals have no personal features at all, all we know is if they are male or female. The stories told could be of anyone, and this is what makes them so unique. We recognize the situations, and this combined with the featurelessness makes it so enjoyable and funny.

Lars Arrhenius: Tegn i tiden
The Man Without Qualities

A child is born, grows up, marries, gets children, cheats on his wife, end up in prison, corrects his lifestyle, grows old, dies. The city view shows apartments and office rooms with people working, eating, dancing, sleeping throughout 24 hours. And the movie closing in on just some apartments shows a breakup, a vacuumcleaning woman and a tv-watching girl, and a dinner party. Nothing spectacular, but the simpleness is the whole idea.  The stories are so straightforward and predictable, it is entertaining, but at the same time almost annoying. You are an onlooker, but you develop no connection or empathy with the featureless people. Would it have been different if they had a face and distinctive traits?

Lars Arrhenius: Tegn i 
The Man Without One Way

Just turn around and watch your reaction, because there is a long picture story about a man walking along a street. He has a face, a haircut and clothes. He is faced with different choices along the way, most unconcious choices or coincidences. Some bring joy, some are fatal. In fact, several of the diversions end with him getting killed. Are we upset by this, or is this pure entertainment? Does it change anything knowing that this person is a self portrait of the artist? I admit that I am amused a lot by the story and the possible variations, but I feel no emotional connection to the protagonist. Why is that? He never shows any feelings, the same expression is shown in all situations. He is as featureless as the pictogram man.   

Lars Arrhenius: Tegn i tiden

Exhibition page here