Kaleidoscope 2016 Public Art Commission Nyhems School Ängelholm.
Hermetic Parlour Games, from the book Pia Hedström ArtWorks.
Pia Hedströms Art has always looked like components of a cosmic secret society which has just arrived or is on its way to outer space. What are their meanings and their mutual connections? True art is never possible to demistify. It resists us as Derridas secret about a secret, as bottle post out on unknown seas, without sender or addressee. In a similar way, Hedstrom seems to work with the mechanisms of evasion by alternately spectacular vessel-like glass cubes, in kaleidoscopic colours, an intricate colour and form game with time and space, alternately minimalistic sculptures which seem to come from a distant civilization.
Sometimes the sculptures look like hermetic parlour games, whose rules will forever escape us, such as the sculpture Black and White, Right or Wrong, Good or Bad, the totemist chess game stalagmite consisting of a pepper mill and various phallic objects, proudly balancing on a sensually shaped black pillar, which looks like a giant chess piece. Duchamp claimed that art is a game of different times and people. He would have loved Hedstrom's art, not only that her art is playful, but it manages to look back and forth in time. Sometimes the sculptures seem to come from an amusement park for aliens who believe that the ice cream is there to be viewed.
A consistent element throughout her artistic work is the chessboard, the ultimate symbol of the Freemasons which represents the struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, simply our Manichean world system.
Also the chessboard is put into play, stretched and transformed at regular intervals, through a hilarious colour-and-form joy, such as, for example, the facadework On your Way/Jump (2014-2017) where a red-dressed girl seems to run after a colour-shimmering dragon. Hedström's visual grammar also consists of more amorphous forms, cells, fossils, minerals, stones, imprints, bacteriological mandala images of viruses, holes, black holes, implosions, contaminations, levitations, expansions, yes everything that belongs to the innermost mysteries of life.
This part enshrines a neo-romantic tradition that is occupied with both nature's art and the human re-creation of nature, a tradition which nowadays seeks to move away from the subject to a mortal life without people, a post-anthropocentric life that has been theorized by the new philosophical fashion waves " OOO ”(Object Oriented Ontology) and“ Speculative Realism ”. Hedström's Art seems to want to find a harmony between man and nature. A work that truly captures this symbiotic endeavor is a massive, gray stylized rose that encloses a maze in its bosom.
Hedström does not only work with the biologically organic, but also with high-tech phallic, futuristic sculptures such as the Space Confetti opposite The Ullevi MultiArena in Gothenburg (2000) covered with patterns depicting the soup of space, the cosmic witch brew of matter and light which covers the sculpture in an ecstatic, joyful shimmer. Even the spire of light of the Time Ages (2007) in Breared's square in Varberg, replica of samplings made by scientists in Antarctica that measure the earth's interior, rise like hopeful beacons in the night.
Sometimes she also leads us into the most acute climate chambers of the Anthropocene through sublimated natural disasters, such as the sharply stylized volcanic sculptures, where the lava bubbles out like melting glass balls or foam rubber. Is the world about to go under or resurrect? Hard to say, but it is precisely this uncertainty that makes Hedström's art so devilishly attractive. For how to interpret Life Capsule that was exhibited in Pilanes Sculpture Park (2017), a yellow star-shaped body with a reflective peak that reflected both the sky and the people's faces that leaned over it? As a criticism or return to the American what you see is what you get minimalism? No. What you see is what you don't get.
I would like to claim that Hedström's multifaceted art should be read through Kubrik's retrofuturistic Space Oddysey looking glass. For what happens when the black monolith arrives among the monkeys? Yes, they marvel and start thinking. The incomprehensible monolith initiates civilization and, in view of our ever-hotter discussions of the rise and fall of civilizations and the impending destruction of the world, we need more than ever an art that urges us to think on our own, without any manuals or pointers. Hedstrom's Hermetic Parlour Game Art is an excellent platform for this, for an eternal contemplation of the mysteries of both man, nature and cosmos.
Writer, Editor Director of the Palette Art Magazine & Theory Teacher at the Sorbons University
Translation from Swedish to English Pia Hedström with the help from Alicia Giles, Julian Bailey and Åsa Brown