Tove Kjellmark The Horse, the Robot and the Immeasurable
main hall, Färgfabriken
Project room, Färgfabriken
The autumn of 2022 will be marked by the opening of artist Tove Kjellmark’s solo exhibition titled The Horse, the Robot and the Immeasurable. Tove is a trained sculptor who has developed a versatile and experimental practice in which she moves freely between different media and materials. Her work is both physical and conceptual. It places itself in the glitch between the digital and the organic, the long gone and what lies ahead. The exhibition presents a collection of newly produced works in the form of hybrid sculptures, videos, drawing, and a symbiotic performance in the form of a six-week uninterrupted movement which the artist draws together with her robots. These works seek the immeasurable, question habitual thought patterns, and reflect on the dissolution of bodily boundaries such as the movement between life and death.
It all starts with a movement. Over time, an unbroken line appears in the room. Impressions that remain after many analogue and digital transformations from the encounter with a horse’s physical corporality. Fragments of the horse’s spirit, traces of movement which have solidified and are shaped as physical echoes. Like the feeling of a slowly eroding memory or a life that first comes into being and then fades away, turning into something new.
Tove Kjellmark’s focus and ongoing study is the horse, a being with whom she has a deep emotional bond, as well as the self-constructed robots she works with. Horses and humans have a long shared history where the horse has assumed the role of a robot* for human purposes, something that’s still relevant today when many horses must perform well to earn their right to exist. Through her art, Tove Kjellmark shows how our relationship with animals and robots reveals something significant about the anthropocentric view of the world.
”In my work I search for Another Nature. A nature that refuses to accept a difference between technological and natural forces, between human life and animal life, between mechanics and organics. By doing research on precisely these issues, I want to challenge nature, creating it anew. Not out of critique but because this kind of artistic experimentation is the only way another world is revealed.”
Tove Kjellmark’s art is a constant balancing act between stillness and movement. Although she is essentially a trained sculptor, her work has come to challenge the future role of a sculptor and the view of sculpture as an established and cemented art form. The artist’s interest in movement isn’t just about physical movement or material transformation, but above all the mental movement which sometimes arises within the viewer in the encounter with her work.
The basis for most of the works of art in the exhibition is the pioneering artistic research project which the artist has run for the past three years with support from Kulturbryggan (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee). Through various measurement techniques such as motion capture, 3D-scanning and thermal imaging, the artist has investigated subtle processes in different movement patterns in humans, animals, and robots in an attempt to approach the immeasurable. This is an artistic practice-based exploration of potential new values and sedimentary expressions, sprung from translations between materiality and immateriality through digital, analogue and performative techniques. The digital imprints from the encounter with the horse’s corporality have since been processed by both the artist and self-constructed robots into what has become a kind of hybrid sculpture where new digital technology and traditional materials such as bronze and marble merge.
About the artist
Tove Kjellmark (1977) was born and lives in Stockholm, Sweden. She studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and the Swedish Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, where she received her MA in 2009. Kjellmark is a trained sculptor and has developed a multi-faceted and experimental practice in which she moves freely between different media and materials. Kjellmark’s work is both physical and conceptual, and it places itself in the glitch between the digital and the organic, the long gone and what lies ahead. Through sculpture, performance, drawing, and videos, she explores sensations of embodiment, which is work that reflects on the dissolution of bodily boundaries in relation to its surroundings. In addition to her work in the studio, she lectures and pursues collaboration with people and non-people in various forms.
* The word robot is derived from the Slavic word slavery.
During the exhibition period, Tove Kjellmark will move parts of her studio to one of Färgfabriken’s project rooms and work in Open Studio. Open Studio was started in 2017 through the collaboration with the art and design group Very Very Gold, when Färgfabriken decided to explore different ways of exposing creative thought and action, before it took its final form, while we wanted to bring creators and audiences closer together.
Tove Kjellmark participated in Färgfabriken’s group exhibition Symbiosis in the autumn of 2021.
Tove Kjellmark‘s website.
With support from
The exhibition is a part of the transdisciplinary research project The Horse, the Robot and the Immeasurable which was carried out with support from Kulturbryggan (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee).
External partners who participate in the research project: Jonna Bornemark (philosophy professor), Elin Hernlund (veterinarian), Bengt Sjölén (hacker), Malin Hayden (art history professor), Karin Viktorin (feminist posthumanist), Jonatan Habib Engqvist (curator), Michael Black & Senya Polikovsky (head of Optics & Sensing Laboratory at Max Planck Institut in Tübingen), Termisk Systemteknik in Linköping which develops advanced thermal camera technology, Martin Holmberg from Qualisys in Göteborg and their motion-capture technology, Carl-Michael Herlöfsson (composer).