About two years ago, Lars Laumann (1977, Norway) displayed the short video Swedish Book Store (2007) during the group exhibition Faire et defaire, c’est toujours travailler at West. For this video, he had adapted a part of the film Top Secret, which was originally shot in reverse. Laumann alternately shows the scene forwards and backwards, causing the viewer to find himself in a labyrinth. This short film has a slightly disturbing effect on a viewer who is trying to make sense of the video.
At the 2008 Berlin Biennale, Lars Laumann’s film installation Berlinmuren was one of the major musts. This film portrays a Swedish woman, Eija-Ritta Berliner-Mauer, who loves objects. She has an emotional tie and a special relationship with the Berlin wall. And she is married to it. Laumann displayed the film on a fallow piece of land where the wall (her husband) used to stand.
Shut Up Child, This Ain’t Bingo is an hour long video documentary about the relationship between a Norwegian artist and an American prisoner who has been given the death sentence. This is an enormously confronting video based on a true love story, and at the same time it is a very personal story about what can happen in Texas. By telling this story in a way that makes the viewer feel awkward, Laumann tries to impart something grotesque, something incomprehensible to the audience.
Laumann’s creations are all about obsessions, fanatic behaviour, urban legends and conspiracy theories. His ideas are mainly inspired by (popular) music, literature and film. Before starting a new production, he carries out a meticulous research on the Internet. True stories and fantasy are fed by obscure websites, virtual meetings, and the actual cooperation with other film makers, musicians and of course the main characters in his films. Despite his sober, almost subversive way of working, Laumann’s productions are accessible and touching. His work is evidence of his great esteem for ‘other’ ways of life. Laumann manages to make his preference for lunacy, degeneration and curiosities become immediately recognizable for the observer.
West has again invited Lars Laumann for an exhibition. Due to the lay-out of the West exhibition area – consisting of three separate rooms – Laumann has decided to introduce three artist friends. For each of the three rooms, Lars will produce a new work with one of the three artist friends.
Vela Arbutina is a Swiss graphic designer, trained at the Gerrit Rietveld academy. With a creation of sound fragments, she and Laumann took part in the Unofficial Nobel Peace Prize Internet Exhibition (2010). At the moment, Arbutina is co-editor and art director/designer of ‘Girls like us’, and she works as an independent designer in Amsterdam.
Benjamin Alexander Huseby (1978, Norway) works with photography and video. Besides doing assignments for magazines and music producers, he makes his own free creations. He shares Lars Laumann’s fascination for Nico, the former singer of Velvet Underground. Some time ago, they made a short personal ‘documentary’ about Nico. For West, they will again use video as their inspiration.
Rein Vollenga (The Netherlands) creates sensuous, suggestive objects that can occasionally be used as a piece of jewellery. His highly imaginative works show a fascination for the human body. The ‘fetish-like’ aura of these beautifully constructed objects appeals to the imagination.
From his residence at Kadist Art Foundation in Paris, Laumann keeps in touch with the other three artists. Two weeks before the start of the exhibition, they will come to West to round off the working period and complete the presentation. During this period, the artists will be available for interviews by appointment.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication.
We are pleased to invite you for the opening, in the presence of the artists, on 2 April at 5 pm. For press photographs and more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 (0)70.3925359.
*I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) is the first single ofWhitney Houston’s second album and was a big hit in 1987. This popular pop song is still played on the radio quite often. Although it appears to be a rather superficial disco number, the intention of songwriter Shannon Rubicam was to write about choosing this one true love. Whithney Houston’s voice makes sure the track lingers in your head.