May 27 – August 29 2004
Traces of Memories

The world is revealed to us through what is concrete, through encounters with the landscapes of the past linked to the many traces that are born before our eyes. Matter and objects exist as witnesses to the past; they become traces for our memory. The complex processes of Mikael Lundberg’s art have something to show us - he shows us how matter is shaped by time and how a specific period of time is able to transform matter to a certain state or appearance.

As living organisms in this world we are all part of what thermodynamics refers to as entropy, a series of irrevocable states in which each individual position of the process also is unique.

A limited, partly controlled and partly random situation allows us to see how Mikael Lundberg’s work Traces of an Ongoing Memory changes before our eyes. The end result of this lengthy process - the final, solid state of the salt - is governed by a random process. The artist himself has no control over the slow couplings of the salt crystals, he can only govern the conditions. At Dunkers, a large basin filled with salt and water enables us to follow the gradual disappearance of the water. The artist has isolated a process that is constantly going on in the world around us which makes us see the world with new eyes.

Chance is of decisive importance to several earlier works by Lundberg, such as Proposal for a New Calendar and Language Generator. These are works in which we may observe the constantly changing nature of a certain situation. Working with Innovativ Design, a group from Chalmers University of Technology, Lundberg has been able to develop different types of instruments for gauging complex states. Together, they have also constructed a robot, capable of painting a large wall under controlled circumstances but involving chance.

Lundberg’s new work, Sisyphos, created specially for Dunkers, involves the painting of a wall of about 90 square meters. A robot runs on a track at the top of one of the building’s inside walls. It has been allotted a specific time in which to cover the wall with paint. Where and when it stops and the amount of paint released is entirely random.

In Lundberg’s earlier works which often center on the theme of entropy, the artistic subject has partly been erased through the process of repetition: the process itself has been more important than the subjective relationship of the artist to the end result. Sisyphos represents yet another step back. In it, he leaves it to others to construct the conditions, and the process now becomes an integrated part of the piece. At the same time, both the instrumental gauges and the controlled and complex situations in his latest work have become ever more sophisticated.

Magnus Jensner
Chief Curator, Dunker Culture Center

© Mikael Lundberg