• Högström & Lee
  • Högström & Lee
  • Högström & Lee
  • Högström & Lee
  • Högström & Lee

Mara Lee, Martin Högström


Viiskulma 17.9.-28.9.2008

Textkonst IV 2008 proudly presents works on the borders between text, image and sound by the Swedish poets Martin Högström and Mara Lee.

Martin Högström is a poet from Stockholm and author of the books Transfutura (OEI editör 2005), rewarded with Katapultpriset (for best literary debut), and Kommande industrilandskap (OEI editör 2007). He has translated the novel Frisk by American author Dennis Cooper (Kluven, Vertigo 2006) and is part of the editorial board at the poetry journal OEI.

Högström’s experience as a graphic designer is evident in his poetry. In Transfutura, a typeface called “Transfutura” takes shape as the letters constitute typographic relations – merged roman letters that is. The book’s final poem is lit up by exploding nuclear tests, and produces its own mutations. The atoms of poetry – the letters – are interrogated.

Kommande industrilandskap partly starts out from German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher’s documentations of mines and other industrial constructions in Western Europe and USA. Coal appears in the book in different ways. The coal element is essential for all life forms but mining also releases carbon dioxide. The extracted coal is visualized through the letters so that its theme, motif and physical appearance merge. The poem is flattened to one level. The suite, ”Carbographies”, from which the work at Galleri Huuto departs, literally extracts its own material. In the animation, the generic qualities and anonymity of mine constructions are further underlined; slowly they overlap and overtake each other. Progress and degradation at the same time. A hectic work to produce: silence.

Mara Lee is an author and poet from Skåne living in Stockholm. She teaches at the writer’s program at Biskops-Arnö and at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts as well as at Konstfack.
Her first book kom, a work of lyrical prose, was published in 2000. Here questions of desire are drawn to their uttermost limit. kom questions the female subject position that is entirely submitted to dominating power structures of language and sexuality.
Power is also essential in her following book, the collection of poems hennes vård (2004). The dominant topos in hennes vård is connection: mother/child, victim/perpetrator, friend/enemy. Among other things, connections can be relations of kin, intimacy, similarity. But every connection also implies difference. hennes vård makes evident the violent production of signification and identity brought about by difference.
The next book, Ladies (2007), is a novel. Superficially it can be read as dramatic story of four women, but on another level it questions the possibilities of literature. As a story of love, beauty, desire and revenge unfolds, Ladies constitutes an investigation of the novel as such. Even though Ladies submits to a classical narrative form, it shows that the novel is a structure that contains figures of power that implies a formal violence, and hence, the submission of the material becomes evident. The reader might experience epic pleasure but is also every now and then thrown out to confront his or her own act of reading.
In ”mun” [mouth] ML returns to some of the subjects present in her literary œuvre: language, desire, violence.The poet’s most privileged physical feature is the voice. The mouth on the other hand, has been reduced to a mere medium for the voice.
The writing process involves many physical and material qualities: pen, paper, mouth, keyboard, hand, screen, print, wrist, etc.

”mun” wants to talk about the mouth’s role in writing. It constitutes a symbolic threshold between interior/exterior, word/thought, silence/speech. Language is about to be articulated, things are becoming words. The mouth is a test site. It is often violent. It is the mouth that chooses, denies, withholds and screams. Here things are separated. Here forbidden traces of writing linger and return as tics amongst the letters. Here it takes place. Writing.
TextKonst is a project in process in Galleria Huuto since 2005. The idea is to initiate, show and increase cooperation between artists working on the borders between text and image in Sweden and Finland.

Background of Textkonst:

In the summer of 2005, in co-operation with NIFCA (Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art), Galleria Huuto produced an exhibition by Cecilia Grönberg and Jonas (J) Magnusson. The exhibition was given an ISBN code, which made the premises become a book.

TextTaide – TekstiKonst part I

In co-operation with the Swedish poetry magazine, OEI, and a Finnish one, Tuli&Savu, Galleria Huuto Viiskulma produced an exhibition with Jörgen Gassilewski and Anna Hallberg from Sweden and with Cia Rinne from Finland. On November 22, 2005, thirty poets and artists performed non-stop in the Dubrovnik Lounge and Lobby in Helsinki

In the summer of 2006, an exhibition curated by composer, poet, and publisher Jukka-Pekka Kervinen was held at the Viiskulma premises of Galleria Huuto. The exhibition, Post-taide ja Visuaalinen runous (“Post-Art and Visual Poetry”) consisted of the works of nine American visual poets and of about a hundred post-artists.
TekstiKonst – TextTaide part II

On September 15 and 16, 2006, in Café Edenborg and Ugglan in Stockholm, the poetry magazine OEI presented an issue of Finnish contemporary poetry in translation, called suOmEI (edited by Leevi Lehto). A visual part called VisuOmEI was included, curated by Marina Ciglar and Fredrik Hertzberg. A non-stop show by the name of Finnish Poetry Now was held in co-operation with the Tuli&Savu magazine, which also published a reading project of a poem by Stefan Hammarén.

TextTaide – TekstiKonst parts I and II were organized in association with Finnish, Swedish-speaking Finnish and Swedish artists and poets: Galleria Huuto (Marina Ciglar), Tuli&Savu poetry magazine (chief editor Miia Toivio), and OEI poetry magazine (chief editor Jonas (J) Magnusson, and correspondent in Helsinki Fredrik Hertzberg), as well as Leevi Lehto (Kriitinen Korkeakoulu and the Poetic Conference.

Textkonst part III

The work of the Swedish visual artist Pia Sandström and her big Projekt Labyrint, artists books in cooperation with Botkyrka Arthall

This year Textkonst is organized by Marina Ciglar (visual artist) and Fredrik Hertzberg (literary critic and scholar FH).