Malin Ahlsved has created an entire world of her own in her small watercolours. The copious illustrative autobiographical images on paper, like smells or voices, create openings that allow memories and feelings to rise to the surface. Like echoes from hard times that we have forgotten or repressed. The exhibition I Want marks a turning point, at which Ahlsved’s art has taken a step further; fate has lost its foothold and the characters in her subject matter now have more control.
Ahlsved’s art is characterized by a darkness that hangs over it, and the I Want exhibition is no exception; it, too, carries Ahlsved’s jet-black torch forwards. Nonetheless, this material is not pervasively gloomy, but rather a recognition of the transitory nature of life and of the individual’s constant sense of solitude. Ahlsved works with the minor defects and scars that we bear within us, and which make us what we are. Her subjects and themes take our thoughts to tales of disappointment, despair, morality and love. The narrative is occasionally nightmarishly unreal. Looming over it is a kind of Ingmar Bergmanesque God’s silence. The human entity is alone in its attempts to figure out itself and its own despair.
And yet, the ever-present shadows are not debilitating. Ahlsved’s emotional register is a broad one, which leaves room for her characters to convey joie de vivre and a wealth of ideas. She creates breathing holes that we can move between and open ourselves up to self-reflection and contemplation. The scenes and actions encourage viewers to feel their way and to understand the place and context. Her pictures of mice and men sheds a light on the human inner nature. The self that dreams, feels desire and has a will of its own. And it is the will that is the leitmotif here; it is the hunger that drives us on and the energy that gives us hope.
Malin Ahlsved (1976) lives and works in Ekenäs She graduated with an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2004. She has taken part in exhibitions in Finland, Sweden, Russia and Denmark, including at Sinne in 2011. Her art is in the following collections: City of Helsinki; Finnish National Gallery; Finnish Art Society; and Pro Artibus Foundation.
To accompany the exhibition the artist has published a catalogue that will be on sale at Sinne.
The I Want exhibition was created during Ahlsved’s three-year residency at the Pro Artibus Foundation’s Villa Snäcksund. Open Call for the next three-year residency will be fall 2015. For further details contact Erica Wulff: firstname.lastname@example.org