We will soon lose our awareness of existing in an autonomous way, we must merge with the landscape and become a part of an element of nature. - John Muir, Fifteen hundred kilometers by foot through deep America: 1867-1869.
On the occasion of her first solo show at Lefebvre & Fils Gallery, Ulrika Strömbäck, a Swedish artist based in New York, leads us through a cartography of the world as she sees it. First artist to take part in the residency program with Lefebvre & Fils Gallery in Versailles, she wandered through the streets, gardens and inside buildings with this idea of a direct relationship between city and nature.
During her walks, she created marking on ten centimeters ceramic squares, marking which became a sort of recording of an intimate journal of wanderings. On the back of each one there is a title, date, longitude and latitude of where it was taken : all clues that allow us to reconstruct every ten centimeters of the path she took both an external and internal journey. Ten centimeters to realize what is one close and far from us, ten centimeters to recreate a landscape and show an ensemble of observations and sensations.
The development, the progression and the feeling of freedom that they procure, show an intrinsic quality of Ulrika Strömbäckʼs work : the desire to hold of the elusive, to give a unique identity to each marking, whilst encompassing them in a total landscape. Therefore, a piece of a manhole, a keyhole, a crack, a leaf, all of these things which are seemingly insignificant that we canʼt see, become the pieces of a three-dimensional puzzle.
Taken separately, each of these markings must be considered with attention in order to be decoded, but seen together in their ensemble, they become an almost photographic report documenting a particular space in a given time. Alongside this dismantled landscape, the artist creates a dialogue between ceramics, for which she also uses markings from urban walks. Consequently assembling the different moulds, she leaves the sculpture to have its own journey, she allows a crack or a collapse linked to gravity and inherent entropy linked to their creations. The unfinished and textured aspect reflects this desire to freeze a moment in life.
In Side Out is an exhibition, halfway through naturalism and archeology, Ulrika Stömbäck touches, explores and catches the personality of each materials. Sheʼs questioning the possible ability of these materials to sense and she oversteps our blind and obstinate ideology about the concrete aspect of things. She shows inside the gallery what finally happens outside just before our eyes. Shy and reserved artist, graduate of the Royal College of Art and of Central St Martins College in London, Ulrika Strömbäck proposes an exhibition where feelings mix together. Paradoxical, sheʼs pragmatic in her real motifs present everywhere in our daily life, but she offers a unique, poetic and tactile vision for every one of us depending on which part of this fragmented landscape heʼs watching.