Place 1 and 2
Gunhild Mathea Olaussen
Two site-specific works for Galleri F15. Alternations of sound, space, architecture and the identity of time.
Part of the solo exhibition Sounding Matter at Galleri F 15 (01.02–15.03.20), curated by Maria C. Havstam
On the second level of Galleri F 15 are two corner rooms – two cornerstones. The rooms are identical, but they have been subjected to different temperatures, they have different acoustics and they provide different views of the landscapes outside. With a sound composition and textural changes to the existing floors, the rooms are subtly transformed from empty rooms into physically orientated spaces. A reorientation to the building itself, to the human body versus the body of the building, and to the past, present and future as an interwoven experience.
When creating the works I had a recording made of the inherent noise in the rooms – a soundscape characterised by the noise of a ventilation system, fluorescent lighting, somebody talking downstairs, the wind and the ocean outside. I later went into the studio and analysed the soundscape and tried to perform what I could hear using sand, sugar, metal and a snare drum. In the gallery the compositions are played over a quadrophonic set-up of white speakers which distract little from the walls of the room. The soundtrack is confusing, true but untrue, oddly related to the room itself, but without any obvious connections.
The floors in the two rooms have been painted with white glaze in patterns informed by and serving as an extension of the architecture: like sun-bleached panels embedded in the floor paint over time, like wear and tear, and like dust or light which has accumulated in the corners.
Place 2 is a circular work: the floor contains only the perimeter of a white glaze circle almost skirting the walls. The soundscape is like a centrifuge of running sand, moving around quadrophonically, perhaps sounding like the sea, or the wind, yet the subconscious knows that this cannot be the case. The viewer finds themselves standing in the middle of the room, as if in a shower of white noise. Perhaps they becomes part of the wind howling outside, of the waves crashing against the shore, of time which is an everlasting second but which always passes before they can grasp it. Nevertheless, the synthetics are always visible to the viewer; they are always aware that this is a staged stimulation of perception. Yet they may ask themselves whether some of it lies latent within the room.
Place 1 is a double room with two windows facing each other almost diametrically. It is as though the world outside is shining, or trickling, straight into the space, where it meets whatever shines into the room from the other side of the building. The wild ocean and the parterre garden to the front of the gallery meet the sheltered backyard in the intersection between the two rooms. Yet there is something about the slight asymmetry between the windows: you almost have to take a small step sideways to look into the room facing the backyard, which in turn means that you lose some of the view of the ocean. It is as if everything is open and transparent, but time is still hiding behind some of the corners: the ceramic stove in which a fire once burnt, the sun which has shone here before, and that which lies behind the corner of time but which we are yet unable to grasp. In this room, an abstraction of light trickling through the windows is painted in white glaze on the floor. The room’s soundtrack sounds like the ocean, but not the ocean, like a ventilation system, but not a ventilation system, the sound of the fire in a stove in a cold room.
The second room in Place 1 faces the backyard and is an introverted space, designed as a thoroughfare. The room can be seen as some kind of reverberation of the exhibition’s totality. Here we hear a composition for violin. The violin responds gently to the overtones produced by the sum of all the sounds in the gallery. A small slit of light is painted in glaze on the floor, like the reverberation of something that has just been.
Concept, execution and production: Gunhild Mathea Husvik-Olaussen
Sound composition: Performed, composed and mixed by Gunhild Mathea Husvik-Olaussen
Audio recording: Therese Næss Diesen
Artist’s assistants: Amber Ablett, Therese Næss Diesen and Ingrid Solvik
Produced in collaboration with Galleri F 15
Supported by the Norwegian Theatre Academy at Østfold University College, the Programme for Artistic Research, the Arts Council Norway’s Audio and Visual Fund, regional project funding for visual art, Contemporary Arts Centres in Norway, the Norwegian Visual Artists’ Fund, BEK, Benum.
PHOTOS (from top):
Vegard Kleven © Galleri F 15
Gunhild Mathea Olaussen
Johan Husvik Olaussen
Ane Thon Knutsen
Video from the exhibition Sounding Matter at Galleri F15. Place 2 from 20.00, Place 1 from 22.24. Video: Morten Halfstad