Isolarion. Sophie Tottie
26 february 2005 - 15 May 2005
Isolarion deals with disconnected matters, with what is sometimes shocking and hard to describe - facts that exist in a void between loud headlines and what is left unmentioned in the news reports, facts that are protested on banners but can not be couched in words and images. "Isolarion" is the term used for the 15th century maps that describe specific areas in detail, but that do not provide a clarifying overview of how these places are related to each other on the face of earth. Sophie Tottie uses the term as the title for a work in progress, shown for the first time at the Lund Konsthall. The exhibition presents a series of images that appear in isolation, as well as juxtaposed in a drawing reminiscent of a network. Consisting of text and image, the drawing intersects the room vertically and horizontally in accordance with an invisible positioning system.
Truth commissions are one of the subjects dealt with in Tottie's text-drawings. These controversial and hard-to-define entities are put together in order to deal with a contemporary history replete with lies, denials and unspeakable memories. They confront truths that are often still dangerous and that many of those in power refuse to acknowledge. Truth commissions render visible connections often caused by extreme ideological standpoints, discussing how old structures like the armed forces, legislation and the economy may be taken apart and reassembled. Towards the end of a commission's work, a country may well find the past still unsettled and key questions unresolved. Nonetheless the commission not only tries to deal with issues concerning how to construct a market economy, write a constitution or reinstate the law, but also considers the problem how to deal with a difficult past - this has been the case in for instance Uganda, Nepal, Germany, Guatemala, South Africa, Australia and the United States.
The exhibition focuses less on nation (and navigation) than on narration - on the story being told and the diverse perspectives on a catastrophe and the seemingly impenetrable surface. The purpose is not to create a physical system for orientation, but to visualize that which constantly slips away and returns to the domain of the unspeakable.
Over the last twenty years suicide bombers have revealed the powerlessness of the modern state. Modernity is once again under attack. An ongoing secularization has not, as many believed, caused scientific views and worldly ideologies to supersede religious worldviews. This conflict between controlling structures and different conceptions of the world is mirrored in many modern projects. The double gaze of "Gropius Head," a piece included in "Isolarion," problematizes the image of an ideology accused of being at once too totalitarian and too open minded.
The images included in the show are displayed in various constellations. Themes such as truth commissions and modernism open up new, shifting contexts where opposing concepts and events intersect.
Sophie Tottie lives and works in Berlin and Stockholm, but is also a professor at the Malmö Art Academy. Her work moves between different forms of artistic expressions, from drawings and wall paintings to video and photography. Often of an existential nature, the subjects examined are put in relation to political and historical contexts.