“New and Vestigial Traits” is the second solo exhibition by the artist Eva Löfdahl (1953, Göteborg, Sweden) at VEDA gallery in Florence. Located in the new venue of Via Delle Cascine, 35 and virtuously supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Italy, the show will be on view until next April 16, 2022.
Gathering recent works from other projects, together with artworks specifically conceived for the exhibition, “New and Vestigial Traits” retraces the poetics and the practice of an artist capable of combining different knowledge areas with a peculiar research focused on materials, which very often are able to determine the entire design flow.
The choice becomes pivotal in a process-oriented trajectory within her art. Thanks to a selection of found objects and materials and impactfully intervening on them to the point of alteration, Eva Löfdahl illuminates their potential and possibilities, frequently well latent and hidden. The artist investigates their limits, the hints, the traits, the little and familiar strangeness of the everyday, using them as a viaticum for meanings or rather for a stratification of interpretations.
Löfdahl arrives at creating minimal sculptures and site-specific installations, seductive in their appearance, especially because of her extraordinary researching attitude worthy of noting and probing day-to-day details therefore commonly neglected. Her objectual creations evoke impenetrability and inertia feelings, and can be placed in the liminal space between scientific models and natural shapes, raising great questions in the observer about how we imagine, encounter and understand the universe in which we live in.
The artist has this enormous ability in transmuting her interests and spheres of action to nearly any medium. Thus, the show includes artworks spanning from sculptures, in which she assimilates various and unusual materials and also acts with a pictorial contribution, to photographs or a screen definitely resembling a monochrome painting. The Earth As We Know It (2018), hung on the wall that welcomes the visitor once entered the gallery, is configured for the curious assembly of nylon and wood brushes, in which the silhouette of a landscape is cut out of the bristles. Observing the work at a certain distance, the human gaze will grasp the reference and thus begin the shifting of levels between container and content, which will continue as a common thread throughout the exhibition. The themes of evolution, transition and so the overlaps of signifier and signified have been approached in the previous works throughout a study on the landscape, that we also find in the photographic series Untitled from 2021. Here Eva Löfdahl portrays the sand sedimentations returned by the sea once withdrawn with the undertow; the three pictures show the attempt of capturing the metamorphosis and the presence of a recurring chromatic range in the exhibition.
The Swedish artist actually considers every object in a state of transformation, change and passage that will lead it to something else and thus sheds a particular light on these characteristics. Focusing above all on the surface qualities of these bodies, she is able to bring out that tension between the material forms that are in an apparent state of stillness, typical of their sculptural nature.
If the works described turned their attention to a parietal and vertical dimension, the individual artworks titled The Lasting Tail I, II and III (2022) lead the observation point on the ground towards a constellation of ceramics that assumes various aesthetic properties, very usual in everyone's life. In the group of The Lasting Tail the artist operates on the surface appearance of the objects on two levels: one concerns the way in which she sprinkles some elements with a greyish dust-like, while others strike the eye with their black-and-yellow striped enamel with which they were painted; at the same time they are distinguished by the evocation of shapes of several containers. They share similar traits, but diverse functions, living and non-living features, and we find scattered on the floor what seems to be amphorae, vases, wasps and translucent insects, medicine pipettes and a sort of defused bomb.
Their presence is also silently absorbed by an exhibition expedient, namely the placement of the work Untitled (2022) formed by a retro-reflective fabric, that looks dazzling its beholders or reflecting their figure like a faint shadow in the haze.
The common point of all the constituent elements of The Lasting Tail cycle is the task of containers that they cover, incorporating substances within themselves or in the case of "wasps", bodies that are simultaneously exoskeletons and containers, therefore containers of poison, but also containers of the insects’ body.
The concept of exoskeleton is extended in such a way that in the Scaffolds of the Mind I – IV (2022) wall installations, the artist focuses her attention completely on the structure that supports and contains, developing tiny metal talons to ensure the works. The anthropomorphism that Löfdahl's works typically include, both through references in the titles to parts of the human body and biomorphic forms, and through the conferral of vital attributes to inanimate objects, is mixed with mechanical or artificial qualities. The interpretation of her works is always ambiguous and open to multiple outcomes: despite an ordinary, simple, usual aspect, the comprehension and definition become difficult.
After having outdo the found and chosen material to her own artistic and conceptual needs, Eva Löfdahl’s artworks suggest but do not explain, do not impose a narration on the observer, and extend beyond themselves both communicatively and spatially. She is very interested in the “gaps”, the “interspaces” in-between and around her objects, which give them further life; this is her main purpose, not necessarily being willing to exhaust their capabilities. The artist infuses energy and direction to what she discovers, which will then takes its own and unexpected path; she wants change to be the protagonist and in order to achieve this goal, she collects “tiles” from everyday life. As in the connection between signifier - signified, or container and content, arbitrariness occurs, so the artist refers to universal "referents" (the object and therefore the signified) each user will read, according to their own and unique "language ”(the sign, or the signifier).
New and Vestigial Traits
February 12 - April 16, 2022
c/o Manifattura Tabacchi, B6 – Via delle Cascine 35, 50144 Florence IT