My first curatorial work with castillo/corrales was the exhibition J’ai Froid that addresses the myth of Scandinavian culture and the paradox of formulating a subversive strategy based on socio-economic privilege. Tapping into the unrest and general neoliberalisation of the Scandinavian welfare-states, a new generation of artists’ interest in anarchistic expressionism and Black Metal has emerged. Their interest in this subculture lies perhaps in the promise of an oppositional position and the potential for expressing angst, distress and feelings of being overwhelmed. J’ai Froid foregrounds a split position where visual artists are trying to negotiate their own position, knowing that it is impossible to reiterate an authentic expression and to use irony as a counterstrategy.
In J’ai Froid, Matias Faldbakken (b. 1973), the artist and author of the acclaimed novel Scandinavian Misanthropy, presents two sculptures indebted to the anti-establishment threads of Norwegian expressionism and black metal. In a new series of prints, London-based artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen (b. 1981) appropriates Edvard Munch’s woodcut printing technique, merging the “spirit of the wood” with her research into the prescription of psychoactive drugs and chemical management of nervousness.Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian illustrator and artist, and a member of the Norwegian romantic nationalism movement, who dropped out of the city buzz to live the life of a recluse in the countryside. An original copy of his book Svartedauen (“Black Death”) from 1900 is included in the exhibition.
The Danish artist Asger Jorn (1914-1973) established The Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism which comprised the extensive but unfinished archive of 10.000 years of Nordic Folk Art documented by the French photographer Gerard Franceschi (1915-2001). A fragment of this archive completes the exhibition
We had started to make a magazine with called castillo/corrales today accompanying the exhibitions. In J'ai froid - castillo/corrales today #4 there is the essay “Insider Art,” artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen reflects on the relation between the artist and the institution through the practice of artist and psychiatric patient, Ovartaci. “Three Notes of the Evolution of Nordic Transgression” is an essay by art historian Niels Henriksen that puts in relation different conceptions of the psyche and the myth, with Edvard Munch’s woodcut print technique, and Asger Jorn’s Scandinavian Institute for Comparative Vandalism. In a conversation titled, “Mediating Darkness,” curators Staffan Boije af Gennäs and Amelia Ishmael discuss the permeations of darkness in contemporary art and music, and the influence of black metal aesthetic.