THIS WORK IS ABOUT SYLVIA PLATH MAYBE
Hedda Grevle Ottesen’s piece for KHIO’s Master Student exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus brings to mind that age old question: does one really need to leave the confines of one’s house to have an opinion on something? Can I philosophize about an artwork I haven’t seen with my eyeballs? Or heard with my ear-balls? Or does the lack of reals make for better feels? I mean, flights to Oslo are expensive and I have a lot on my plate right now and I’m pretty sure she did a good job, because how can you not, really?
The less I know about this artwork, the more I can focus on what I want to know about it and – in a bid of self-reflection – figure out why I want to know the things I want to know about this work. Grevle Ottesen’s painting/video installation/performance piece/sculpture or whatever it is, does not favor interpretation by a spectator, but instead wishes to be imagined by a…hmmm…lazy person. Or let’s settle on ‘daydreamer’.
Do I feel like I’d want the work to have playful brushstrokes, recurring indigenous patterns or a lustrous exterior? Should it be based on a poem by Sylvia Plath? Is it important to me that it loops endlessly or that it is made out of the kind of terracotta that reminds me of Ancient Etruscan art? It can be anything; it is flexible, limitless and transcending race and gender. Much like how I’d wish to be myself, come to think of it.
Titled ‘Book VI’ or ‘Hidalgo’ or ‘Untitled’ or ‘Min venn Frode Barfot’ or whatever Ms. Grevle Ottesen chose to name her work, the absence of a title delivers a clever and clear statement on the superfluous nature of titles. Most of the time they leave me completely ambivalent. Actually, I often feel like a title is an inside joke between artist and artwork, and I am done with being excluded from things. Grevle Ottesen’s work does not need a title…it needs no linguistic constraint that prevents it from encompassing every artwork that I could possibly envision.
Elegantly perched upon its own ubiquitous traits and far removed from me in space and time, Ms. Grevle Ottesen’s work inspires me to imagine a world in which I can wistfully share my opinions on every artwork I never saw. And why stop there? I feel like I could critique anything at this point. Hedda Grevle Ottesen’s work truly inspires my bottomless and – dare I say it – rather lush ambition to inspire myself. It is a subtle study of every trait and characteristic a work could have, punctuated only by my emotive preferences, which mark a resolve to never leave my house again.