Noplace, Oslo proudly presents:
22.06.18 - 08.07.18
Opening: Friday 22.06.18, 19:00 - 23:00
Opening hours 14-17, Saturday and Sunday
At the recent Masters graduation show at Kunstnernes Hus, Agatha Wara made a "Death Suit" as her graduation project. A sharply cut and lush two-piece velvet-ensemble, the suit was muted, its appeal charged with projections. She also surreptitiously published an essay (tucked away in a KHiO blog somewhere); an investigation of formats; an autobiographical page-long text piece as a definitive declaration of personal identity; in-depth but in the 3rd person, informative yet somehow shrouded in mystery. It would literally disappear from view; The Suit holds back, hides in plain sight, while also representing 20th century armor, modernity, spectacle, toxic masculinity or a higher, even elevated, femininity. Wara modeled the Death Suit herself on a life-size photograph, with a big, red lip.
For the show "Profiles", Wara presents variations of appropriated material associated with the “Profiles”-section in The New Yorker, where the magazine is known for presenting concise yet thorough, convincing portraits of the newly accomplished. In this new series of sculptural text works, Wara uses these pages as canvases, treating them formally—like small paintings, making rules and breaking them. Each canvas is a page from a magazine, and the laconic attitude of the work at Kunstnernes Hus takes on a very different quality in meeting with the voice of the magazine format. The Death Suit morphs into a chat-bot, a “banana suit”, a jokester.
This open-ended project shape-shifts into the weird, non-functional magazine on the walls of the space, printed on some sort of cheap clownish paper, stuck on page 37 over and over again. Pages with words that repeat themselves, addressing a subject that is somehow gone. The persistent nature of the chosen format, machine-made, repetitive, stamp-like; could perhaps reveal a certain compulsion, pecking at something, adding layers and peeling them off again. The suit gets its say; now full of opinions, it is both a thing to wear—as we do our selves; yet separate from us and always a stand-in for other things. One page, almost illegibly in squished comic sans, confesses; "Death suit is about love, heartbreak, existence, and the itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini."
Wara’s background is multifaceted, and exists in several layers and acts; self-invention is integral to her work; playing on the many strategic loopholes and identities that are available to us; turning on herself to start over; to make-up or even lie—playing with the personal narrative of being an "artist". "I actually hold humor in higher regard than art", she said, quoting Steve Martin in a crisp, white suit as a major inspiration, appropriating lines from his biography amongst with journal notes taken from trips to Tallinn, where Wara produced her own, darker version.
When Stephane Mallarmé founded the fashion publication La Dernière Mode; exploring fashion and society, he pulled at its raison d'être, its shapeshifting quality. He would let his magazine be inhabited by Paris’s sharpest tongues, all his own pseudonyms. This interception between poet, artist and fashion analyst proved highly effective—fashion magazines still draw from the lyrical, playful template of the inventive poet-artist. It is in yet another variation on this theme that The Suit now returns as a page almost turned, as banana—editor becoming artist, appropriating and even bending her formats into floppy, silly artworks.