When Assa Kauppi explained her starting point for the exhibition, which was the uncertainty of the world’s current state and how news are getting ever more daunting, my thoughts were directly transferred to Trump, Syria, the refugee crisis, and all the civil wars. When I think of the exhibition now, Sweden is also in the picture.
Writing about this exhibition feels more difficult then I could ever imagine after what happened in Stockholm on Friday 7th April 14:53. The subject that this exhibition treats is always relevant but after this Friday, for many Swedes it became more relevant than ever
Kauppi began working on the show just over two years ago. She experienced the state of the world as overwhelming and frightening, and she got the feeling that people were increasingly powerless and dulled – there is so much information out there that it’s hard to take in everything. I think this feeling is shared by many.
From the ceiling of the gallery hangs large hand-stitched parachutes made of synthetic silk. They can either signal danger, or that help is on the way. On the floor beneath the parachutes lays 11 bronze statues, depicting people of different ethnicity and age. Their eyes are made of a special material that reflects light, making the statues look empty in their eyes.
There is a Dutch proverb that says “Fear is a bad advisor”. Fear itself can be one of the greatest dangers, because frightened people can be dangerous people. Powerlessness can get people to take matters into their own hands. Frozen Fright means that one becomes so afraid that one becomes passive or paralyzed. It is the feeling Kauppi want to display in this exhibition. That fear may have the effect of solidifying us and turn us into passive spectators.
From our TV couches and screens, we are witness the most horrific events. The constant stream of information can makes us almost numb and most of us continues to watch without really reacting. So “what is it that we should fear most, the world’s state or the majority of the world population that takes part of the information on the current situation without even bothering?”
April 7 something terrible happened in Sweden. It made people rise, act, mobilize and unite. Perhaps this is the terrible awakening that will cause people to look up and see beyond Sweden’s borders, and see the people who live with the terror in everyday life.
The exhibition is displayed 6 April – 13 May