Cecilia Stenbom: Everyday Collateral: WORKPLACE GATESHEAD

7 June - 19 July 2014

Workplace  Gallery is  delighted to  present Everyday Collateral our second  solo exhibition  by Swedish artist Cecilia Stenbom.

 

Everyday Collateral brings together a series of recent works that explore anxiety, behaviour and the quest for control in public space. Working across media including Film, Painting, and Print Stenbom's work examines individual methods and coping mechanisms used to navigate safely and comfortably through everyday life. Stenbom's recent Film works are shot with a distinct style, symmetry and production that echoes diverse influences from the iconic cinematography of the Mega American series Mad Men through to the wide angle,  bleak  landscapes  of  Scandinavian  Television,  whilst  simultaneously  retaining  their  roots  in  the balance  between  subtle  irony  and  direct  content  of  her  early  fixed  camera  performance  videos. Set entirely within  the confines  of a generic shopping centre System follows the interactions  between two sisters; one anxious about her personal safety, the other concerned with the invisible threat of infection. The sterile  and repetitive  atmosphere of  the surrounding  environment quickly  becomes menacing  as each character's personal boundaries are compromised. The Case takes its starting point from popular crime fiction and in particular the opposing genres of Nordic (or Scandinavian) Noir and popular British TV  crime drama.  Set in  the border  town of  Berwick-upon-Tweed The  Case investigates how crime fiction preys and perpetuates anxiety whilst being a constant source of entertainment. In both works, the scripts were developed through  a  series of  public events  and private  conversations aimed  at arming Stenbom with 'real' information. In System these conversations form the basis of an ultimately fictional relationship between sisters Cath and Laura, the main protagonists and in The Case, all of the dialogue is constructed directly from carefully edited quotes from the public creating an engaging and unsettling tension in both works.

 

Alongside the film works Stenbom continues to use found imagery and material as the basis for a series of  new  paintings  and  print  works. Fall  Out  for  Farmers is a  monochrome  painting  based  on  an  image extracted from a Swedish information film from the mid 1980's (soon after the Chernobyl Disaster) that was  targeted  to  farmers,  informing  them  of  what  to  do  in  the  event  of  nuclear  fallout.  Another  painting entitled New Protocol presents an image taken from an 80's news feature on the 'new protocol' adopted by the Swedish police in order to protect 'The Force' against the threat of HIV infection whilst working in 'The Field'. Etiquette is a large Diptych screen print depicting two men at a Shooting Range. Using the same technique Workplace Safety  is  a  small, detailed  work  that  showsa  man  in  an  industrial  interior standing  with  his  arms  outstretched.  Both works originate from educational training  videos,  a  genre Stenbom has  often reinterpreted  and appropriated  in her  work citing  a  fascination with “the dead  pan nature of the presentations and their absolute conviction that whatever is being 'instructed' holds some kind of absolute truth."

 

'For me the process of transforming and filtering found and captured material through a set of different processes is a way to create a sort of Chinese whispers where part of the meaning is transformed, lost or changed.'

Cecilia Stenbom 2014