Carl Palm is presenting solo exhibition Bacon on the Roof at Brussels’ HEKLA, opening September 8.
The press release for the show includes a lengthy text by Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen, contemplating the Stockholm and London-based artist’s work around the concept of the institution as something both widely public and deeply personal: “It seems to me as if Carl Palm has been interested in a kind of unofficial institution, recurring situations that may appear to be unorganized, unexpected opportunities without rules and open to creativity.”
It then goes on to refer to the secret actions of sex tools, the ritual of waiting at the bus stop and the contextual shifts of routines and observances by writer Virginia Woolf, before and after WWI, to speculate on the shifting energies of mobile institutions and their revolutionary potential: “small and scattered communities which can be entirely separate but still belong together, not through the networks, but by virtue of the energy and its quality, analogously to the murmur.”
If you don’t understand Spanish you’ll need a translator for the titles of Swedish artist Carl Palm‘s most recent exhibition MR MF: AD / HD & BY E (photos top right). Running over a month from February 14 to March 14 at Mexico’s Parallel Oaxaca, the show included just three wall-mounted sculptural installations titled ‘Espejo’, ‘Baño’ and ‘Toalla’ (2015), as in ‘mirror’, ‘bath’ and ‘towel’. They come displayed in a darkened room, lit only by the backlights of these oblong slabs of hardened clear resin glowing green, yellow and blue, and gripping their inner objects in suspended animation.
They’re a threesome of items you’ll likely find in a bathroom, a place both intimate and sterile, as ‘Toalla’ presents a piece of ultra-absorbent terry towling that looks like it’s hanging from a railing but is really just trapped and frozen. ‘Baño’ features the crude and lewd scrawlings of cocks and hardcore sex angles from a filthy bathroom wall, while ‘Espejo’ features a mirror that’s apparently shaped like a tanktop that –with its stiff and curling chain –is also a necklace.
The press release comes in the form of a song in the form of a narrative led by one ‘Mr Memory Foam’ and ‘featuring’ Palm along with artist Egle Kulbokaite reciting lyrics formed from fragments of online references. They’re reconfigured into portmanteus and words out of order in “mint con-edition”, “indi go 89 terry go” and “Mindcraft snuff”. The assumed, though actually absent, Mr Memory Foam persona is named after the low-resilience polyurethane foam, a “viscoelastic” material that takes more time to recover from weight, sometimes heat, than other synthetic materials of its kind.
As ‘Mr M F’ sings about a past where work “was first born as aquarium-like sculptures produced for an exhibition in Paris”, these ones are compacted with material that come from a larger body of work by the artist, as well as an informational landscape that’s endlessly “[pointing] somewhere else, generating content without possessing it”.
There are only three works in MR MF: AD / HD & BY E, as already mentioned, but there’s also a glut of documentation of their details. Because these are, after all, still lives of contemporary accumulation and multiplicity that are as dense as the materials that make them up: “screen-like dioramas encapsulating floating objects in a state of suspended agency”.