Fake Location Suspected at Riche/Stockholm

Fake Location Suspected / Riche

Curator: Ashik Zaman

Artists: Camila Manuelsdotter Pino, Chih-Lin Yeh, Vincent Haynes, Harry Woodrow, Helén Svensson, Nicole Walker and Sofia Runarsdotter

What can be said about the concept of the exhibition and the title?

Ashik Zaman
: In brief the exhibition boxes in the notion of “the society of the spectacle”, or a society of aspiration and ambition where measures to increase social standing or one’s “personal brand” are always routinely carried out. The title was chosen to give a scope to work around; where “fake” in the title relates to a dichotomy of what is authentic and what is projected, location relates to our venue Riche and allows for elements of site-specificity and suspected too relates to perception and prejudice and deviations from reality.

Our venue is a restaurant with a long-standing history of running an art program and is located in the heart of the old money part of Stockholm; Östermalm and is found right in the middle of very opulent commerce with Prada and Chanel as neighbors. It was evident for me that we would be working with humour as a key driver. Humour is a bit “underrated” at times. Riche which as a venue is a fixture in night life to me has always appeared as a sceney place to be seen and that may or may no longer be true, but it’s been fun to play with that as a stereotype.

I’ve always been very inspired by an artwork by the art collective Claire Fontaine that sees a thick bricked wrapped in the book cover of Guy Debord’s “The Society of the Spectacle”. It’s such an ingenious work that immediately rings clear and produces some inner laughter as a reflex. That was a very big inspiration specifically for the exhibition at hand. 

What are you as artists presenting in the exhibition and what are some of the underlying ideas in relation to the concept?

Sofia Runarsdotter: The lenticular photographic work “Kalkylen” is a brand-new work aimed to relate site-specifically to Riche. The work stems from a conversation between Ashik and me last year regarding how it feels to go out in Stockholm today and how much Stockholm is about posturing. In my recent work I’ve been working with staging and engaging photography with physical gestures spatially, movements of bodies and social behavior. The idea with “Kalkylen” was to create a fictional character, a modern-day “Talented Mr Ripley”. A character that most likely could be found at Riche. He is a “go-getter” and will calculate every move he makes to get “it”.

Harry Woodrow: There are three pieces of mine in this show: two paintings from my ongoing series “Here Come the Warm Jets”; and one of my long-running series of iPhone selfies. I’ve been painting hot tubs obsessively over the last year or so, they’re such fascinating objects to me, both in their form and meaning. They have this unsettling hybrid of organic and technological forms; highly eroticized, breast and buttock-like shapes studded and penetrated by metallic water jets — they make me think of Cronenberg or Giger’s body horror; and like Ballard’s slow motion car crashes, they simultaneously titillate and repel. But the sci-fi spacecraft surfaces are misleading, as it’s not intergalactic space travel that’s promised, but the tawdry sex, champagne, and hot tub selfies of bourgeois suburbia. To me they’re the perfect symbols of Sweden’s rightward (and inward) drift from social democracy into this narcissistic neoliberalism of shiny surfaces and personal greed in which we find ourselves. They’re kind of disgusting but I can’t stop looking at them, and I really love painting them.

Since 2014 I’ve been making iPhone selfies, whilst wearing a cubic helmet made from two-way mirror. I can see out, but any person or camera looking at me can only see their own reflection and that of the surrounding environment—when aimed at my helmet obscured face, my iPhone’s front-facing camera records an image of itself looking back at itself, in an infinite loop of reflective feedback. When viewed en masse on my Instagram feed, the images are relentless, strange, and almost boring—the square within a square, in lieu of a face, reinforcing just how unnerving the phenomenon of selfies really is. As my images amassed, I started to see more meaning in them as a body of work, as they began to speak of shifting generational attitudes of shame and privacy in our culture; and my participation in, or rejection of social media oversharing. Could I be both present and invisible / narcissistic yet anonymous / centered yet diffuse? 

Helén Svensson: I’m presenting the work “TOE THE LINE” which is an object consisting of wool sheets. The wool sheets are folded in half and placed on top of each other to form a vertical line. It is a merger between on the one hand; organic needle-felted wool sheets, extracted and dyed with natural materials from the countryside, and on the other as well; industrially produced wool sheets in synthetic colours. The dirty wool is cleaned and washed and then felted by repeatedly passing the needle through the wool until the fibers interlock and the wool is felted together into a rectangular sheet. Each sheet is then folded in half and placed on top of each other in a certain order. A controlled process where the slow and repetitive work becomes a representation of the everyday.

Camila Manuelsdotter Pino: For the exhibition I chose to do a site-specific piece after entering Riche and seeing the bar. As I previously had talked with Ashik about, I suspected that they wouldn’t have a Chilean Pisco by the bar but Peruvian, and my hunch was right.  Pisco Sour for me is a very luxurious drink that I only drink when wanting to spoil myself or when celebrating any big step in life, whether it’s a birthday or graduation. The piece presented by the bar is called “The Pisco Sour I Make at Home” and is a drink recipe and an attempt to leave a mark and start a conversation about how drinks can make you feel at home. I also know I will never feel at home at Riche but that mainly has to do with its location in the high society parts of Stockholm, whereas I’m from the suburbs. Therefore, it was important to have tiles that looked like the tiles in the bar to show that this recipe will never fit in a place like this.

I also chose to continue with a signature style that is fake embroidery and for that work be in conversation with my other body of work in the exhibition; “Manifestacion”. Me and my dad together go and demonstrate on May 1 and embroidery is something I have inherited from the abuelas, so I wanted to combine that. We are fighters and stand up for ourselves and have different methods of doing that. The two placards on view in the exhibition were the pieces Ashik wanted to have in the exhibition. I thought that was fun since I miss the representation of Latinos or people of colour overall in places located around Östermalmstorg.

There is a rumour that POC have a harder time getting in to clubs or places around Östermalmstorg so it’s fitting to have the words “Yo Perreo Solo” on view which come from the artist Bad Bunny and has a feminist message to it since it means; “I twerk alone”. It’s important for me to have fun and that goes hand in hand with my not needing a man to buy me a drink and that I will dance by myself if I want to and how that should be respected.

The other placard is “I am Not Your Telenovela”. Telenovelas are soap operas and teach us about drama in life, love, deaths and so on but as a POC I’m no one’s spectacle and want to normalize that we are different and can be at the same place even if someone is white and I’m not.

Chih-Lin Yeh: The painting “Dolphin Joy” was specially made for the exhibition. It is a candy package design for dolphin-shaped jelly candy of a (fake) charity campaign to rescue dolphins. The concept of a package design came from the interface as a thin outer layer of what we can see, believe, and therefore purchase. The content of dolphin-shaped jelly candy, provides the most addictive and consumed “legal drug”, giving you a short-term joy;  a similar joy as what the dolphins “seem” to enjoy in the water amusement parks, dancing and jumping out of the water…

The candy is vegan and with all natural ingridience. So, no worries, no harm for real animals! By purchasing it and consuming it, you can safely and quickly place your compassion. It kills two birds on one stone, providing you joy, and takes away the guilt. The most amazing thing is, you can take the candy as a ritual too, if you think of how keeping wild animal in small closed environments and getting education to perform tricks has been acceptable only because humans as audience have been also traumatized by the system of society too, getting education, performing and struggling to survive. By eating little vegan dolphins, we are eating the system away, and setting a joy of freedom. It is only a little bit of sugar…