Norwegian Wood - Part I

Saturday, I did as I had intended and popped in at Studio 31 to check out the place and the vernissage of Natalie Avigdor. The artist was there of course, a very nice young woman with a very interesting project. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a rush, and didn´t really have time to look properly, but I will return next week. (She has said it´s ok to take photographs so I will be able to show you more later.) In fact, I have decided to make a kind of parallell project to Avigdor´s. I will return to that later.

Natalie Avigdor and painting "Norwegian wood".
Avigdor has spent part of her youth in Luleå and Boden, and studied at the aesthetic programme at Luleå´s gymnasium (equivalent to high school in the US). She has then studied one year at Munka Folkhögskola in Skåne, the south of Sweden. Now she is at the Academy of Arts and Design, Bezalel, in Jerusalem.

She explained to me that this project is about three months of her life: August, September, and October of this year, that suddenly (a quote from her diary suggests a break-up in Oslo) was empty, without any plans. She decided to build a new life, make new friends, and create an alternative life to - I suppose - her life in Israel. During this time she has also travelled to Japan. The title of her project, and one of the paintings, is "Norwegian Wood", and this immediately made me think of Haruki Murakami´s novel of that name, which was also filmed a few years ago.

Avigdor is also participating in a performance with the art collective PAiN (Performance Art i Norr) at Galleri Syster the 16th of October. On PAiN´s website she says:
"I am fascinated by performance art and think the boundries between real life and performance can be very diffuse." (my translation) 
She has done more performance art and one piece (is that the right word?) I found interesting is called "Projector", where she projects images on her body. Being interested in clothes and fashion (the media has been full of fashion weeks lately, as you may have noticed) it makes me reflect on how blurry the line between dressed and bare can be when one dresses with real intent. What I mean is, naked bodies are all the same - more or less. But choice of dress can be very individual and expressive. So in a sense, the intentional dresser can bare herself while putting clothes on, as well as hide herself. (And I suppose the same goes for the unintentional dresser...) Clothing can be a form of carapace, particularly perhaps for those who are in jobs where one is very vulnerable and sometimes has to be brave, like policemen, doctors, nurses, soldiers. Of course, I refer only to the aesthetic side of the garment in this line of argument; clothes naturally have functional aspects, as well as being tools of communication.

On a side note: If you have access to Swedish television and are interested in clothes as communication, you may want to watch a new series called "von Svenssons kläder" (= von Svensson´s clothes) about how we dress and why. The first episode was promising.

I am attracted by many things in Avigdor´s project: the diary, the paintings of trees and woods, the photographs from Tokyo, drawings by ballpoint pen (which is an instrument associated with writing and not so much the visual arts), the references to literature that I haven´t read but is on my reading list (the long list...), and also the way she has limited her project in a rather strict time frame. I mean, seriously, this girl is getting a lot done in just three months! I want some of that energy, I suppose, and I have also been thinking a lot this last year about what art means to me and how I let it work for me, with me, and through me. There is no doubt that really engaging with art in a deliberate way is good for my overall well-being, creativity, and not least, my writing.

So - how far can I take this? I toyed with the idea in my own diary and decided that there are several doors I can take in, out, or through Avigdor´s project. I will work on this for three weeks, and I have an idea that it would be interesting if it would end in a story of some sort. However, I´m trying to not have any expectations, not to make any plans, just to follow inquiries. Ask questions and see where they take me. It will not be anything like a three-month parallell life, but a three-week adventure, that´ll do me nicely.


  1. Replies
    1. Oh dear, didn´t see that. Will correct it, but it is kind of funny, because I have been thinking a lot about trees lately! LOL