Norwegian Wood - part II

I returned to Studio 31 a week after Natalie Avigdor´s vernissage, to look more closely at her work. There are three parts to the exhibition, pages from her diary (from this period that the whole artwork is trying to summarize), photographs, and paintings.

The diary pages are the first thing you see, as they are displayed in the hallway in to the store. Now, I am always curious about other people´s notebooks, and I have written here on the blog both about my own writing habit, and a great book I have about journals. I think that most people in creative work, who are constantly trying to come up with new ideas or solve problems, use some form of notebook, as it is a great tool to trawl the deeper levels of consciousness. And of course, it has great therapeutic value to write one´s innermost thoughts.

One interesting thing about Avigdor´s pages is that the left-side page was upside-down. I can not know how many books she filled with notes during these three months (and October is not over yet, so - is the artwork still in progress? I suppose so.) and I´m not sure how she mounted her display, but I know that with some of my own notebooks, it was impossible to write with any comfort on the left side of a spread. So, I would simply write only on the right side until I got to the end, and then turn the notebook upside-down and write it the same way back to the beginning. However, it makes for some very awkward reading.

I´m not sure if Avigdor wrote her journal that way or if she chose to display some notes upside-down to make them harder to read. More private, perhaps? I snapped one upside-down page and read it, and found a quote from her vernissage programme, "Du är perfekt, men inte för mig..." (= your are perfect, but not for me). I just assumed that this was something she had been told (it´s such a cheesy breakup line, isn´t it?), but according to the diary, she told someone that. And perhaps that´s the meaning of the upside-down pages: that it´s not what you think, it´s more complex than you imagined, and I am not what I seem.

What I like most about her notebook pages are all the glued in pictures and doodles. The notes are very much like other women´s diaries (including my own): to-do lists, rambles about anxieties, fear of loosing control, relationships, ideas, plans, expectations, dreams. In this page above, with the pastoral scene next to it, she has just found out that she will be exhibiting at Studio 31 and that the project "Norwegian Wood" is off. It´s a happy page, a key moment in the whole project.

And then, I suppose I focused on the photos. They are all taken on a trip to Japan, and none of them are photoshopped, only the colours have been ever so slightly manipulated. Still, they look like they are from Wonderland, as if Avigdor slipped into a rabbithole going there. I have never been to Japan, but some of my friends say it is a place where you can really feel lost, because it´s so hard to navigate in a country where not just the spoken language is different, but even the written language, which makes it hard to even pick out names and such. And if that´s what Avigdor felt, her photos really express that - some kind of dreamy, futuristic, urban, wild Otherworld.

"#National Gallery" and "#Frog@Ueno_Z00"

"#Tree@Mt_Fuji" and "#Mirrors@Harajuku" 

I can´t decide if I like the frog or the shopping mall escalator best.

I didn´t connect so much with the paintings, but I will go by one more time, so perhaps I will have more to say about it later. Or not. I am reading Murakami´s "Norwegian Wood" - not sure how much that story connects with this.

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