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"Mats Hjelm: Kap Atlantis"
2002-08-28 until 2002-09-29
Index - Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation
Kap Atlantis is the final instalment of a trilogy, the previous two being White Flight (1997) and Man to Man (2000), earlier showed at Index. The exhibition title derives from Harry Martinson’s epic Aniara, where Kap Atlantis is an abandoned place on earth.
All parts of the trilogy portray the visual structures of the memory, a rhythmic and non-chronological stream of images placing equal emphasis on the personal as well as the collective, historical consciousness. Recurring themes are issues such as power, masculinity and violence. Starting with his own relationship to his father, whose documentary films formed the basis of both the previous two works, Mats Hjelm discusses men's legacy to each other. In Kap Atlantis, the majority of the footage is new and these issues regarding a father’s legacy to his son take on an almost existential, religious meaning. The work refers to Christianity as well as Islam.
The catastrophe of 11th of September in New York last year is also referred to, although not directly portrayed, as well as the atmosphere of hate and fear that followed as a consequence. They make a contemporary parallel to the apocalyptic atmosphere created by the atomic bomb that characterised the late 50s, the time when Mats Hjelm was born and Harry Martinson wrote Aniara. This era is intensively present in all parts of the trilogy, in Kap Atlantis expressed for instance through Swedish actor Ulf Palme’s classical reading of passages from Aniara. The past and the contemporary become one and the work seems to question the chronology of history itself.
Kap Atlantis is a 3-channel DVD installation, continuously looped through the gallery’s opening hours. Mats Hjelm’s previous works, White Flight and Man to Man will also be accessible for viewing.