Alter-Blomsteralfabet is an exhibition taking place in five shop windows that together form Galleri Se Konst at a street corner, in Falun. All windows are filled from top to bottom with printed textiles by artist Marc Handelman, creating an opaque draped surrounding curtain wall of vivid colors (derived from floral pigmentation) and detailed pattern. At first glance, the airy and usually open gallery appears closed but it is actually the other way around. In Alter-Blomsteralfabet, the doubtful visitor does not have to think of opening hours or convince oneself to enter the gallery, instead the art can be viewed from the street at any time. These conditions makes the exhibition an unconscious target for the ordinary flaneur or citizen - as it reinserts art into public life. Yet, the curtains connote a domestic place reminding us of the intersection and ongoing conflict between the private and the public.
When stepping closer towards the transparent glass, sharp letters in several fonts including blackletter and runic-like alphabet that speaks for itself, begin to formulate a text. Handelman has used Édouard Glissant's essay ?For Opacity?, in Poetics of Relation (1990), where Glissant conveys the power of opacity in identity, in relation to transparency. Moving beyond a necessary notion of ?difference,? opacity is offered as a further resistance to the reductive forms of assimilation that seek to make identities transparent, graspable, and measurable to ?an ideal scale.? Glissant writes: ?For the time being, perhaps, give up on the old obsession with discovering what lies at the bottom of natures. There would be something great and noble about initiating such a movement, referring not to Humanity but to the exultant divergence of humanities. Thought of self and thought of other here become obsolete in their duality. Every Other is a citizen and no longer a barbarian.? Although opacity signifies visibility it does not legitimize the visible as such, much the same way as Handelman's printed textiles reformulate what is recognizable and identifiable.
In his text, Glissant cites a reaction to idea of opacity ?How can you communicate with what you don't understand?? A question resonating through Handelman´s body of work that digitally appropriates fonts from images used to promote nationalistic right wing ideas as an attempt to counter their speech. The attempt and combination of content and form convey and communicate a message not yet legitimized amongst these ideologies. The text runs through all windows and is somehow difficult to grasp creating a mass of letters that potentially can shape any word. Still, fragments are visible that originate from distinct corners of our society here woven together with other material from other corners of the world in a new context. Glissant believes that different opacities can coexist and thus converge and together weave fabrics. But to understand these truly and to be in relation, one must focus on the texture of the weave and not on the nature of its components. The exhibition is open until 17th of August. Sara Rossling
The exhibition is a part of the extended exhibition project Unfold a Place - an international group exhibition organized by GAIR (Gagnef Artist-in-Residence Programme) that shows six artists' investigative work about the cultural heritage of Dalarna and the legacy of the artist Ottilia Adelborg (1855 Karlskrona - 1936 Gagnef ). Unfold a place shows work by Kristina Bength (SE), Anders Bergman (SE/FI), Tatiana Danilevskaya (RUS), Marc Handelman (US), Malin Pettersson Öberg (SE) och Nuno Vicente (PT). Curator är Sara Rossling The exhibition takes place at Ottilia Adelborgmuseet in Gagnef with satellite presentations at different places around Dalarna.
Bio Marc Handelman is a visual artist and teacher. Through paintings, installations, artists? books and other media his work explores the exchanges between painting, art history and image culture within the visual rhetoric and politics of landscape. Engaging themes such as the re-emergence of nineteenth-century landscape aesthetics in corporate advertising, political branding, white supremacist mythology, and the gendering and essentialization of nature, Handelman?s work questions the ways in which the omnipresence of these and other naturalisms aestheticize and legitimize forms of violence and oppression.
Handelman has exhibited extensively throughout the United States as well as internationally in such venues as PS1 MoMA, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Dieu Donne, The Orlando Museum of Art, The Royal Academy of Art (London), The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts (Stockholm) , The Saatchi Gallery, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Portland Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rubin Museum, and the Storefront for Art and Architecture among others. Handelman?s work has been reviewed in numerous publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Artforum, The New Yorker, Art in America, Flash Art, Tema Celeste, Time Out New York, The New York Observer, Art in Review, The Boston Globe, Cultural Politics Journal, Art Press, Art Slant, The Financial Times, The Providence Journal, CIRCA, and BOMB, among others. His book Archive for a Mountain was published by Publication Studio in 2011.
Handelman has taught extensively in the graduate programs of Bard College and Columbia University, and was appointed Associate Professor at The Mason Gross School of the Arts, at Rutgers University in the Spring of 2018. He is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in New York.