Efrain Lopez Gallery is proud to present No Man’s Land, an exhibition by acclaimed Swedish artist Eva Löfdahl. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. No Man’s Land inaugurates the gallery’s new location at 1959 West Erie Street. The exhibition opens with a public reception for the artist on Wednesday, September 26 from 5 to 8 PM.
The material choices Löfdahl makes in composing her provocatively ambiguous sculptures are driven by a carefully-trained sensitivity to the potential of an object to communicate meanings in excess of its intended function. Her practice upholds the robust tradition of the readymade in which the artist is released from the expectation of manually fabricating the art object totally in favor of the conceptual operation of the deliberate selection. Every Insurance (2018) demonstrates the transformation that occurs in stripping away an object’s use-value: Skeletons of collapsible umbrellas, shorn of their fabric, seem to shrug their spindly shoulders at their inability to provide the shelter they were designed to create. Tiny holes at their joints are threaded with closed safety pins that cling parasitically to the birdlike frames.
In their resemblance to pinned specimens, these forms hearken back to early, extraordinary forms of museological display. In early modern Europe, Wunderkammer, also known as cabinets of curiosities, presented natural objects and organisms alongside the products of human artifice without dwelling on the differences between them. Categories of natural and unnatural phenomena are increasingly blurred in our contemporary age of the Anthropocene, as ecological systems are clotted and altered by the detritus of humanity. Similarly, Löfdahl’s Den, Den, Den (2013) deemphasizes the distinction between human versus animal labor. The thistle-like form joins one of the most problematic products of human ingenuity, plastic waste, with gnawed chunks of wood produced by Stockholm’s prolific beavers, which have suddenly reemerged in tremendous numbers to fundamentally alter the city’s arboreal landscape after being extinct in Sweden since the 19th century. The sculpture pays homage to a species pushing back on the human civilization that once displaced them.
As with the Wunderkammer–the very name of which stresses the importance of the cabinet that holds the work–the vessel of the gallery itself is implicated in No Man’s Land. Untitled (2018), a site-specific installation, is composed of a thick length of electric wire made of shrink tube, a material designed to constrict in response to heat and tighten around the contents it envelops; both ends of this cord burrow into the epidermis of the gallery wall as if drawing sustenance from its host. This term, as Löfdahl makes us aware, has a double meaning: the gallery does not simply serve as a temporary host for artworks within a neutral receptacle, but rather functions as an organism that is fundamentally altered by the objects with which it comes into contact.
Eva Löfdahl (b. 1953, Gothenburg, Sweden) lives and works in Stockholm. Her work was the subject of a large-scale retrospective at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2011). She recently had solo shows at Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin (2018) and Veda, Florence (2018). Past solo exhibitions include presentations at Lunds Konsthall (2009), Moderna Museet (2002), and Kunstraum Düsseldorf (1998). In 1995, she represented Sweden in the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. This is her first exhibition at Efrain Lopez Gallery.