‘Rameaus Nevøer’ (Rameau's Nephews), Sofie Berntsen and Karl Holmqvist
Language can be seen as the subject’s lowest common denominator. It is through language that we make ourselves understood and communicate with the world. But what happens when language cannot guarantee a mutual understanding between those who are attempting to communicate with each other?
Liberated from grammar and conventional interpretation, Berntsen and Holmqvist manipulate words and phrases in the same way artists use mediums such as painting, video or sculpture. In their work, language gains a new dimension as a sensual and visual experience, and at the same time it can be read, at least partly, as text. Established conventions about words and their meaning are subordinate to ambiguity and a critical attitude to semiotics.
Karl Holmqvist includes a broad spectrum of mediums in his artistic practice, including performance, text, posters, installation and sculpture. Visually his black and white imagery is reminiscent of the Concrete Poetry of the 1950s and 1960s, in which the typographic arrangement of text was as important for the overall experience as phonetic sound effects and the actual meaning of words. By giving words their own lives within a visual creation, they could be liberated from their circumscribed existence as signifiers. However, Holmqvist also takes inspiration from Beat generation artists such as Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs and the cut-up technique they developed in the late 1950s.
Holmqvist has published several books, but insists that he is not a poet. He is, instead, an artist who writes poetry. In addition to the written word, the spoken performance of the text is a central part of his artistic practice.
Published by Nasjonalmuseet Norway, English / Norwegian, 130 mm x 190 mm, 116 pages, softcover, ISBN 978-82-8154-095-8