FAIR PLAY 2007 teaser
back to PLAY | past editions: 2006 | 2005 | 2003

Knut Åsdam (NO)

Knut Åsdam has been active internationally more than 10 years with exhibitions, publications and broadcast. He has exhibited widely at amongst others, Tate Britain, Venice Biennial, Kunsthalle Bern, Istanbul Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Moderna Museet, PS1 and Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Feature articles on his work have been published in Artforum, Grey Room, Le Monde Diplomatique, Untitled Magazine and many more.

In a strongly visual and spatial manner, with emphasis on the experience of the viewer, Åsdam utilizes sound, film, video, photography and architecture to work with the politics of space and the boundaries of subjectivity. Often these concerns are related to themes of dissidence and an analysis of space in terms of desire, usage and history.
Four categories are essential to Åsdam’s work: ‘Speech’, ‘Living’, ‘Sexualities’ and ‘Struggle’:

‘Speech’: Throughout Knut Åsdam’s video, film and radio work he has been interested in how subjectivity is formed through speech acts — either through actual speech or through other forms of self-articulation — like clothes, behavior and routines. Viewing speech as performative, he has particularly been interested in how things have to be repeated, inscribed or reinscribed with meaning to appear stable: whether that is your body or your street. In many of his works, there is a struggle of balance between the affirmative speech — that seeks to affirm a subject, and depressed speech — that seeks to dissolve the subject.

‘Living’: Åsdam is interested in architecture, place and social dynamics, not as formal exercises but rather as aspects that relates to an everyday — in which life takes place. As with the issue of ‘speech’, Åsdam is here also interested in the performative — the degree to which something’s meaning has to be repeated also opens for possibilities for change or disturbance. In Åsdam’s work there is a strong interest for the interplay of fantasy and narrative to that of lived experience and economic and political.

‘Sexualities’: The plurality of sexual and gendered experience is at the root of the way Åsdam construct characters. The subjects in his work are always assumed as gendered and sexualized subjects. On the one hand, he is involved in the every day contestations of sexuality or gender — as it might relate to your body or to urban spaces. On the other hand, he looks at how a desiring subject is at the base of creating both the open public spaces and the enclosed or suppressed spaces in society.

‘Struggle’: Perhaps the glue that binds the other categories together, ‘struggle’ is important to Åsdam not only in a political sense, but also as a way of understanding how ‘speech’ (subject formation), ‘living’ (the meaning of the everyday) and ‘sexualities’ (the meaning of our bodies) are things we have to affirm or contest in our everyday life and that it involves both psychological and social processes.