Border

Ola Ståhl & Terje Östling (2014)

Seeking to explore the elasticity of the isolated graphic mark as a signifying component, the project Border takes as its point of departure the substantial collection of 20th Century prints kept by The Art Museum of Estonia, KUMU. The material gathered in the collection quite literally represents a plethora of diverse strategies, approaches and forms, the common denominator of which is the medium itself rather than a specific theme, historical trajectory or concern. For the project Border, we have chosen twelve prints from the collection from which we isolate specific components: circles, squares, rectangles; slabs, blocks, straight lines, diagonals; fragments of letters or words, the curve of an arm, or part of a chimney. Isolated and extracted – decontextualised – from the context of the print itself (the history of its production and consumption as a cultural artifact), these marks still operate as signifying components. They still carry meaning and make visual references with different resonances. They are, however, stripped of their specificity and can, significantly, be recycled, reused and recontextualised in ways that open up to a transgression of the signifying economies from which they were originally taken; or, in other words, to other formations of meaning, other connotations, other stories and other destinies.

Seeking to explore the elasticity of the isolated graphic mark as a signifying component, the project Border takes as its point of departure the substantial collection of 20th Century prints kept by the Art Museum of Estonia, KUMU. The material gathered in the collection quite literally represents a plethora of diverse strategies, approaches and forms, the common denominator of which is the medium itself rather than a specific theme, historical trajectory or concern. For the project Border, we have chosen twelve prints from the collection from which we isolate specific components: circles, squares, rectangles; slabs, blocks, straight lines, diagonals; fragments of letters or words, the curve of an arm, or part of a chimney. Isolated and extracted – decontextualised – from the context of the print itself (the history of its production and consumption as a cultural artifact), these marks still operate as signifying components. They still carry meaning and make visual references with different resonances. They are, however, stripped of their specificity and can, significantly, be recycled, reused and recontextualised in ways that open up to a transgression of the signifying economies from which they were originally taken; or, in other words, to other formations of meaning, other connotations, other stories and other destinies. Border makes use of these extracted components, creating a series of repetitive patterns used to produce long printed strips akin to what is usually referred to as wallpaper borders, exhibited, alongside a display of the twelve prints chosen from the collection, as part of the 16th Tallinn Print Triennial at The Art Museum of Estonia.

Maria Kjær Themsen, curator of the 16th Tallinn Print Triennial, 2014

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A selection of the wallpaper borders produced for the exhibition: