The exhibition Insect Insight features nine sculptural installations based on insects and is the work of Swedish artist Annika Liljedahl (b. 1946). Composer Lo Kristenson (b. 1991) has created a music experience consisting of audio tracks integrated into Liljedahl’s podiums, as well as a six-channel sound composition played from loudspeakers in the ceiling.
The artworks in the exhibition have been gradually emerging since 2016 and consist of hundreds of separate smaller sculptures. The sculptures and the music coalesce into an imaginative and enthralling holistic experience.
In Insect Insight, Annika Liljedahl revisits the aesthetic solutions that characterised her earlier artworks with partly different thematics. By using the insect as a metaphor for transformation and survival, she urges us to think about the insect, which is threatened by human impact on nature, even though we’re completely dependent on it for our survival. The installations depict frightening and sometimes disturbing situations in the insect world. Liljedahl’s insects are grotesque but also beautiful – just as they are in reality. They’re composed of materials that arouse conflicting emotions: fragile silk fabric meets menacing pins, lovingly sewn edges juxtaposed with crumpled wire.
The idea to work with Lo Kristenson was born when Annika Liljedahl heard her music in Helena Lopac’s radio documentary about the composer that was broadcast in the Meet the Musician series on P2 in 2017.
Lo Kristenson has been inspired by Annika Liljedahl’s idiom and approach to insects, where expressions of resistance, harshness and clumsiness co-exist with fragile delicacy and vulnerability. Both sculptures and sound portray the erratic (and sometimes unpleasant?) jerky movements, densities and thinnesses that are visible in an insect swarm, as well as the circularly repetitive shapes that we humans perceive in our top-down perspective when we look at an ant-hill. for instance. Insect Insight invites us to reflect on the right to existence, on the relationship between life and death, the unpleasant and the beautiful, belonging and exclusion, knowledge and imagination, humour and gravity. In the contradictory statements they make, the artworks engender insight that one is incapable of existing without the other.
The exhibition is on display in Artipelag’s Artbox.