Garborgsenteret (sjå kart)
Hetlandsgata, 11
4344 Bryne, Norway

28 May – 25 September 2016

Shiva Anoushirvani * Casia Bromberg * Nigel Grimmer*Darren Jones * Harish Iyer * Guillaume Paris * Elham Rokni*Gabriel Garcia Roman * Rebecca Scott*Malin Ståhl * Saskia Olde Wolbers

Curated by Roberto Ekholm | EKCO

Connubial Exhibition

The exhibition Connubial brings together 8 contemporary international artists. The word connubial relates to marriage or the relationship between a married couple. These artists explore through their works the complexities of marriage and love. The exhibition takes Hulda and Arne Garborg’s writing and philosophy on marriage, love and equality as a starting point to look at currents ideas of marriage as a concept.

Today we expect marriage to be based purely on love but historically marriage was about conventions and financial support between a husband and wife. At times love between two people could cause divisions between families and could create political disruptions.

Today the constitution of marriage has been politically changing across the world to include LGBT couples. What has been highlighted in this fight for equality has made us reflect on what is one’s rights and what might been taken for granted.

In many of these art pieces the artists are questioning those values and draw our attentions to the space between the private and the public and where the personal becomes a centre point in a political and geographical narrative.

In Elham Rokni’s video piece The Wedding she uses found 8mm footage from her parent’s wedding in 1978 (pre-revolutionary) Tehran. Political events have overshadowed the celebration of the marriage and none of her relatives remembers the exact date they got married. Rokni uses her personal history to explore collective experiences of loss and displacement. The wedding alternates between dreamscape and documentary and investigates the disconnections between people’s hope and expectations and at times the tragic realities. We are reminded of similar relations between personal celebration and political realities in Gabriel Garcia Roman’s hand-printed image titled Carlos & Fernando. In a celebratory almost saint like image, their personal hopes of love became wedged between a liberal and a conservative stand on gay marriage. They got married in California within the 5 months that gay marriage was legal in California, and lawmakers put Proposition 8 on a special ballot, which legally stated that marriage was to be defined as only legal between a man and a woman.

The personal shift between dreams, hope, longing and reality is captured in a personal “love curve” sketched as a seismic wave in Shiva Anoushirvani piece Kärlek, När du söker skydd I en plats full av hot. What is a set of rhythmic markings, reflects a timeline from her birth until present day. Here memory is condensed into abstract lines, which we allure to as a reading of earthly eruptions. Are these peaks of elastic shock waves joyful or sad moments, passions or grieving of loss? Shiva does not expose what they are but visually we can feel the physical impacts through the reading of the seismic wave.

In both Darren Jones and Casia Bromberg’s photographic works they are using the body in actions of physical contacts, counter balances and tensions to explore relations between trust, closeness and independency. Nigel Grimmer’s piece titled Two Mountains is also playfully suggesting a struggle of independence and closeness in marriage.

Freedom of unity or independence has been questioned through out history, 1888 Arne Garborg wrote “Freedom in the sense of free will should, completely, from the first day until the last, be the principle of marriage; that is the purpose.” “Frihet i betydningen frivillighet skal, helt ut, fra første dag og til den siste, være ekteskapets prinsipp; det er meningen.” (Fri Skilsmisse).

Rebecca Scott uses knitting in her work to comment on traditional roles of women but often throws it into question by using unexpected text or imagery as knitting motifs. In 12 colourful cushions she has broken up the text of the Article 16 of The Declaration Of Human Rights. Laid out on the floor the viewers are encouraged to piece together the fragmented text or lay down to reflect on the surrounding works such as Guillaume Paris’s text piece Resist, whose swirly words draws you hypnotically in to his quasi magical forms of thinking on a discourse of both consumerism and western politics. Is it questioning our status quo of happiness and solace?

Marriage and relationships exists in a space between the real and the dreamlike. In Malin Ståhl’s and Saski Olde Wolbers video pieces this space is played out in narratives of the mundane, the fictional and the real.

In this exhibition the viewer is encouraged to reflect on the values of marriage and relationships and what it means today not only locally but globally, politically as well as personally to long, dream, and fight for your rights to love. The works are both challenging as well as insightful, poetic, playful and celebratory of relationships.

Roberto Ekholm