Ikon’s exhibition of work by Berlin-based artist Sofia Hultén ran 13 September— 26 November 2017. Organised in collaboration with Museum Tinguely, Basel and supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, it tours to Museum Tinguely, 24 January – 1 May 2018.
Here’s the Answer, What’s the Question? is a selection of sculptures, installations and films in the most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by Berlin-based artist Sofia Hultén. Conveying an ongoing preoccupation with the nature of the material world and the way we navigate it. Hultén’s engaging thoughtfulness suggests that things do not have to be as they seem normally in everyday life.
For Hultén, time is a fourth dimension that conflates art objects with their subject matter in a “looping” process. Objects often become material and vice versa and where readymades are remade in ways that challenge widely accepted definitions of art and what we think we know.
The emphasis on process in her work reminds us that time is a vital factor in the equation of artistic experience. The artist is interested in shuffling the chronological order of things, and this possibility lies at the heart of video works such as Nonsequences (2013) in which a sequence of events re-enacted to defy expectations of cause and effect. For example, in one we see an apple being polished on jeans, dropped into dirt then disposed of in a plastic bag. In another, the apple is placed in the bag before being dropped in dirt and so on. Through this, the artist frequently poses a challenge to what we think we know through permutation – simultaneously presenting us with combinations and recombinations of the same objects.
Through her work, we are in the realm of known unknowns, where common sense (with its straightforward assumption of the perceived as real) no longer holds sway as if she is telling us some answers to which we then have to make up the corresponding questions.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Ikon and Museum Tinguely including texts by Lisa Anette Ahlers and Chris Sharp along with an artist’s interview with Birmingham-based graphic designer James Langdon.