Story of the eye - Knut Asdam, A.K. Dolven and Dan Graham

Exhibition "Story of the Eye", presenting contemporary Norwegian artists AK Dolven and Knut Åsdam, opens in Coventry on 15 January.

07/01/2004 ::

‘All artists are alike. They dream of doing something that’s more social, more collaborative, and more real than art’
Dan Graham

In the Seventies, as a reaction to minimalism, artists began to incorporate the audience or viewer within the work of art, insisting upon the spectator’s physical and perceptual responses as integral to the work’s meaning. Dan Graham was one of the first artists to negotiate the possibilities and implications of this shift using it to reflect the viewer’s processes of perception back to them. Story of the Eye includes Graham’s iconic Opposing Mirrors and Video Monitors on Time Delay, 1974, alongside commissioned works by Knut Asdam and A.K. Dolven that locate, fix or immerse the viewer within architectural or filmic environments.

Filter City, 2003, a new film by Knut Asdam, extends the social implications of Graham’s practice. Much of Asdam’s work has been produced as a direct response to specific works by Graham, including Psychasthenia: The Care of the Self, made for the Nordic Pavilion at the 1999 Venice Biennale. The film develops the interest that lies at the core of Asdam’s practice, a fascination with contemporary subjectivity. It focuses on the social dynamic between three protagonists and their relationships to the structures that they inhabit, bringing together the political spaces of architecture, language and the body.

A.K. Dolven’s Between the Morning and the Handbag II throws the viewer into a mesmerising encounter with another figure. Projected life size on one end of a tunnel like structure is a naked woman sitting on a ledge overlooking the sea. The classical, symmetrical structure of the image, the motion of the sea and the breathing of the figure have a physically calming affect that is undermined by the uncomfortable sense that we are intruding upon the silent absorption of the figure. At the other end of the tunnel we see an almost identical scene but the woman has vanished; instead a fashionable handbag lies to the side of where she sat. The viewer is pinned between these two seductive, yet inexplicable images.

The relationship of the viewer to the film and video works in this show is carefully determined by the artists. This strongly experience based show implicates the viewer in order to heighten our awareness of the spaces and structures that surround us. The works explore the extent to which our view of the world is formed by our shared understanding of constructions such as architecture, narrative form and body language and hint at the possibility of individual freedoms.

Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, London.

T: 024 7652 4524
E: or

16 January – 12 March
Mon to Sat noon to 9pm

Opening: Thur 15 Jan 6-8pm
Mead Gallery
Warwick Arts Centre
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

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From the film Filter City by Knut Asdam.

From A.K. Dolven’s Between the Morning and the Handbag.