Carl Michael Von Hausswolff: Gallery Niklas Belenius

Article excerpt

The arc of Carl Michael von Hausswolff's thirty-year career suggests that at some impressionable age, he encountered Bruce Nauman's 1967 spiraling neon The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, took it as the gospel, and never looked back: His oeuvre is pitch-perfect ecumenical esotericism. As composer, artist, and curator, von Hausswolff uses remote sensing devices, not least radar and sonar, to explore "electricity, frequency, architectural space and paranormal electronic interference," as he puts it. In case you're wondering, paranormal electronic interference means detecting voices of the dead in radio static (tune into 1485.0 kHz), and von Hausswolff is an expert. His art roams so freely that even "emancipated" and "experimental" seem too restrictive as designations.

Von Hausswolff is a propulsive showman, and there is nothing wrong with that; his work is built for it. With panache, he has organized concurrent projects in Stockholm: an evening's light installation in a graveyard, Red Night II, 2009, and the Birdcage Project, 2009, a broadcast of sonic messages from the dead; he also screened his new film Electra, Texas, 2008, and curated the exhibition "Adoptations: Tu est l'autre" (You Is the Other) at Gallery Niklas Belenius, its title an ungrammatical play on Rimbaud's "Je est un autre." All four are loosely confederated, but I'll focus on the exhibition, itself a knotty conundrum. Seven people, counting von Hausswolff, are included as subjects--but also as artists--in the show: two artists, two mothers, one astronaut, a KGB agent, and an anonymous contributor, each with a plucky story to tell. Von Hausswolff curated this "group" exhibition while simultaneously declaring it his own art. That's not as unreasonable as it sounds. What all seven yarns share is that they exhibit von Hausswolff's brand of quixotic courage. Proclaiming this improbable troupe to be artists and dubbing this a group exhibition seems arbitrary, and it is, unless you give in to his irregular aspirations for art; he himself is allergic to any justification. …