February 26, 2012


A few slightly blurred images from the opening of Kah Bee's masters show, Effeminacy. I was wandering through the show when a friend of mine came up to me, and as a way of saying hello queried "where's the cat?". Thinking she meant the video of internet sensation Maru, I told her about it. Only to be corrected "No, Kah Bee said there was going to be a real, live cat wandering through the show". I said I had seen no evidence of such an event, but considering Kah Bee, I wouldn't put it past her. When I found the artist, wearing a friend's baseball cap at a jaunty angle and with a long stemmed red rose between her teeth, I asked her to set the record straight on these cat rumours. KBC admitted at some point during the installation's run, a cat would feature. I really hope this was not just the opening night enthusiasm and alcohol intake talking.
With various cylindrical forms and structures covered in carpet it really is a cat-scratching haven. Or a Grecian-meets-Babylonian themed cat café, at the very least.

I noticed your walk changed as you went through the show. The layout, the scattering of objects across floors, strategically placed to dictate movement, forced the viewer to alter their gait to a delicate prowl. Almost like dance steps. One, step, two steps, pivot, crouch down to examine a video or an ikebana oasis, and up again. Repeat. You could almost feel rather cat-like yourself.

In her own words:

"When I was four years old, I came across a pack of crayons on the new lounge suite in the living room. I started testing out what the crayons could do and I learned I could leave markings on the textured upholstery of the sofa; a revelatory assignment. So I got to work that afternoon, I worked hard, attacking the surface with manic and more manic scribblings. I worked to colonize this expansive territory, smearing waxy residue over the entire set of furniture. I would use up one crayon, move onto another and another. It was exhilarating work. I had found my calling.

When my father returned home from work, I don’t recall what happened immediately after – but suffice to say, I didn’t anticipate the response that would come. At some point, I was placed outside the House. I clutched onto the grill of the gate outside our home, wailing like the banished offspring of an all-powerful God.
When I was finally allowed back into our house, I remember my father’s back turned towards me. He didn’t have a shirt on, he was on his knees, sweating profusely, scrubbing the sofa with his life."


"I channel the savages when I eat watermelons. Oranges also. They taste better when your teeth tear the flesh off the rind; puncturing the sacs so the juices run and collect into a pool inside your mouth. It doesn’t work with a mediocre orange. I once read: “We love beauty within the limits of political judgment, and we philosophize without the barbarian vice of effeminacy."

Barbarian vice of effeminacy: imagine this paradoxical compatibility.

Effeminacy pours from an excess of refinement not reined in by a soundness of thinking; it rings of aristocratic overkill, a persistent, eternal infantilism afforded by privilege. How does the barbarian; the cannibal fall for the effeminate? Where do they even meet? I could not draw a line around a territory, not because one belongs on the outside and the other within, but because they operate as a kind of corrupting impulse; their shared lack of restraint comes to surface but eludes arrest. They don’t meet up for coffee and they don’t scope out each other’s Facebook profiles; they are criminals on the run, they go chasing waterfalls."

February 21, 2012

Colour field

Multi-coloured: home-made chorizo pizza on handmade oven towels, and a wooden puzzle of the British Royal family - King George V and Queen Mary of Teck. The puzzle was deceptively hard, as none of the pieces were cut in the same manner - just a series of bizarre splotches of colour. Wonderfully, the maker had deemed it inappropriate that a member of the Royal Family should be subjected to half a face on a puzzle piece, therefore all heads are given their own complete piece, and the rest of the pieces sort of congregate around them. It makes one think that the design for these pieces was most likely done by hand.

Pizza devoured and puzzle completed while staying at my Granny's apartment (note the Focus de Luxe cutlery).
It feels as though my summer holiday pursuits nearly solely consisted of eating delicious food, drinking New Zealand beers, swimming, rowing, reading and puzzling.

February 20, 2012


Helping Kah Bee install her work for her Masters show 'Effeminacy', opening Friday February 24, 5 o'clock, at KHM Galleri, Malmö.

Doing things

I finally bought a new bicycle this weekend. It is rather splendid actually, as you can see above, a lovely 'pearl blue' they call it. Goes like a dream, and is long awaited. I have spent two years riding around on a trusty Crescent mini-bike, which I had become quite attached to, but knew it was time for an up-grade and an up-size. Bizarrely, in one of those moments which make you start to believe in conspiracy theories, after having purchased my new set of wheels from the small and quaint corner bicycle store Abrahams Cykel, I returned to my faithful old mini-bike only to discover it's back wheel had completely deflated. Flat as a pancake. It was as if it now knew it was surplus to requirements. Without my new bike I would have had a long defeated walk back home in the rain. Fate? I think so.

While in New Zealand I irreparably tore my favourite shirt - a vintage Liberty print cotton number found at Spitalfields Market in London. I still have the mentality of 'going out clothes' ingrained in me, and I have a reluctance to wear my best threads for anything but a special occasion. For some reason, it is always my best clothes that I rip, pill, stain or burn - usually when I am trying my hardest to look after them. I bought this paisley patterned shirt from Weekday yesterday - attracted by the monotone feel in such a busy pattern. It is probably the loudest shirt I own. I have discovered (decided?) that patterns don't feature prominently in my wardrobe, I motion towards single coloured/plain items, with the idea to 'jazz them up' with silk scarves and interesting jewellery (otherwise known during daylight hours as my work lanyard with my library ID card on it). I am rather 'digging' this psychedelic shirt though - will most likely be placed on the going out clothes list to avoid any clashes with the aforementioned lanyard.

Went to Malmö Konsthall last weekend to check out the exhibition of Swedish artist Gerhard Nordström, and was struck by his remarkable ability to paint leaves. The works were large, made of multiple panels, oil on hardboard perhaps. The leaves appeared sharply in focus from a distance, only blurring into painterly marks as one edge towards the painting. Light and shade were rendered deftly in the dappled foliage, so many different shades of greens, and yellows, never blacks. I can imagine Nordström with an easel painting en plein air, deciding 'Today, I will only paint leaves' as a way to test his skill and hone his craft, a painterly equivalent of scales on the piano. (writing this I am reminded of a part of Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut, along similar lines.)

And when I am not riding my bike, buying clothes or looking at art, I am working on my embroidery. A busy pattern, white on white, the stitches sort of my way of painting leaves, steadily built up into a greater mass.

February 13, 2012

Interiors (Sweden)

A few views of our new room, main feature our new multi-purpose Ikea book shelf/desk unit. Kris's old lamp, a classic 1970's design by Anders Pehrson for Ateljé Lyktan called 'Tube' has pride of place.

The room has two large windows with both bamboo rolling blinds and a lucky find of some perfect sized second hand curtains in a rather thick luxurious fabric. (I don't want to be awakened at 3am every morning during summer with glaring sunlight, when sunrise is early and streams through our eastward facing windows. However, during winter it has been a pleasant wake up call, when the sun doesn't rise often before 8am.)

In one corner Kris displays his his collection of guitars, he took an acoustic one from his parent's house upon which to teach, but no evidence of this has yet eventuated. Diagonally opposite is a bookshelf housing his vinyl collection, with maybe a dozen of my own slotted in at the end. Moving countries requires much downsizing and I have not started to rebuild what records I had except for somehow finding 4 Fleetwood Mac records, and miraculously, the self-titled debut of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which at the moment rests in front of all the others so I can glance over at it and not believe my luck.

Above the secretary which I adopted from the kitchen hang an embroidery Granny made for me, and one I made for her. It is nice to have a piece of furniture where I can put my knick-knacks and jewellery and such, and then fold the top up to keep secure all the daily detritus I deem important in spilling over.

It is strange looking critically at the room sometimes and realising how few possession I have accumulated, even after two years of living here. Yet I don't feel like I am lacking much (saying that, I would like to funnel some of the funds I currently spend of clothing into other endeavours: books, records, paintings and drawings, nice plates, jewellery.) When I think of my room in New Zealand, I can remember having so much stuff, but hardly any particular objects spring to mind.

February 12, 2012

Interiors (New Zealand)

Seeing where people live, how they display their possessions and what to them makes a livable and harmonious environment are a never-ceasing area of interest. I think my extended family have always had impeccable interiors, successfully reflecting their personalities and aesthetics.

Granny's flat, complete with many amazing artworks installed Salon-style. There was nearly no free wall space, every available square inch utilized for displaying her collection.  Staying here for one week while in NZ made me fully appreciate framing works/pictures, and I have been scouring second-hand shops in Malmö hunting down suitable frames with which to house my few prints and drawings, mainly done by myself.

Harriet and Chris' living room at their flat in Onehunga. A great mix of leather, lacquer and vinyl. Wooden floors, wooden walls, open brick fireplace. The best thing about houses in NZ is the abundance of wood, something sorely missing in our Swedish apartment. Swedish apartments have lots of things going for them - double glazed windows, central heating, ornately plastered ceilings - but linoleum floors and concrete walls are not the best sometimes.

Both these interiors made an impression on me, knowing as I did, that after my holiday in NZ we would be moving rooms to the largest on the in flat, complete with walk-in wardrobe and an opportunity to arrange and rearrange my still rather meagre but slowly growing collection of possessions presented itself.