“It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order - and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order.” - Douglas Hofstadter
Chaos is a kind of unpredictability. It is another kind of order, a system that does not follow the patterns we are used to. In that sense, Bo Christian Larsson’s artistic practice can be seen as a kind of chaos. This is an art that has a great deal in common with the chaos of Greek mythology – an archetypal, unending universe. Not a vacuum, but a primordial material. A place beyond what we refer to as logic and rationality. And out of this chaos, the world was formed.
In BCL’s artistic practice, the act of taking anything for granted is the beginning of decline. To take things for granted is to try to recreate the world according to the same pattern, time and time again, in an endless repetition of that which has already come to pass. In BCL’s work, nothing is given. The compass needle is not pointing to the north, time does not move clockwise – not necessarily. To step into the exhibition is to take a step in all directions simultaneously. Instead of depicting the world we know, BCL peels back layer after layer of what we perceive as society until that which is left is an underlying world of intuition and energy.
BCL’s visual vocabulary contains disparate references spanning archaic primeval symbols via antique mythology and contemporary popular culture. Symbols and ritual are two recurring elements – the use of symbols as an attempt to make the world visible, the use of ritual as an attempt to bring order to the world through action. With these tools, BCL brings to light mankind’s constant search for order and the identifiable, to bring structure to something seemingly formless.
A symbol can be created by attributing specific values to an object; by its being charged with, being taken over by, or entering into symbiosis with an idea – an idea that then forms our vision of the world. Instead of taking symbols for granted, BCL distorts them until we are no longer certain of them. They are stripped of their specific or original cultural charge, but are simultaneously charged with the possibility of thousands of new ideas.
In “Ett Skepp i Nöd” (“Ship in Distress”) the symbol has literally capsized, the ship stands with its stern downward in an unsteady attempt at finding anchorage. The ship is normally a vessel, an object that embodies the movement from one point to another. Here, the hull is filled with a white-painted city – churches and oil refineries – a monument raised to a stranded society, so stuck with one particular image of itself that it cannot see that it is has lost its way.
Bo Christian Larsson allows art to be a language which functions beyond our logical way of thinking. Art is a state of mind, a story of how we experience the world and how we might experience it. In this instance, the ship is not a vessel anymore; or maybe it is, but one which travels vertically. It is up to us to step in and discover the world beyond the rites, symbols and structures we have used to define it.
Bo Christian Larsson (born 1976 in Kristinehamn, Sweden) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at AKI, Academy of Visual Arts in Enschede, Holland. Larsson has had solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Braunschweig; Bregenzer Kunstverein, Austria; Ludlow38, New York and Gallery Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen. His work has been presented in group exhibitions at Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Lenbachhaus Munich; Shiryaevo Biennale, Russia; Hayward Gallery, London; and Arario Gallery, Cheonan, Korea.