Matti Kallioinen: Homunculus
Apr 23 - Jun 13, 2015

Christian Larsen presents Homunculus by Matti Kallioinen. Homunculus, the first solo presentation of new works by the artist since his groundbreaking exhibition Intelligence in 2009.

Matti Kallioinen, born in 1974 and educated at The University College of Arts and Crafts (Konstfack) in Stockholm, has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Sweden and internationally. Most recently, Kallioinen has completed three extensive public art installations: the sound and light installation Limbic resonance at Hötorgets subway station, the installation Organism's Food Chain and Dream World at Stockholm University Library in Frescati, and the large sculptural work Spectral Self Container at Anna Lindh's square in Malmö.



Is there a sharp division between living and dead matter?

The more you zoom, inwards or outwards from the anthropocentric perspective, the more “life” becomes something intangible, and what is left is movement at different levels, across different scales and time periods.

For some years I have developed methods for creating immersive, hypnotic movements using the simplest possible pneumatics: sculptures that I sew in nylon fabric and breath life into using programmed fans. With installations such as "Intelligence" (Milliken Gallery 2009) and "The Nervous Manifold" (Bonnier Konsthall 2012) I wanted to create living, breathing spaces, like animistic fairy tale forests or like the floating abstract scenery of musical harmony. This led me to explore a territory of strange forms, to somehow overcome the contradiction between instability and stability and induce movements deeply associated with living organisms. It struck me how defenseless we are to the impact of such organic movements, we automatically perceive them as a reflection of an object's inner life. Even if we know that the interior is just air.

At some point I had a mathematical insight: if you can imagine these unexpected curved surfaces in 3D space, there must exist an equally unexpected form flora of lines in the 2D plane.

I started exploring the possibilities of curved lines methodically, leading up to a sort of periodic table of strangely looped lines that I refer to as “the curlicues” (Grafikens Hus 2013). The curlicues are negligent to the limitations of euclidean space, and it seems as if their spatial collapse forces them towards the temporal dimension, demanding time from our gaze for its formal completion.

For this exhibition, I have elaborated both two-and and multidimensional themes. In flat as well as in spatial works, anthropomorphic figures have emerged as focal points. These dissolved faces or bodies seem to both irritate and satisfy the human self-mirroring reflex. I have previously been determined to keep the human shape out of my kinetic installations, a taboo I have now passionately violated.

Which brings us to the exhibition's title:

Homunculus (Latin for "little human") is a concept that emerged with slightly different meanings throughout history. The alchemist Paracelsus is said to have evoked a Homunculus in the 1500s, an approximately 30 cm high figure resembling a Golem. Later, the Homunculus-concept has adapted a meaning somewhat like “man inside man“, the notion of a small figure inside the head that knows our feelings and thinks our thoughts.

The "cortical Homunculus" is the twisted little human form arrived to as a result of remapping human body parts to brain areas handling the respective body part’s sensory inputs and motor control. A small inner body to coordinate the outer.

Through these works, I´d like to invoke a different kind of Homunculus. A largely unknown and somewhat distorted figure living in captivity inside the iconic man. A bundle of nerves that pumps, struggles and strikes rhythmically against the body's outer form, as from the inside of a drum.

Matti Kallioinen 2015