This exhibition features installations of film, slide projections, and photographs by Tris Vonna-Michell, a British artist based in Stockholm. Layering camera images with spoken word scripts, he creates entangled stories. Rich with cultural and personal references, his intense monologues are delivered in the artist’s fast-paced voice. Informed by experimental writers such as Allen Ginsberg, the circuitous narratives are fragmented and full of detours, repetition, and dead ends. The full story seems incomplete and forever out of reach, an idea that is extended to the fact that his works are often interconnected and retold through various iterations over years.
As the works in this exhibition reveal, Vonna-Michell threads together disparate historical information, social observation, and personal anecdotes. In the ongoing piece Finding Chopin, a conversation with the artist’s father is interwoven with a history of postwar experimental poetry personified in the figure of Henri Chopin, the urban development of London, and the cityscape of Paris. Based on research into the realization of Le Corbusier’s utopic architecture for Chandigarh in India, the story in Capital Complex is propelled by “Traveller,” whose calm nocturnal strolls through the city are derailed, becoming increasingly anxious and confused by distractions. Vonna-Michell creates a space for the viewer to negotiate and make sense of these complex situations that, he claims, “all seem to make sense in a sort of circular way.”
Reflecting on the very nature of coincidence and repetition, Vonna-Michell explores the flexibility of meaning between images and narration. As one critic has aptly described, “the practice of Tris Vonna-Michell is an attempt, on the one hand, to accurately describe the bewildering complexity that lurks behind photographs, and, on the other hand, to give forms to the endless information such pursuit inevitably generates.”