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Anja Carr | artist bio | Catalogue text by Tommy Olsson | Oslo Culture Night

Anja Carr: «Moments (Act 10)» Giclée print (performance documentation of Carr's version of Blekkulf, who tried to save the environment in the 90s, bottle mail with the erotic woodcut «The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife» Katsushika Hokusai 1814) 79 x 102cm with frame 2015

Catalogue text by Tommy Olsson:

Underneath the pink; a darker shade of pink

The works of Anja Carr, instantly recognizable for their intense colours and barely covered up obsessions, is a good place to dwell, if, for some reason, one should feel too safe and sure about oneself, the state of the world, and things in general (just kidding - it´s really the other way around). Because, within this evergrowing maze of teletubby-aesthetics and fairytales taking unexpected turns, marked by the by now almost trademark fluorescent pink and bright cadmium yellow, lurks a very real and nightmarish discomfort. Something not quite right. The fact that, upon closer inspection, this is not really for kids at all. Rather, it challenges our perspective on a long forgotten and buried original impulse, once experienced as raw unfiltered desire as we all at some point in childhood aimed for the candy with the most attractive colour. The degree to which this irresistible need to put something sweet and sticky with bright colour in your mouth, and suck on it - our eyes rolling, intoxicated by the instant ecstasy of the taste - informed our further development towards the coming curse of puberty. The craving. The urgency. The need. The origins of the sexual impulse, and why it is totally necessary for straight men to suck cock at an early age in order to grow up and become descent human beings, and why the world is in such a sad state (an upbringing with regular blowjob training would greatly undermine any attempt at, or threats of, nuclear attacks from world leaders getting wired up. If they had only been taught the ancient techniques in going down south to please Daddy while still in their teens, they´d be much more inclined to respect life and be gentle with other people) - amongst other things. Or, really, amongst every other thing; as these scenographies and their characters, the objects and their materials - the gloss, the fur, and the rest - ultimately constitutes a platform where nothing is ever nailed down and defined. Once you´re sucked in to this vortex, the questions "What is this?" and "What is it for?", is rapidly replaced with helpless cries of "Who am I?" and "Where to now?". Just as you thought you knew what this is about, just when you desperately grasped for the sketchy memory of a weird fetish you once read about in the paper, or rather; on the Internet, where it struck you as pretty odd and far out, and - Wham Bam! - you´re lost. You´re no longer the same. And identity is like money; just some digits on a piece of plastic, as we try to pretend that we´ve not become back-up copies of our own avatars over the years. The pink was not the pink it seemed to be. As if anything ever is.

Not even the pink underneath the pink turned out to be quite the pink expected. What should have been a dirty secret was not particularly dirty. Nor was it a secret by the time we got the idea. Which is not to say that the dirt - and the secrets - are in any way absent here. God, no. The grit of deformed playthings and the torture of their reshaping makes it clear - all the fading pain and sorrow in memories lost, as the toy factory shuts down its doors and converts itself to a sprawl of endless catacombs for the collective unconscious. Things never seem the same afterwards as they did before they happened, one might add as an afterthought. The dirt is unavoidable, and the secrets are really secret. This is thus not so much a matter of sexual preferences or kinks outside of the norm, as it is a meditation on the flexibility and fluidity of gender beyond what we know, aiming for what we don't. And ultimately how it shapes - and potentially changes - the sense of self. The conditioning and reconditioning of the species. And how it is done. It is not about choice - there´s no such thing - it is about the potential. And the dark matter that makes it impossible to narrow it down by one single definition, because there will always be more to it.

Personally, I fall for these traps every time. Instinctively, I look for pornographic points of reference as a guiding light, even though I very well know from previous experience that not only are these at best irrelevant, and not particularly useful when ones poor deep fried brains tries to navigate through the pink in vain - but it is indeed their very absence that keeps me on edge and alert. The issues raised are just as universal as they´re personal. The octopus is obviously a toy, or a leftover prop from a children's television show - and it is me who desperately clings to the uncanny tsunami of slimy tentacle porn that flickers behind my eyes, along with the fisherman's wife who dreams her dreams of what comes from the sea. All of it flooding my mind at once. As if the right side of my brain wreaks havoc on the left and all the perversions leaks into my logic, and drowns out all rational thought to a blur. Again. This is the obsession at work. And this is the nature of the obsession. This is why we all, eventually, will come back, our knees sore from crawling the distance on all fours, driven by a deep demanding shame, never to be quite understood in full. Achingly begging for more. More. Now. More.

Nesoddtangen, 23rd August 2017

Tommy Olsson




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