Colophon > Related Texts > Reflections of the Multifaceted, Mysterious and Self-generated Domain of Ylva Ogland, text by Nicola Trezzi 


Text by Nicola Trezzi, extract from ”REFLECTIONS ON THE MULTIFACETED, MYSTERIOUS AND SELF-GENERATED DOMAIN OF YLVA OGLAND” published in “She an Introduction” 
Published by Silvana Editoriale & Bonniers Kosnthall, 2015.


Introduction to the 10 chapters
The Oracle
Sibylla & Xenia




This text serves as the book ‘subjective skeleton,’* analyzing Ogland’s practice through ten possible categories. The first chapter is called “Indicator” and it will start with the artist’s early portraits and end with her recent project in which she invites members of the artistic community to be portrayed underneath a traditional tipi-tent. The second chapter is called “Xenia” and its focus is the eponymous series of still lifes featuring fairytale books from her childhood as well as a needle, dry poppy flowers and other elements related to heroin, to which her father was addicted. The third chapter is called “Father” and will analyze Ogland’s relationship to her father from her childhood until his death including all the artworks it generated. The forth chapter, “Home,” will present a small group of paintings, unique in its kind due to the use of gold leaf, depicting the artist’s father house. The fifth chapter is called “Ylva” and it will take into consideration the artist’s self-portraits and all the painting installations connected to this subject. “The Oracle” is the sixth chapter of the book and it is focused on the series of paintings featuring a mirror that belongs to the artist’s family since many generations. Connected to this chapter is the seventh one, which is called “Snöfrid”; this is the name of Ogland’s alter ego, who lives in a parallel reality behind the mirror depicted in many of her paintings and appears in our reality through the distillation of vodka but also through a life-size puppet doll. The eighth chapter is called “Tondo” and takes into consideration all the works by Ogland dealing with masturbation and voyeurism. The ninth chapter analyzes the works, mostly performances including breast milk, executed in collaboration with the artist’s daughters Sibylla and Xenia. Taking the title from a furniture piece created by her father and often included in her work, the focus of the tenth and last chapter, called “Cabinet,” are all the works that can be considered as paintings-within-the-painting in which old works are grouped and repainted together. Each chapter will connect Ogland’s oeuvres to issues that belong to the history of art with a special focus on Renaissance and Mannerism; furthermore the text will also speak about her practice in relation to mythology, cinema, popular culture and literature. Rather than parceling, this categorization will instead highlight the deep interconnectivity that is at the core of Ogland’s work in which, just like in the Oracle, each artwork functions as a gate, a conduit leading to many realities that are at times parallel and at times intertwined. 


Ylva Ogland has started to paint using the oil on canvas technique when she was just 15. The daughter of a painter, who will become her main muse and a key gure within her entire body of work, Ogland immediately manifested a strong sense of creativity and a desire to nurture two languages simultaneously: the Swedish language and the language of painting, the tongue and the brush. In fact the title of this chapter comes from the rst ‘mature’ work made by Ogland for her graduation show at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in which she enrolled at the tender age of eighteen, a fact that already revealed her artistic talent. In this painting—which takes a detail of Leonardo’s masterpiece La Vergine delle Rocce [The Virgin of the Rocks] (London version, 1494–1508)—her style is already revealed: executed with her now signature palette—which is based on different shades of grey1 with a pinkish tone—this work manifested her virtuosity and, at the same time, her desire to disregard any xation or obsession with the nal result or with the painting rendering process. Furthermore this work crystallized her portrait activity, which started before her time at the academy—in her childhood she painted her cousin several times—and con- tinued after; in fact her rst ‘mature portrait’ depicted the collector who bought Indicator (1997– 98), and it was titled Persona (1999–2001) in reference to Ingmar Bergman’s lm (1966); already fascinated with re ections and repetitions, Ogland created another version of Persona entitled Spe- gel Persona [Mirrored Persona] (2009), which has the same subject of Persona—the collector—and the same size of Indicator—16.2 x 16.2 cm. Created without any ‘support’—neither drawing nor sketches—her paintings are undoubtedly rooted in the notion of sprezzatura.2 Coined by Baldesar Castiglione, this term was used to describe the art of Raphael although it became the perfect word to de ne the style of mannerists such as Jacopo Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, and Parmigianino. In fact, just like Ogland, these artists decided to abolish the dictates of Renaissance painting in or- der to embrace an idea of creativity that was less structured, or de-structured,3 refusing the notion of preparation; in this context sprezzatura is a keyword to understand the practice of Ylva Ogland. Another fundamental element that is at the center of this early series of portraits is the importance given to the gaze. “Gazing at”4 rather than “looking at,” Ogland’s use of portraiture comes from the desire to create a connection between two parallel dimensions,5 the one we all know and the one existing behind the painting. This desire to reverse reality through the creation of an alterna- tive one, this desire to give an active value to the act of mirroring—which plays a pivotal role in Ogland’s practice—is pushed even further in her late series of portraits. Speaking of this series the artist says: “Rather than being employed as portraitist, as it happened in history,6 I am actively engaging myself with the subject; the people I am portraying are people who interest me, to whom I am attracted.” Echoing tribal and animist believes,7 Ogland recently created a new series of por- traits that were made through a performance in which the sitter was invited to pose in a tipi-tent made of painted canvas instead of reindeer hides.8 Again the tent becomes the parallel reality, the new domain in which the artist acts as the sole demiurge, seeking the gaze of her subjects in order to take part of their souls, which will therefore get encapsulated in the painting. 


The mysterious and paradoxical implications laying behind the representation of living and non-living objects through the medium of painting can be revealed by following its de nition according to the English language versus its translation into the Italian language (and vice versa). The English term still life gets mirrored and simultaneously reversed when we use the Italian term natura morta [literally: dead nature]. In her still-life series “Xenia”9 Ogland takes again a pillar of the history of painting in order to make it contemporary and personal at the same time. In this series Ogland’s father appears in an indirect way. A heroin user, he never made mystery of his inclination and the tools of his habit—a needle, a poppy ower and other objects—appear in the painting as a reminder of death, a memento mori.10 In this series Ogland takes the structure of Caravaggio’s11 masterpiece Canestra di Frutta [Basket of Fruit] (1599)—the picture plane, the proportion, the style and rendering of the fruits and basket—and progressively twists it into a more expanded and personal version. Within this series there are ve possible categories: the very rst Xenia (2003)—which was painted from memory with full color palette—featured only the tools for the injection of heroin; the rst set of Xenia paintings in which a needle and poppy owers—either dry or fresh—are painted with her signature palette; the second set in which other objects are inserted into the picture plane: fairytale books from her childhood, a candle, leaves, a bunny toy, and a small wooden knife sharpener with traditional Viking patterns carved on it; one among the paintings depicting the sharpener has been enriched by ame scars in icted to the object (the painting) by the artist with a candle; this act will become more and more present in the third set in which various objects12—bottles, glasses, and other distillery tools13—are painted as shadows; the forth and most recent category keeps the same painting structure of the rst one— after Caravaggio—but differs in three element. The rst element is the palette: here the object are painted in their real colors; the “different shades of grey”14 are substituted by “technicolor”15; the second element is the presence of the candle, which plays a very important role in Ogland’s work, painted in different stages of its ‘life’;16 the last difference is the background which in this fourth category has become a very vivid red, a reference to Henri Matisse’s iconic works L’Atelier Rouge [The Red Studio] (1911) and La Chambre Rouge [The Red Room/Harmony in Red] (1908); furthermore, speaking of background, in some occasions this speci c category of Xenia paintings has been displayed on large pieces of canvas painted with the same vivid red and used by the artist as sets for performances conducted with her daughters. 


The presence of Ogland’s father runs throughout her entire production; however there is a speci c body of work that is focused exclusively on his gure; here Ogland takes again the language of painting portraiture in order to twist it with references to photography17 and cinema;18 other two important elements related to this side of her practice are time and memory; time is brought into the picture through interruption: in fact her father is only portrayed either in his young age, often next to a very young Ogland, or as a dead body; this fact underlines his ghostly nature within her practice and creates a gap, between youth and death, which is completely aligned to Ogland’s de- sire to continuously self-generate personal mythologies;19 if time, or interrupted time, is inserted into the painting through the depiction of speci c life phases of her father, memory is presented through the way the gure(s) appears in the painting; moving away from the clarity of the Xenia still lifes, most of the paintings including her father—we will discuss the exceptions later—are de- liberately foggy, the gures are blurry, and they never appear in their entirety; they are fragments of memories, analepsis,20 images from a remote past. Perfectly encapsulating this atmosphere is a painting in which the father is one of the characters of a composition—Ogland’s family gathering for her father’s 70th birthday—in which it is impossible to recognize its protagonists. This elusive- ness completely disappears when Ogland jumps from the father’s youth to the ultimate stage of his existence. His death is depicted with obsessive clarity, a clarity that Ogland reaches through two channels: repetition, which is inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s musical “variations,” and precision. Repetition is employed in the series featuring the face of her father after he passed away; consisting of 30 paintings, this series links painting to animation21 but also to issues—such as repe- tition and the notion of visage—dear to Gilles Deleuze.22 Precision is brought in a smaller series that features her father’s feet coming out from the bed in which he died; the body fragment highlights possible comparisons between Ogland’s practice and many works of art, both contemporary and historical. Even clearer, but probably unconscious, is the connection between a group of paintings depicting her father’s death and the funeral of Duchamp.23 In this speci c group—whose palette is similar to Xenia’s late paintings—Ogland nally reveals the role of her father within her practice: a ready-made that she appropriates24 through the act of painting. 


The aim of this chapter is to link the practice of Ylva Ogland to the notion of domesticity, or rather the goal of this section is to stress how certain works by Ogland can be linked to each other through their connection with the idea of home. Before analyzing these works it is important to understand her practice as “expanded painting,” which means that most of her paintings must be taken into consideration not only as images but also in accordance to their presence, their ex- istence in space; although there is a very long tradition that conceives “{a} painting as an object behaving in space.”25 It is quite rare to link this attitude to gurative painting; usually artists who are interested in this move—from painting as a tool for three-dimensional representation on a bi-dimensional surface, to painting as a certain amount of paint applied on a stretched piece of canvas and then displayed in a given space—never use guration.26 Once we understood this spe- ci c side of her practice we are able to link three projects that might appear as disconnected, albeit only apparently. The rst project is a small and somehow unknown group of paintings focused on views of the house of Ogland’s father in Southern Norrland where he lived in a small community that came from Nockeby outside Stockholm.27 What makes these works unique is the use of gold leaf28 mostly applied on the hedge of the picture plain in order to build a frame around the image. The second project was a double one: one was commissioned by MAP29 and it consisted of an exhibition of works from different series that the artist installed in her own house—where she cur- rently lives—and the other was a solo30 show at Brändström Stockholm, both in Stockholm. These two projects are related because on this occasion the artist moved out from the house and made it empty in order to transform it into an exhibition space; during this time she decided to move to the gallery which became her studio and her house. In other words what was private became public and what was public became private.31 The last project took place at Sabot, an exhibition space in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, which was focused on the artist’s roots and consisted of a series of tasks—bringing soil in the space, a tree branch, building a haystack, a shelter for the dog—that Ogland gave to the principal of the space. If Domesticity is the main issue at stake and the notion of “expanded painting” was very much considered, the third and last keyword that would provide deep understanding to these projects is that of hestekur, which links Ogland’s practice to Edvard Munch.32 According to his biographers, Munch wanted his paintings to physically ‘mature’, pref- erably in the open air, and he allegedly approved of the softening of his glaring colors by dust and dirt, once professing that a real Munch painting should show some holes and scratches. Again according to his biographers, Munch referred to this handling and its results as a “kill or cure” treatment, or, using the Norwegian term Hestekur [Horse Cure], a cure reserved for tough beasts. 


The understanding of self-portraiture as a genre within the art eld goes back to the dawn of au- thorship in the context of visual art, the Renaissance, and speci cally to the creation of the Vasari Corridor.33 Within this context a speci c artwork might illuminate many of the issues behind Ogland’s self-portraits: according to Giorgio Vasari, when the mannerist painter Parmigianino (1503–40) left his hometown Parma to Rome in order to seek the support of the Medici pope Clement VII he brought with him his most famous masterpiece, which is a self-portrait of his face and torso re ected in a convex mirror;34 we will investigate Ogland’s importance of the mirror later on and yet it is crucial to analyze her work in connection to Parmigianino’s conceptual use of the portrait painting technique. Just like him, Ogland is putting herself upfront, she is using the self as a medium as much as painting.35 To certain extents Ogland’s self-portraits, which are mostly taken from four old photographs in which she is 11 years old and naked, either sleeping or sitting on a chair, are the beginning of her expanded practice. This expanded practice includes two outcomes: the rst one consists of her painting installations and in fact the paintings created after the photographs of herself sleeping have been presented in different modalities, the strongest ones being as if the depicted image would be a photograph36 torn apart and then hanged in the space. The second, more acrobatic and less obvious outcome is her curatorial practice. If we understand the self-portraits as a work made with two media—the painting and the self—and if we consider the genre of self-portraiture in connection to the birth of authorship in the eld of visual art it is clear that for Ogland authorship is an important issue that she has been investigating through art making as well as through exhibition making speci cally with her collective project Konst 2, whose other members were Jelena Rundqvist and Ogland’s long-time partner Rodrigo Mallea Lira.37 When Konst 2 took the directorship of Tensta Konsthall, a center for contemporary art in the Stockholm suburb of Tensta, it was clear that Ogland wanted to engage with different kinds of creativity and with different kinds of authorship. Just like Parmigianino, who created a work of art as a business card for his future career in Rome, and just like Giorgio Vasari, who beside being an artist, a painter,38 was also anticipating the gure of the art critic, art historian, curator and even art advisor,39 Ogland is interested in putting self-portraiture and exhibition making on the same level; she is putting what is personal—art making—next to what is considered very imper- sonal—exhibition making—and that needed a lot of time to emancipate itself, to move away from anonymity,40 and to reach the same status achieved by art making during the Renaissance. 

The Oracle

The establishment of personal mythologies is one of the most important aspects of Ylva Ogland’s modus operandi. One side of her multifaceted practice is to narrate moments of her personal life, as if they belong to great epics such as the Odyssey and the Iliad.41 If this attitude underlines her desire to erase the borders between the private and the public, some of her works bring this desire even further in order to scrutinize and consequently undermine the difference between object and subject, between what is alive and what is not supposed to be so. Her iconic “Oracle” paintings perfectly epitomize all these aspects. The subject of all these paintings is an object, a mirror that has belonged to Ogland’s family since several generations.42 However unlike any other artwork, the rst “Oracle” painting (2007) has become for Ogland something more and something else. The rst “Oracle” painting is in fact a talisman.43 After it was painted in New York, the Oracle—this word comes from the verb orare [to speak in Latin] but also refers to Pythia, priestess to Apollo at Delphi and the most important oracle of Greek antiquity—became the ruling identity of Fruit and Flower Deli, a gallery established in New York by Ogland’s husband Rodrigo Mallea Lira. Acting under the in uence of the Oracle, its keeper—this is the role of Mallea Lira—would post its announcements on the gallery website; the announcements would be as enigmatic as “respect the source” or “the Keeper knows that by the ames of the Ghost to see the path, the Device of the Ghost is this—Arte et Veritas.” Furthermore the keeper would follow the Oracle dictates regarding the gallery of cial opening hours—the motto is “Never Open Always Welcome”—and travel with it to art fairs. In addition to its function as the ruling identity of the gallery, the “Oracle” painting is the gate that connects our reality to the parallel one in which Snöfrid—Ogland’s alter ego—re- sides. Just like in many epic stories, legends, and fairytales, the Oracle ruled the gallery until it was auctioned, an action that the painting itself ercely resisted.44 The creation of the rst “Oracle” painting was followed by several versions, some of them were repetitions of the original, some of them were reversed copies of the original, and some of them are presented next to a burning candle, which is one of the motifs within Ogland’s oeuvres. It is clear how this painting can be connected to many real and ctional moments of western history: from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)—the sequel of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)—to The Brothers Grimm’s fairytale Schneewittchen [Snow White] (1812–54); from Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso [Deep Red]45 (1975) to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). However, the action of painting a mirror evokes two main discourses. First of all this act can be connected to practices such as animism and voodoo, underlining once again Ogland’s strive against moderni- ty.46 Second of all the act of painting a mirror brings up a very important linguistic consideration, which aim is to substitute representation—another pillar of western thinking—with identi ca- tion.47 In other words the act of painting a mirror declares the impossibility of representing any- thing and anyone. Due to its re ective and ever-changing nature, a mirror can never be painted unless the painting is continuously and endlessly modi ed whenever the re ection changes, which means every time either the painting is moving, or someone or something moves in or out its eld of re ection. Through this action, whose result can only be opaque, Ogland questions the limita- tion of representation and therefore the very inception of the act of painting.48 



“Cuz I realized I got / Me myself and I / That’s all I got in the end / That’s what I found out / And it ain’t no need to cry / I took a vow that from now on / I’m gonna be my own best friend.”49
Continuing her desire to intertwine reality and ction, reality and the representation of reality, reality and its re ection—the original and the copy—Ogland has created a character whose name is Snöfrid50 and whose domain51 is the parallel reality that exists behind the painted representation of the mirror featured in the paintings analyzed in the previous chapter. A mysterious creature with a cryptic nature, Snöfrid acts like Ogland’s of cial alter ego and at times she even inserts her ora- cle-like, song-like, poem-like statements in Ogland’s own interviews. Following the artist’s desire to connect her multilayered practice with major motifs of Western culture, mythology above all, we can nd connections in literature52 as well as in philosophy.53 Another important aspect of Snö- frid is her “evocation”—the way she is brought into our reality. If Ogland’s paintings have always been charged with performative aspects, this side of her work is de nitely bringing this performa- tivity to the forefront. In this case the appropriation of mythology is accompanied by tropes that belong to notion of the ritual, the magical, and even the alchemical. This is how Snöfrid increased her presence in Ogland’s world: from being ‘just’ a voice coming out from the painted mirror and the subject of a publication called Snöfrid N° 1, a homage to Chanel’s iconic perfume “No5,” she later searched for her prime matter and, if Zeus came to Danaë in the form of golden rain,54 Snöfrid could only come to us in the form of “spirit” (vodka)55; her ‘spiritual conception through distillation’ became the subject of several performances executed by Ogland and her entourage, the most notable one being Snöfrid Ruby Distillery (2009) presented at the Swiss Institute in New York as part of Performa09; the announcement of this event said: “I am Ylva Ogland’s mirror twin, I live behind the mirrors, People help me to enter the earthly world, Lust is a force and dis- tilling is a chemical tool, This time I will be present as a distillate with Rubies, The Ruby is for the core of Lust, The nature is the origin, For the connection to the uncontrolled controlled. Emily Sundblad, Lucie Fontaine, Dimitris Papadatos, The Keeper, Johan Hjerpe, Mackenzie Schneider, Angelo Plessas, Gianni Jetzer, Tairone Bastien, Defne Ayas, Margaret Lee and RoseLee Goldberg, help me to get real. We serve me from the distillery, So that you can drink me.” As this announce- ment explains, not satis ed with her liquid presence, Snöfrid consequently found a more physical presence, a life-size white puppet doll that has the features of the artist. This new appearance of Snöfrid was presented as the central element of the installation entitled Snöfrid and the Seeing Place (2010) and conceived by Ogland for “Scene Shifts,” an exhibition curated by Sara Arrhenius at Bonniers Konsthall and Dramaten – the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. Through this new presence Snöfrid becomes as relevant as her creator. Following this new scenario there are two manifestations of both Ogland and Snöfrid’s desire to erase—or intertwine—all dichotomies, this time between creator and creature56: the rst one is that in fact the only abstract paintings showed by Ogland are attributed to Snöfrid; the second is that Snöfrid’s true physical presence, the white life-size puppet doll, has already being put in opposition to a black version. In other words, if the original has a replica but the very same replica is replicated then the replica itself becomes the original and the initial original becomes... something else (me, myself and I). 


The notions of repetition and representation and the use of the mirror in relation to the body have been extensively analyzed in the previous seven chapters. However this chapter—focused on Ogland’s Tondo series—brings these issues to their hyper-realization. In this speci c series, which consists of round paintings57 depicting close-ups of the artist’s genitalia during the masturbatory act seen through a round mirror, the ‘hyper’58 comes through the understanding of pornography not only as the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matters for the purpose of sexual arousal but also as the desire to erase any layer or veil in order to encounter reality without any kind of mediation or lter. This desire, which Ogland celebrates in this speci c body of work, mirrors our current time where eroticism—which means seeing and not seeing, which implies the use of imagina- tion—has been substituted by pornography—which means that everything is on view, nothing can be hidden anymore, and nothing is left to imagination. Another key word continuing this motif of the body is that of porosity, which means that even when a layer—skin in this case—is present, even when there is an inside and an outside—inside the skin and outside the skin—porus [hole in Latin] are always present and therefore in ltrations and leaks can always happen. In this current porous reality everything becomes interchangeable, all dichotomies are meant to merge and at the same time maintain their dialogical state through ction. “Same same but different”—it is not a coincidence that the very appearance of the Tondo series was in the form of a ipbook59, a device that links once again, albeit from another angle, Ogland’s practice to cinema and speci cally to animation, to be understood as pictures in motion, sequence, series of images in which each com- ponent behaves as a “variation,”60 in which each fraction (still) has a meaning in itself, and yet it is part of a larger scheme. However the most direct and poignant references to this series come from two works of art: L’Origine du monde [The Origin of the World] (1866) by Gustave Courbet and the Étant donnés (1946–66) by Marcel Duchamp. In the case of Courbet, Ogland creates an indirect gender critique through the notion of authorship and particularly through the exchange between the artist and his61 muse; in other words there is not so much difference between L’Orig- ine du monde and her Tondo series with the only discrepancy that while Courbet was a man who painted a woman’s genitalia, Ogland is a woman who is painting her own genitalia. In the case of Duchamp this gender critique delivered through authorship is paired with Ogland’s desire to pay tribute to his attitude, which was de nitely pornographic in accordance to the aforementioned understanding of this term. In other words Duchamp’s tableau vivant—which took twenty years to be made and stayed as its ultimate, surprising, and ambitious project—not only looks pornograph- ic and hyper-realistic; it also speaks about the pornographic, hyper-realistic and ‘surgical’ desire that runs throughout his entire works, from his early nudes62 to the naked body standing in the center of the Étant donnés. The last key word to be discussed regarding the Tondo series in connec- tion to Courbet and Duchamp is voyeurism, to be understood in association to pornography and porosity. In Ogland’s work the viewer becomes a voyeur through the eyes of the artist, who—while looking at her genitalia through the mirror, here behaving as a surrogate-peephole63—discovers the ultimate act of pleasure, which is self-generated, elliptical and short circuital.64 

Sibylla & Xenia 

Ogland makes no mystery about her desire to master the most individualistic among the media of visual art—painting65—and at the same time to foster situations in which the univocal spirit of her work is put under investigation through inclusive and collaborative actions. Continuing her desire to generate, or self-generate, her own mythologies—her saga—and to nurture the notion of domes- ticity, it is not a coincidence that most of his close collaborators66 are also part of her family. One chapter of this essay is dedicated to her father, whose collaboration—apparently passive—must be understood through unconventional, but not unfamiliar, procedures,67 while her husband—the keeper of the Oracle, the person behind Ogland’s gallery Fruit and Flower Deli—has found a very special way to deal with her and with her work, a way that is never interfering with the conception, creation, and production of the work but rather facilitating its distribution, and communication; to paraphrase one of the mottos of the Oracle ruling over Fruit and Flower Deli, in Ogland’s work Rodrigo Mallea Lira is “never present,” but “always there.”68 Following these premises, there was no doubt that Ogland’s legacy, her offspring, would become her legitimate “prosumer”69—an ac- tive and passive player, a visible and invisible protagonist of her practice at large. In other words the role of Ogland’s daughters Sibylla and Xenia in the artist’s work alternates between a passive one—similar to the role of the artist’s father—and an active one—similar to the role of her hus- band; at the same time it becomes dif cult to give such de nitive de nitions, especially since her entire practice attempts to undermine these very divisions based on language (synonym and contrary) and to rede ne the Western understanding of authorship and signature. According to the traditional meaning of these two words, Ogland’s father is nothing more than a subject—the painter’s muse—and yet it is very dif cult to con ne his presence to the sole territory of represen- tation. Considering what it is usually associated to the word collaboration, Ogland’s husband—her partner70—plays a speci c role that is not active or decisive and yet extremely relevant, if not fun- damental, in terms of participation and critical understanding of the work. What the artist has managed to do with Sibylla and Xenia, or rather, what Sibylla and Xenia have managed to do with the artist, is to alternate these two positions in order to create a third one—an in-between one, an oscillatory one that both embraces and refuses the previous two. From a mono-print-painting , the tool of which was the artist’s placenta, to a painting performance-installation in which the artist’s rst child Sibylla is serving breast milk generated after Ogland delivered her second child Xenia; from a series of paintings that depict the birth of Xenia—which happened in Ogland and Mal- lea Lira’s house in Stockholm—to Sibylla’s presence in different iterations of Ogland’s tipi-tent- portrait project. However the most exciting side of Xenia and Sibylla’s presence is their potenti- ality rather than their actuality71 and as a matter of fact most of the content to be analyzed in this chapter hasn’t happened yet. Nevertheless there is one certainty: through their inclusion Ogland is suggesting a possible future in which her daughters will increase their presence in her practice offering a new and innovative de nition of art making and an expanded notion of creativity,72 which is neither individual nor collective but rather apparently singular and de nitively plural.



If plurality is a fundamental aspect of Ogland’s modus operandi the group of works discussed in this last chapter celebrate this aspect like no other before. Bringing the unfolding and multifac- eted side of her practice to its ultimate state, the reasons behind the decision to call this group of works “Cabinet” are mainly two. The rst one is connected to the artist’s desire to worship objects that are consequently charged by talismanic power, whether it be a mirror, a needle, or cabinet—a wooden piece of furniture with many compartments and drawers, designed and built by her father when she was a child and now belonging to her. The second one reinforces Ogland’s dialogue with the history of art and speci cally with the Renaissance and with the term “cabinets of curiosi- ties.” Belonging to the era that preceded the inception of the museum, the cabinets of curiosities were rooms hosting personal encyclopedic collections. Here again two issues related to Ogland’s practice emerge: the rst one is a quasi-animist, anti-modernist lack of hierarchies and categories between different kinds of objects existing in space73 and therefore the desire to erase hierarchies, categories, boundaries, divisions, dichotomies is a very strong one; the second one is the consid- eration of the cabinets of curiosities as proto-exhibitions, which connects this notion to Ogland’s curatorial activities and generally to her desire to alternate the notion of singularity—mastered through the act of painting—with that of multiplicity, which in art reaches its climax through ex- hibition making.74 Speaking of erasing hierarchies, certainly there is a strong connection between this works and Post-structuralism and in fact Ogland’s main source of inspiration for this group of paintings is Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas [The Maids of Honor] (1656), which is the cover artwork and the title of the rst part of Michel Foucault’s masterpiece Les Mots et les Choses : Une archéologie des sciences humaines [The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences] (1966).75 Thanks to this connection we understand the hyperbole76 through which Ogland has created several variations of the same subject: the rst set of cabinet paintings—positive and neg- ative77—features a representation of the wooden piece of furniture together with other objects such as a self-portrait,78 a mirror, and a candle; the second set reiterates the same subject but this time the entire picture plane is dark, except some moments of light coming from painted candles displayed on the cabinet; the third set sees depictions of the mirror79 belonging to Ogland’s family since four generations, the surface of which re ects the upper side of the cabinet; the fourth and ultimate set sees all the aforementioned elements represented next to each other alongside other motifs that previously appeared in her works. Underlining her desire to rede ne the structure of painting is the presence, in these paintings, of both the mirror and the Oracle, which means that the painting features a painting of a mirror and a painting of a painting of a mirror. In other words Ogland’s cabinet paintings are in fact meta-paintings, paintings-within-the-painting, paintings beyond the limits of painting. When we speak about meta-painting we nd another connection between Ogland’s work and Foucault’s aforementioned book. While its rst part is entitled “Las Meninas,” the rst chapter of the third part, entitled “Representing,”80 is an analysis of Cervant- es’s Don Quixote (1605–15), whose second part, written 10 years after the rst and as a response to a fraudulent, unof cial sequel written pseudonymously by somebody else, was written with the use of “meta- ction,” a literary device that makes the characters in the story familiar with the publication of the rst part of the book. Through this notion of ‘meta’, whether meta-painting or meta- ction, we nally access the core of Ylva Ogland’s practice: the more we think we know, the more we need to discover. The moment of revelation is actually provoking even more doubts. While we seek clarity, we reach confusions. Things are never as they really seem, even in front of a mirror. As the Oracle says: “It is at the end of the road when the journey begins... the beginning is now what it is, and from here follows what comes.” 



* Each chapter includes 8 endnotes; the number 8 is a reference to ∞, the symbol of infinity. 


1) Ogland’s palette can be considered a contemporary take on “grisaille,” a term defining paintings and frescoes executed en- tirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey. For a contemporary take on this topic see the exhibi- tion Grisaille organized by Alison M. Gingeras at Luxembourg & Dayan gallery spaces in New York and London in 2011. For a historical perspective see the exhibition Gray is the Color. An Exhibition of Grisaille Painting 13th–20th Centuries organized by Jean-Patrice Marandel at the Institute for the Arts at Rice Uni- versity in Houston in 1973. Both exhibitions were accompanied by a publication.
2) “A certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make what- ever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost with- out any thought about it”; Daniel Javitch (ed.), Baldesar Casti- glione, The Book of the Courtier (trans. Charles S. Singleton) (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002): 32.
3) Epitomized by Derek Jarman’s movie Caravaggio (1986), the reevaluation of Mannerism in 1980s went hand in hand with the raise of post-structuralism in philosophy and post-modernism in culture at large. You can even compare Rosso Fiorentino’s rendering of the human body to Judith Butler’s gender theories. See: Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990).
4) There is a very interesting interconnection between Ogland’s relation to post-structuralism and the presence of the gaze in most of her work. First of all, after French philosopher Jean- Paul Sartre, French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan was one of the main theorists of the gaze and his ideas were consequently implemented by Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, two protagonists of French post-structuralism; secondly, Lacan had direct, albeit finally conflictive, relationships with Gilles Deleuze and especially with Félix Guattari, other two protagonists of French post-structuralism. While Guattari started as a pure Lacanist his major book L’Anti- Œdipe: Capitalisme et schizophrénie [Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia] (1972), written together with Deleuze, was deeply criticizing Lacan’s positions. See also: Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Être et le Néant : Essai d’ontologie phénoménologique [Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology] (1943); Jacques Lacan, Le séminaire. Livre XI. Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse [The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis] (1973); Jacques Derrida, L’animal que donc je suis (2006); Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la Prison [Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison] (1975). Furthermore, Ogland’s use of the gaze can be connected to Caravaggio’s oeuvres. In this regard, particularly brilliant is Arthur C. Danto’s review of Caravaggio’s Secrets written by Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit and published by The MIT Press in 2001. In his review Danto writes: “The characters in Caravaggio’s paintings are often connected through gazes and pointing fingers, but if these are often ‘ambiguously focused,’ as Bersani and Dutoit suggest, the question arises as to whether the artist was technically ‘unable’ to show the gaze as striking its target or simply ‘unwilling.’ And if the latter, how are we to explain the meaning of the object decentered from the gaze? I found, by serendipity, a possible explanation in an unlikely source—the comic novel Bridget Jones’s Diary, in which the diarist tries on a dress in a room where others are doing the same thing. ‘I hate communal changing rooms,’ she writes. ‘Everyone stares sneakily at each other’s bodies, but no one ever meets anyone’s eye.’” Arthur C. Danto (review of) “Caravaggio’s Gaze,” The Lingua Franca Book Review (Fall 1998): available online (last access January 2, 2015).
5) Although very different in its premises and goals, it might be interesting to compare Ogland’s early portraits to Giulio Paolini’s Giovane che guarda Lorenzo Lotto [Young Man Looking at Lorenzo Lotto] (1967), in which the artist presented a black and white photograph of Lotto’s famous piece Ritratto di giovane [Portrait of a young man] (1506) and use language—via its reve- latory title—to conceptually charge the gaze of the subject, the young man, directed to the artist.
6) Within the discourse on portraiture and its related hierar- chies—artist and muse, artist and artwork, activity and passivi- ty—great consideration should be given to the portrait that Pab- lo Picasso did between 1905 and 1906 of his patron and advisor Gertrude Stein, who authored a literary portrait of Picasso enti- tled If I Told Him, first published in Vanity Fair in 1924.
7) Some tribes believe that photography has the power to steal the soul of the person photographed. In the language of the Kayapo tribe that lives alongside the Xingu River in the eastern part of the Amazon Rainforest, “akaron kaba” not only means “to take a photo” but that it also means “to steal a soul.”
8) Ogland was born in Umeå. The city—like many parts of Northern Sweden including the counties of Västerbotten and Norrbotten—was probably settled by nomadic Sami people, although they were, for large parts of the year, herding their reindeer in the inland mountainous parts of modern Westrobothnia. Furthermore Ogland’s use of the tipi-tent comes from her daughter Sibylla. By appropriating an object used by her child, Ogland transfers Sibylla’s gaze into her work. 

9) The translation of the Greek word ξενα [xenía] is “guest-friendship.” In ancient Greece this word was used to de- fine a specific kind of hospitality that is devoted to people who are far from their home. In Greek mythology this concept ap- pears several times. In his role as protector of the travelers, Zeus is called “Zeus Xenios” and he embodies the religious obligation to be hospitable to those who are traveling. In the Odyssey the concept of Xenia—and the breach of Xenia—reoccurs several times in connection to the house of Odysseus, as well as Circe, Calypso, and Nausicaä. This concept appears also in Christian- ity especially in the Gospel according to Matthew (25:34–36): “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hun- gry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”
10) “Remember {that you have} to die,” this is the most accredit- ed translation of the Medieval Latin motto memento mori. A fundamental aspect of asceticism, the remembering of death is used to cultivate a detachment from mundane aspects of life, turning the focus on immortality. Usually the depiction of fruits and flowers has this function, they are “reminder of perishing,” espe- cially if enriched by the representation of a skull; these paintings are usually called Vanitas [vanity in Latin] although this name specifically refers to highly symbolic still-life paintings created in the Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centu- ries. Although Ogland’s representing gallery Fruit and Flower Deli took the name from the previous tenant of its space—a fruit and flower delicatessen in New York Lower East Side—it can also bee seen as a homage to the Vanitas paintings.
11) Another connection between Caravaggio and Ogland is the depiction of cadavers. In Ogland’s case it refers to a series of paintings depicting her father’s dead body.
12) Although very different in many ways, Ogland’s depiction of objects can be associated to the art of Giorgio Morandi; this as- sociation becomes particularly meaningful for two reasons: the first reason is a kind of devotion for objects—Morandi’s bottles versus Ogland’s mirror—which can find many connections, from animism to speculative realism; the second reason is the under- standing of art as a force that refuses linearity and progressivity; in other words Morandi’s paintings are the perfect example of ‘conservative revolutions.’ Furthermore his work has recently been put under the spotlight by many sides of the art field: in 2008 the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized a major ret- rospective of his work; in 2009 artist Tacita Dean went to Gi- orgio Morandi’s studio on Via Fondazza in Bologna, where he lived and worked for 50 years, and created the films Still Life and Day for Night; in 2013 The Brain of dOCUMENTA (13) featured works by Morandi and the same year artist Hamza Halloubi cre- ated the video installation Nature Morte about Morandi.
13) The relationship between Ogland’s practice and the distill- ery of vodka will be analyzed in the seventh chapter entitled “Snöfrid.”
14) In connection to Ogland’s use of pornography in her work: “James’s sex scenes are not incidental, they are the meat of the plot, the crux of the conflict, the key to at least one of and possibly both the central characters. It is a sex book. It is not a book with sex in it. The French author Cath- erine Millet wrote: ‘For me, a pornographic book is function- al, written to help you to get excited. If you want to speak about sex in a novel or any “ambitious” writing, today, in the 21st century, you must be explicit. You cannot be meta- phorical any longer.’ I’m not sure James’s writing is that am- bitious, but she has certainly understood the bit about not being metaphorical.” Zoe Williams, “Why women love Fifty Shades of Grey,” The Guardian (Friday, July 6, 2012): available online (last access January 8, 2015).
15) The use of the word “Technicolor”—the color motion pic- ture process invented in 1916—in connection to this series of still lifes must be understood in relation to Ogland’s interest in the cinematic aspect of painting, which must be separated by her interest in certain movies, an interest we will refer to later on. Here each still life, painted to look almost the same, can also be- come a movie still. 
16) In the Vanitas paintings, the candle carries a lot of different meanings; when burning it indicates the passing of time as well as the faith in God; in the second case this meaning is directly connected to the so-called “sanctuary lamp” (also known as al- tar lamp, everlasting light, or eternal flame), which is a light that shines before the altar of sanctuaries in many denominations of Christian worship places, although this symbol originally comes from Judaism; when extinguished, it means death, the loss of virginity, and the corruption of matter. 


17) Many of Ogland’s works are painted after photographs of her family album; in order to twist the source of her practice, some paintings are executed as if they were the negative of a photographic image; the artist define them “reversed painting.”
18) Cinema is often present in Ogland’s practice, particular- ly in the oeuvres of filmmakers like Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Stanley Kubrick; the artist defines this rela- tionship through the common interest in the use of mirrors and reflections. On the occasion of Diverse Variations of Other Spaces, her exhibition at Röda Sten Konsthall in Gothenburg, Annika Wik gave a lecture in which she juxtaposed specific scenes of Bergman’s Viskningar och Rop [Cries and Whispers] (1973) to Ogland’s paintings—which all had a strong presence of red—exhibited in the space.
19) For a deeper understanding of Ogland’s desire to create per- sonal mythologies through her work see: Nicola Trezzi, Ylva Ogland (Stockholm: Orosdi-Back, 2012).
20) Fragmentation is another very important issue in Ogland’s work and it appears through different channels, whether as a broken image (see chapter 5) or through the creation of images that function as analepsis, a term that defines the narrator’s deci- sion to interjected a scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point in the story; usually in cinema they are called “flashbacks.”
21) This issue will be analyzed in chapter 8.
22) Regarding the notion of repetition: “Repetition is not generality. Repetition and generality must be distinguished in several ways. Every formula which implies their confusion is re- grettable: for example, when we say that two things are as alike as two drops of water; or when we identify ‘there is only a sci- ence of the general’ with ‘there is only a science of that which is repeated.’ Repetition and resemblance are different in kind— extremely so. [...] With respect to this power, repetition inte- riorizes and thereby reverses itself: as Péguy says, it is not Fed- eration Day which commemorates or represents the fall of the Bastille, but the fall of the Bastille which celebrates and repeats in advance all the Federation Days; or Monet’s first water lily which repeats all the others. Generality, as generality of the par- ticular, thus stands opposed to repetition as universality of the singular. The repetition of a work of art is like a singularity with- out concept, and it is not by chance that a poem must be learned by heart.” Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (trans. Paul Patton) (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994): 1–2. Regarding the notion of Visage: “The music and thought of Luciano Berio present a rich field of possibilities for thinking through the implications of Gilles Deleuze’s writings on the arts and particularly those written about music. The handful of allu- sions of Berio’s works (such as Visage and Coro) that are scattered across A Thousand Plateaus present us with a compelling evidence of Deleuze’s interest in Berio’s art.” Brian Hulse and Nick Nes- bitt (eds.), Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Theory and Philosophy of Music (Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2010): 227–228.
23) While the historical connection to this work is The Lamentation over the Dead Christ (1490) by Andrea Mantegna—who often used grisaille in his paintings and like Ogland was not only a painter (he studied archeology)—the contemporary one is The Morgue by An- dres Serrano. Last but not least the group of paintings devoted to her father’s death are extremely similar in color and composition to a series of paintings by Cluj-Napoca-based artist Adrian Ghenie dedicated to the funeral of Marcel Duchamp.
24) While in the fifth chapter Ogland’s curatorial practice is put in relation to her painting practice and specifically to her self-portraits, it is important to understand how curatorial practice in general continues the legacy of ready-made, détour- nement and appropriation. See Nicola Trezzi “Forms and Formats: The artist as curator and vice versa,” in AA VV, John Newsom: Crescendo (Milan/New York: Charta/The R. Massey Foundation): 6–19. 


25) The notions of “expanded painting” and “{a} painting as an object behaving in space” are related to each other. On one hand, the term “expanded painting” was coined by Giancarlo Politi and Helena Kontova on the occasion of the first Prague Biennale in 2003; the title of the biennial main section since its first edition (so far there were five editions and Ogland partic- ipated in its fifth one in 2011), “expanded painting” defines all artists taking the medium of painting to new horizons, inter- twining it with installation, performance and other languages. Politi and Kontova were inspired by Rosalind Krauss’s essays entitled “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” and published in the spring 1979 issue of October; Krauss writes: “With the passing of time these sweeping operations got a little harder to perform. As the 1960s began to lengthen into the 1970s and ‘sculpture’ began to be piles of thread waste on the floor, or sawed redwood timbers rolled into the gallery, or torn of earth excavated from the desert, or stockades of logs surrounded by firepits, the word sculpture became harder to pronounce—but not really much harder.” Rosalind Krauss, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” in Donald Preziosi (ed.), The Art of Art History: Critical Anthology (New York: Oxford Press, 1998): 282. On the other hand, Lu- cio Fontana’s “cuts” and Alberto Burri’s “sacs” are probably the best examples of “{a} painting as an object behaving in space.” Another good avenue for this attitude is “Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962,” organized by Paul Schimmel at MOCA Los Angeles in 2013. “Since the Renaissance, the picture plane, the flat surface on which the artist applies pigment, has been invested with symbolic meaning. In On Painting (1435–36), Leon Battista Alberti conceived the picture plane in humanist terms as a window through which the observer could view an il- lusionistic image of the world, subjected to the order and control of the pictorial grid. Framing this conception from a modernist perspective, in his influential 1960 essay ‘Modernist Painting,’ Clement Greenberg asserted that ‘Old Masters had sensed that it was necessary to preserve what is called the integrity of the picture plane: that is, to signify the enduring presence of flatness underneath and above the most vivid illusion of three-dimen- sional space.’ And although modernist artists had cast illusion aside, ‘the stressing of the ineluctable flatness of the surface... remained... Because flatness was the only condition painting shared with no other art, Modernist painting oriented itself to flatness as it did to nothing else.’” Paul Schimmel, “Painting the Void,” in Paul Schimmel (ed.), Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962 (New York/Los Angeles: Skira Rizzoli/ MOCA): 188.
26) Despite the relationship between this issue and abstraction, symbolist and figurative French painter Maurice Denis once said: “Remember that a painting, before being a battle horse, a nude woman or any anecdote, is essentially a plane surface cov- ered with colors assembled in a certain order.”
27) Nockeby has a strong connotation in Swedish society; it is known to be an area associated to the Swedish right wing upper class bourgeoisie and it was the home of Swedish politician Per Albin Hansson among others. However in the late 1960s this same area was giving birth to a group of youngsters to which Ogland’s father belonged; this group had a subversive attitude towards Swedish conservative society; at the age of 16 he joined the Paris 68 demonstrations and consequently enrolled and got accepted to Konstfack (one of the art academies), both with- out getting permission from his parents. The house painted by Ogland in Loka (Southern Norrland) is part of a village in which many members of this group moved in their adulthood; a sort of retreat, it carried an independent and alternative lifestyle and it became the background for the birth of political movements such as the green party.
28) Ogland’s use of the gold leaf or ‘gilding’ in this series echoes the style of the so-called “Russian Icons,” which are paintings, usually on wooden panels, featuring scenes and characters relat- ed to Christianity, mostly Orthodox Christianity, mixing parts that are painted in a very flat manner—following the rules of “Byzantine art”—and parts—usually the background—which are completely covered by gold or other precious materials.
29) Mobile Art Production was a Swedish non-for-profit orga- nization that invited artists to create site-specific projects in lo- cations that were not traditionally devoted to the presentation and display of visual art. MAP’s main references are New York organizations Public Art Fund and Creative Time but also the younger Art Production Fund, also in New York.
30) It is very difficult to define Ogland’s project at the now- defunct gallery Brändström Stockholm a ‘solo’ show; in fact part of the space was used to host a replica of Fruit and Flower Deli, a private gallery run by Rodrigo Mallea Lira; at the time the gallery was located in New York while now it is located in Stockholm.
31) “The seemingly exclusive alternative between the private and the public corresponds to an equally pernicious political al- ternative between capitalism and socialism. It is often assumed that the only cure for the ills of capitalist society is public reg- ulation and Keynesian and/or socialist economic management; and, conversely, socialist maladies are presumed to be treat- able only by private property and capitalist control. Socialism and capitalism, however, even though they have at times been mingled together and at others occasioned bitter conflicts, are both regimes of property that exclude the common. The politi- cal project of instituting the common, which we develop in this book, cuts diagonally across these false alternatives—neither private nor public, neither capitalist nor socialist—and opens a new space for politics.” Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009): ix. This understanding of the dichoto- my public versus private can be also applied to labor versus lei- sure, and singular versus plural.
32) Another contemporary female artist whose work is connect- ed to Munch is Tracey Emin and especially her famous video Homage to Edvard Munch and All My Dead Children (1998). In a conversation with the author, Ogland mentioned Emin among the artists who influenced her practice. 


33) The Vasari Corridor is a corridor—designed by Giorgio Vasa- ri and built in six months in 1564 as a link between Palazzo Vec- chio with Palazzo Pitti in Florence—currently hosting the Gal- leria degli Uffizi collection of artists’ self-portraits, which was initiated by the Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in the second part of the 17th century and it is still expanding. It includes works by contemporary artists.
34) In his masterpiece Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e ar- chitettori da Cimabue insino a’ tempi nostri [The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times] (1550), Giorgio Vasari wrote: “Then came upon him the desire to see Rome, hearing men greatly praise the works of the masters there, especially of Raffaello and Michael Angelo, and he told his desire to his old uncles. They, seeing nothing in the desire that was not praiseworthy, agreed, but said that it would be well to take something with him, which would gain him an introduction to artists. And the counsel seeming good to Francesco, he painted three pictures, two small and one very large. Besides these, inquiring one day into the subtleties of art, he began to draw himself as he appeared in a barber’s con- vex glass. He had a ball of wood made at a turner’s and divid- ed in half, and on this he set himself to paint all that he saw in the glass, and because the mirror enlarged everything that was near and diminished what was distant, he painted the hand a little large. Francesco himself, being of very beautiful counte- nance and more like an angel than a man, his portrait on the ball seemed a thing divine, and the work altogether was a happy suc- cess, having all the luster of the glass, with every reflection and the light and shade so true, that nothing more could be hoped for from the human intellect. The picture being finished and packed, together with the portrait, he set out, accompanied by one of his uncles, for Rome; and as soon as the Chancellor of the Pope had seen the pictures, he introduced the youth and his un- cle to Pope Clement, who seeing the works produced and Fran- cesco so young, was astonished, and all his court with him. And his Holiness gave him the charge of painting the Pope’s hall.”
35) “While plenty of artists have attempted to cover Kippen- berger (to borrow Rob Pruitt’s analogy between art and pop music), like Warhol he somewhat paradoxically represents both a model and a singular, unrepeatable position. Whether show- ing up drunk and acting rowdy at an opening, spouting off ma- cho jokes, or adopting a brazenly self-promoting posture, many of the so-called YBAs, including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, and Tracey Emin, latched onto Kippenberger’s behaviorial tactics as hallmarks of their artistic identities. Although this ‘cover’ is rather superficial, Emin perhaps best exemplifies the Kippen- bergian blurring of work and persona.” Alison M. Gingeras, “Performing the Self: Martin Kippenberger,” Artforum (Octo- ber 2004): available online (last access, January 7, 2015).
36) Several works by Ogland are referring to photography, see her notion of “reversed painting” discussed in the first chapter.
37) Rodrigo Mallea Lira’s role in Ogland’s practice reached its climax with a series of works to be discussed in the next chapter.
38) The fact that Vasari’s most famous work is Autoritratto [Self-portrait] (1566–68), currently part of the collection of Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, is not a coincidence.
39) Vasari dedicated Le vite [The Lives] to Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. According to contemporary standards he was his art advisor. Apparently a similar role was played by artist Martin Maloney, in relation to Charles Saatchi and his collection of YBA (Young British Artists).
40) Theoretically we could compare the artist’s emancipation in the Renaissance to the current emancipation of the curator and exhibition maker. If the artist moved from the anonymity of the artisan to the visibility of the author—and Vasari’s aforemen- tioned book encapsulated that moment and made it {art} histor- ical—the curator transformed its role from being a museum bu- reaucrat, a collection bookkeeper, an exhibition organizer, to an exhibition maker, a curator, an auteur, transforming ideas into exhibitions that include artworks as well as objects. Although quite dissimilar from Vasari’s masterpiece, two books could be an appropriate counterpart: Hans Ulrich Obrist’s A Brief History of Curating (2009) and Carolee Thea’s Foci: Interviews with ten in- ternational curators (2001), which was followed by its sequel, On Curating (2010). 


41) Although Ogland usually uses terms that are directly con- nected to the ancient Greeks—see the project Fruit and Flower Deli Odyssey—it is interesting to connect her use of mytholo- gy to her Scandinavian heritage, especially to the mythological stories preceding the Christianization of Scandinavia and con- nected to the Norsemen. Main characters of this mythology are the gods Thor and Odin, who resides in Asgard, which can be somehow compared to Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. Another important side of the Norse mythology—which can be linked to Ogland’s use of her family events, and the idea of saga [the Viking word for epic]—is the figure of Sigurd or Siegfried is the ancestry of the Nibelung, which Wagner used as the main subject of his opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen [The Ring of the Nibelung] (1848–74).
42) The idea of a magic and powerful object that goes from one generation to the following reoccurs in many narrations of Western society. Probably the most successful example is J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy cycle including The Hobbit (1937), and The Lord of the Rings (1937–49). 43) The notion of talisman in connection to art history cannot be taken into consideration without mentioning Paul Sérusi- er’s homonymous work—formerly titled The Bois d’Amour à Pont-Aven [Landscape at the Bois d’Amour at Pont-Aven]—and painted ‘under the influence’ of Paul Gauguin in Pont-Aven in 1888. In fact it took this title after Sérusier showed it to the other members of Les Nabis [from the word “nabi,” prophet in Hebrew and Arabic], a group of post-impressionist painters— Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, and Édouard Vuillard—work- ing in France in the 1890s.
44) In 2010, after the conclusion of the Fruit and Flower Deli Odyssey, which started after the gallery closed its space in New York and took place in Greece and Germany, The Oracle was auctioned at the Stockholm branch of Bukowskis; however it remained unsold as if the object—rejected, cursed—decided to resist its own fate.
45) The final scene of Profondo Rosso [Deep Red], which reveals the identity of the murder, is based on the view of a wall painting through its reflection on a mirror.
46) “Modernity comes in as many versions as there are thinkers or journalists, yet all its definitions point, in one way or another, to the passage of time. The adjective ‘modern’ designates a new regime, an acceleration, a rupture, a revolution in time. When the word ‘modern,’ ‘modernization,’ or ‘modernity’ appears, we are defining, by contrast, an archaic and stable past. Fur- thermore, the word is always being thrown into the middle of a fight, in a quarrel where there are winners and losers, Ancients and Moderns. ‘Modern’ is thus doubly asymmetrical: it desig- nates a break in the regular passage of time, and it designates a combat in which there are victors and vanquished. If so many of our contemporaries are reluctant to use this adjective today, if we qualify it with prepositions, it is because we feel less confident in our ability to maintain that double asymmetry: we can no longer point to time’s irreversible arrow, nor can we award a prize to the winners. In the countless quarrels between Ancients and Mod- erns, the former come out winners as often as the latter now, and nothing allows us to say whether revolutions finish off the old regimes or bring them to fruition. Hence the skepticism that is oddly called ‘post’ modern even though it does not know wheth- er or not it is capable of taking over from the Moderns.” Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (trans. Catherine Porter) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993): 10. Follow- ing Latour’s theories, there are two ways of looking at Ogland’s treatment of the mirror through its depiction: the animist way and the speculative realist way. A movement in contemporary philosophy, “Speculative Realism” or “Object-Oriented Philos- ophy” is based on devaluation of anthropocentrism, especially in connection to the notion of “human finitude,” which is directly connected to Immanuel Kant. Linked to this movement are Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman, and Quentin Meillassoux, who all dealt with Latour’s theories.
47) The work of Ylva Ogland emerged in a time that is witness- ing the decline of the notion of ideology. The current fragmen- tation and porosity, which sees the raise of ‘personal ideolo- gies’—an oxymoron since no ideology can be personal—is also witnessing the decline of representative democracy. In this case representation is more and more substituted by identification. Blatantly speaking, people don’t vote anymore for the politician they think will represent them but rather they vote for the can- didate they would like to identify with.
48) Regarding this last passage, two sources need to be men- tioned: the first one comes from Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historiæ [The Natural History] (circa AD 77–79); the second one comes from Honoré de Balzac’s Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu [The Unknown Masterpiece] (1831). “In art-historical tradi- tion, painted curtains have functioned as trompe-l’œils, that is, accurate representations of objects that can fool the eye into mistaking a painted object with reality. The origin of this asso- ciation lies in Pliny the Elder’s account in Historia naturalis of a contest between the two reigning artists of classical antiquity, Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Renowned for their ability to represent life-like images, the two artists compete in seeking to paint the most deceptive painting. Zeuxis renders an image of grapes so lifelike that birds fly up to peck on them whereupon Parrhasius produces a realistic image of a curtain that fools Zeuxis into attempting to put it aside. This tale exemplifies art’s ability to replicate nature, and glorifies the artist’s skill in creating an im- age of such illusionistic power that man is deceived into believ- ing that the painted image is ‘real.’ The irony of such a theme is that this visual deception ultimately undermines the paint- ing’s subject by reminding us that this is only a picture.” Rima Marija Girnius, Rembrandt’s Spaces (Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest, 2007): 156. “‘Come in, come in,’ cried the old man. He was ra- diant with delight. ‘My work is perfect. I can show her now with pride. Never shall a painter, brushes, colors, light, and canvas produce a rival for Catherine Lescault, the beautiful courtesan!’ Porbus and Poussin, burning with eager curiosity, hurried into a vast studio. Everything was in disorder and covered with dust, but they saw a few pictures here and there upon the wall. They stopped first of all in admiration before the life-size figure of a woman partially draped. ‘Oh! never mind that.’ Said Frenhofer; ‘that is a rough daub that I made, a study, a pose, it is nothing. These are my failures,’ he went on, indicating the enchanting compositions upon the wall of the studio. This scorn for such works of art struck Porbus and Poussin dumb with amazement. They looked around for the picture of which he had spoken, and could not discover it. ‘Look here!’ said the old man. His hair was disordered, his face aglow with a more than human exaltation, his eyes glittered, he breathed hard like a young lover frenzied by love. “Aha!’ he cried, ‘you did not expect to see such perfection! You are looking for a picture, and you see a woman before you. There is such depth in that canvas, the atmosphere is so true that you cannot distinguish it from the air that surrounds us. Where is art? Art has vanished, it is invisible! It is the form of a living girl that you see before you. Have I not caught the very hues of life, the spirit of the living line that defines the figure. Is there not the effect produced there like that which all natural objects present in the atmosphere about them, or fishes in the water? Do you see how the figure stands out against the background? Does it not seem to you that you could pass your hand along the back? But then for seven years I studied and watched how the daylight blends with the objects on which it falls. And the hair, the light pours over it like flood, does it not? ... Ah! She breathed, I am sure that she breathed! Her breast—ah, see! Who would not fall on his knees before her? Her pulses throb. She will rise to her feet. Wait!’ ‘Do you see anything’ Poussin asked of Porbus. ‘No ... do you?’ ‘I see nothing.’ The two painters left the old man in his ecstasy, and tried to ascertain whether the light that fell full upon the canvas had in some way neutralised all the effects for them. They moved to the right and left of the picture; then they came in front, bending down and standing upright by turns. ‘Yes, yes, it is really canvas,’ said Frenhofer, who mistook the nature of this minute investigation. ‘Look! The canvas is on a stretcher, here is the easel; indeed, here are my colors, my brush- es,’ and he took up a brush and held it out to them, all unsuspi- cious of their thought. ‘The old lansquenet is laughing at us,’ said Poussin, coming one more towards the supposed picture. ‘I can see nothing there but confused masses of color and a multitude of fantastical lines that go to make a deal wall of paint.’ ‘We are mistaken, look!’ said Porbus. In a corner of the canvas as they came nearer, they distinguished a bare foot emerging from the chaos of color, half-tints and vague shadows that made up a dim formless fog. Its living delicate beauty held them spellbound. This fragment that had escaped an incomprehensible, slow, and gradual destruction seemed to them like the Parian marble torso of some Venus emerging from ashes of a ruined town.” Honoré de Balzac, The Unknown Masterpiece (Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu) and other stories (trans. Ellen Marriage with a frontispiece etched by W. Boucher) (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1901): 28–30. 


49) This refrain comes from Beyoncé’s song Me, Myself and I (2003); although there is an older song with the same title writ- ten in 1937 and popularized by Billy Holiday, the mention of this specific one by Beyoncé refers to her third studio album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), which first release consisted of a dual disc; the first disc, “I Am...,” featured mid-tempo pop and R&B bal- lads; the second disc, “Sasha Fierce,” took the name of Beyon- cé’s on-stage alter ego and included up-tempo electro-pop and Euro-pop songs. The decision to use the word “refrain” instead of the more music-related “chorus” is connected to its etymolo- gy [from the Vulgar Latin refringere, to repeat].
50) The name Snöfrid is a combination of two Norse words: snö [snow] and frid [piece]; associated together they refer to the kind of serenity and tranquility that snow can generate in people. An ancient Norse name Snöfrid can also mean “beauteous” and “loved.” This name has been used in Northern Scandinavia and Finland and its presence in this area is related to the Sami people; apparently there was even a Sami queen named Snöfrid, who reigned in 800–900 AC. Not a very common name, it has an Icelandic version—Snæfríður—and a Norwegian version— Snefrid. Snöfrid is also Ogland’s middle name and during her childhood the artist started to refer to it as if it was another version of her own self, an infantile kind of ‘alterity.’ As a child Ogland used to sing songs about her alter ego Snöfrid that were composed for her by her aunt.
51) The use of this word, which defines a realm of administra- tive autonomy, authority or control within the Internet, comes from the desire to link Ogland’s oeuvres—which have an appar- ent conservatism towards digital culture and new media—with issues that are really connected to what is happening now, from intellectual property to second life. In fact the etymology of the word “domain” defines a land that belongs to a lord and through this link we can go back to Ogland’s linkage to mythology and its related idea of a parallel kingdom, whether is the Mount Olympus or Asgard. 52) “That evening Mr. Utterson came home to his bachelor house in sombre spirits and sat down to dinner without relish. It was his custom of a Sunday, when this meal was over, to sit close by the fire, a volume of some dry divinity on his reading-desk, until the clock of the neighboring church rang out the hour of twelve, when he would go soberly and gratefully to bed. On this night, however, as soon as the cloth was taken away, he took up a candle and went into his business-room. There he opened his safe, took from the most private part of it a document endorsed on the envelope as Dr. Jekyll’s Will, and sat down with a clouded brow to study its contents. The will was holograph, for Mr. Ut- terson, though he took charge of it now that it was made, had refused to lend the least assistance in the making of it; it provid- ed not only that, in case of the decease of Henry Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S., etc., all his possessions were to pass into the hands of his ‘friend and benefactor Edward Hyde,’ but that in case of Dr. Jekyll’s ‘disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months,’ the said Edward Hyde should step into the said Henry Jekyll’s shoes without further delay and free from any burthen or obligation, beyond the payment of a few small sums to the members of the doctor’s household. This document had long been the lawyer’s eyesore. It offended him both as a lawyer and as a lover of the sane and customary sides of life, to whom the fanciful was the immodest. And hitherto it was his ignorance of Mr. Hyde that had swelled his indignation; now, by a sudden turn, it was his knowledge. It was already bad enough when the name was but a name of which he could learn no more. It was worse when it began to be clothed upon with detestable attributes; and out of the shifting, insub- stantial mists that had so long baffled his eye, there leaped up the sudden, definite presentment of a fiend. ‘I thought it was mad- ness,’ he said, as he replaced the obnoxious paper in the safe, ‘and now I begin to fear it is disgrace.’” Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ( Planet eBook): 12–13.
53) “Past and future (apart from the consequences of their con- tent) are as empty and unreal as any dream; but present is only the boundary between the two, having neither extension nor duration. In just the same way, we shall also recognize the same emptiness in all the other forms of the principle of sufficient reason, and shall see that, like time, space also, and like this, ev- erything that exists simultaneously in space and time, and hence everything that proceeds from causes or motives, has only a rel- ative existence, is only through and for another like itself, i.e., only just as enduring. In essence this view is old; in it Heraclitus lamented the eternal flux of things; Plato spoke with contempt of its object as that which for ever becomes, but never is; Spi- noza called it mere accidents of the sole substance that alone is and endures; Kant opposed to the thing-in-itself that which is known as mere phenomenon; finally, the ancient wisdom of the Indians declares that ‘it is Mâyâ, the veil of deception, which covers the eyes of mortals, and causes them to see a world of which one cannot say either that it is or that it is not; for it is like a dream, like the sunshine on the sand which the traveler from a distance takes to be water, or like the piece of rope on the ground which he regards as a snake.’ [...] But of course the world does not exhibit itself to knowledge which has sprung from the will to serve it, and which comes to the individual as such in the same way as it finally discloses itself to the inquirer, namely as the ob- jectivity of the one and only will-to-live, which he himself is. On the contrary, the eyes of the uncultured individual are clouded, as the Indians say, by the veil of Maya.” Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation (trans. E. F. J. Payne) (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969): 7–8/352.
54) “Snöfrid: A second by Mills, they had sex with flies and thus was born the ashes, which then turned into fire, water jets and the earth was created—the universe.” Nicola Trezzi, Ylva Ogland (Stockholm: Orosdi-Back, 2012): 10. According to the Greek Mythology Perseus was conceived by Danaë and Zeus, who came to her as golden rain while she was kept in prison by her father King Acrisius of Argos; not only this example reinforces Ogland’s connection to mythology, it also positions her in the history of art, considering the fact that many artists—from Cor- reggio to Rembrandt, from Titian to Klimt—depicted this myth- ological event. Furthermore we can link mythology with por- nography through the term “Golden Shower” which is the act of urinating on another person, usually for sexual gratification, or as a way of humiliation.
55) “Absolut,” the most famous vodka brand, is produced in Sweden and it has a long relationship with visual art; further- more absolut [absolutely], together with other words such as ajuste, is often used in Swedish colloquial language and it defines the strive for what is pure, transparent and distilled.
56) “‘I expected this reception,’ said the daemon. ‘All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be sati- ated with the blood of your remaining friends.’” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein ( Planet eBook): 113. The Platonic figure of the demiurge, “the creator,” reoccurs in many moments of our history: from the story of God and Adam in The Book of Genesis to the mythological narration of Prometheus and its relationship to the gods and to humankind, until Mary Shel- ley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). 


57) Although the use of round canvases in this specific series echoes the round mirror used by the artist to actually make the paintings, as well as referencing the peephole, we must keep in mind that the word tondo [round in Italian] has a specific role in the history of painting, especially in the late Florentine Renais- sance and early Mannerism, whose protagonists have been al- ready mentioned in relation to Ogland’s work. If artists started to make round paintings early on it is in this period and in Flor- ence that it became a real trend, especially for painting meant to ‘function’ in domestic environments, another element that is connected to Ogland’s work, especially her projects with MAP as well as her shows at Sabot and at Brändström Stockholm. See: Roberta J. M. Olson, The Florentine Tondo (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000): 83–105.
58) The term “hyper” is already part of the vocabulary of art es- pecially through the Hyper-Realist movement in painting (Mal- colm Morley, Richard Estes, and Chuck Close among others) and sculpture; nevertheless in this specific case it defines the ac- tion of erasing the dialogical and linear understanding of reality; in other words the hyper-realization of a notion means to reach its opposite through its own acceleration or “parcelation”: to see chaos as hyper-order and abstraction as hyper-realism; fur- thermore a hyperbolic understanding of reality denies the idea of “linear time” in order to bring the idea of “elliptical time.”
59) In a text written by Jota Castro and focused on Ogland’s Tondo series he compared the movement of Ogland’s hand on her genitalia to the movement of the hand on the iPhone touch- screen. See: Jota Castro, “Round Circle,” Snöfrid No 2 (2008): available online (last access January 2, 2015).
60) “Painting and other pictorial arts differ from music, though, in some ways that bear on variation. One such difference is that in music, theme and variation are usually contained in a single work, while in painting the theme and variations are almost al- ways separate works. [...] Another relevant difference, that rep- resentation is much more common and more often important in painting that in music, calls for consideration of the relationship between variation and representation. [...] Yes of course a vari- ation on a painting may also represent the painting or its subject of both. And paintings that are not usually variations on each other may function as such under certain circumstances. [...] Likewise, a closed copy normally functions as a picture of or a substitute for the original painting; but when the copy is juxta- posed and carefully compared with the original, certain differ- ences may come to be contrastively exemplified, and the copy may function as a variation. On the other hand, a copy that could hardly serve as a substitute for the original may be clearly a vari- ation upon it. In a copy by an artist in his own style, contrastive exemplification may play a prominent role. Rembrandt studied Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of the Last Supper [...], probably from an engraving, and at least three drawings, progressively diverging from the painting. The final painting [...], far from being a substitute for or memento of the Leonardo, is an inter- pretation of it in Rembrandt’s terms—an exemplary variation.” Nelson Goodman, Catherine Z. Elgin, Reconceptions in Philosophy and Other Arts and Sciences (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publish- ing, 1988): 74–76. Entitled “Variations on Variation—or Picasso back to Bach” this chapter of Goodman and Elgin’s book ad- dresses the notion of variation from music to painting. Further- more it speaks about Rembrandt’s interpretation of Leonardo’s work, which brings up a connection to Ogland’s first work Indi- cator (1997–98).
61) In this specific case Ogland can be associated with artists like Cecily Brown, Jenny Saville and Amy Sillman who, from very dif- ferent positions and with very different intentions, have appropri- ated the language of male artists such as Francis Bacon (Brown), Lucien Freud (Saville), and Willem de Kooning (Sillman) in or- der to twist it through a very unconventional understanding and application of feminist and gender theories.
62) Duchamp’s interest in the naked figure, from his early paint- ings to the Étant donnés, can be considered the perfect embodi- ment of the notion of ‘pornography’ presented in this chapter. Through this scope we can see Duchamp’s oeuvres—from the early works to the ready-mades, from his commitment to exhibi- tion making to his activity as an art dealer, from his Dada objects to his optical devices, from the Étant donnés to the Large Glass—as the outcome of his unique ‘surgical’ analysis of art and of the role of the artist. Perfectly aligned with the use of the word “sur- gical” is the work Female Fig Leaf (1950).
63) The peephole—the voyeuristic device par excellence— appears in many of Ogland’s works; however the project in which this device played a pivotal role is Xenia 1–10 Giorno (2009) part of “Perché Napoli?,” a series of exhibitions organized by Lucie Fontaine at T293 in Naples. On her website, Ogland writes: “This performance project I did in Napoli at T293, and it was curated by Lucie Fontaine. In their storefront gallery. The windows where covered with a wall construction that had one peephole, from the peephole it comes light out to the street so that it caches the eye. In front of the peephole it was a painting placed daily, behind the painting I was sitting painting a new painting. In every painting I used my body as part of the still-life. We where locked in every day from 3pm till 7pm (no one was allowed to enter the gallery). I did one new painting everyday. For ten days. Every painting is named after the day and it is a continuation of my still-life series after Caravaggio, Xenia. The titles are: Xenia primo giorno, Xenia secondo giorno, and so on... one sees the oracle behind the installation. To the left one can see the finished paintings hanging on the wall, and in front it is the most recent painting and a candle to give it light.” (last access February 21, 2015).
64) Whether through mythology or masturbation, the concept of ‘self-generation’ is very important in Ogland’s practice, especially in regard to issues that are shaping the current state of reality. One of the most interesting connections—which apparently has nothing to deal with Ogland’s work—is the newly coined liberalist-friendly term, ‘self-employment’ in which the figure of the employer and that of the employee merge in a new bipolar understanding of Hegel’s Herrschaft und Knechtschaft [Lordship and Bondage] dialectic. 


65) Despite the recent increase of disparate modes of produc- tion within the field of art, painting is often still connected to the lonely figure of the artist working in the studio. At the same time the history of art is peppered by figures—painters—who embodied both the qualities of the genius and that of the entre- preneur, making the studio—the workshop—into an enterprise. See: “The rival workshops themselves, largely family concerns, but taking on youths from outside who wished to become paint- ers or sculptors, acted as stimuli to keep abreast with change.” J. R. Hale, Renaissance Europe: Individual and Society, 1480–1520 (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1977): 261. “Rather than deploring the loss of great Rembrandts or settling for the resolution of the authenticity question, Alp- ers proposes to explain why the misattributed paintings have fooled us for so long. This study is ‘materialist,’ in an unortho- dox sense of that word, in that it analyzes both the materiality of painting and the economic activities of the artist; the econom- ic organization of the art business and Rembrandt’s eccentric place in it. The book’s four chapters each deal with a different aspect of Rembrandt’s active intervention in the status of art: his relation to the materiality of paint, his use of theatricality, the direction of his studio, and his way of creating value on the market.” Mieke Bal (review of), “Svetlana Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1988. Pp. 160; 12 color pls.; 182 black-and-white pls. $29.95,” The Art Bulletin (March 1990, vol. LXXII no 1): 139. “As the site where paintings are slathered and sculptures are wrought, the artist’s studio is a locus of widespread fascination. It’s also a very complicated place. As artists have evolved over the 20th century to embrace installation art, performance, re- lational aesthetics, and other site-specific approaches that nec- essarily occur outside of the studio—ushering in what has been called a ‘post-studio condition’—this onetime site of solitary creativity and material exploration has become a meeting place, where a visit with a curator or critic can turn into a professional negotiation, planning, and development. At the same time, art enthusiasts have an obsessive fascination with the mythology of the artist’s studio, which is documented online and in programs like PBS’s Art21 series with a relish that falls somewhere in be- tween the reverent preservationism of a nature documentary and the romantic escapism of a spread in Vogue.” Ian Wallace, “The Evolution of the Artist’s Studio, From Renaissance Botte- ga to Assembly Line,” Artspace (June 11, 2014): available online (last access, February 22).
66) Ogland’s entourage includes also artist, performer and gal- lery owner Emily Sundblad and Johan Hjerpe, who is also called “Snöfrid’s armor bearer.”
67) “Since the very beginning, Björk has presented her music not only through the distribution of albums and singles, but also through a range of video-clips broadcast by MTV, which was af- firming itself as the leading channel for Generation Y during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Throughout her career Björk has com- missioned videos from ‘creators’ like Michel Gondry (Human Behaviour, 1993; Army of Me, 1995; Isobel, 1995; Jóga, 1997; Bach- elorette, 1997; Declare Independence, 2007), Stéphane Sednaoui (Big Time Sensuality, 1993; Possibly Maybe, 1996), Alexander Mc- Queen (Alarm Call, 1998), Chris Cunningham (All Is Full of Love, 1998), Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin in collabo- ration with M/M (Paris) (Hidden Place, 2001) and Nick Knight (Pagan Poetry, 2001), not to mention her leading role in Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark (2000) and Matthew Barney’s Draw- ing Restraint 9 (2005), which she composed the soundtrack for. To be precise, the way we describe a music video already under- scores the shift of authorship. In fact, all of the aforementioned videos are commonly defined as ‘Björk videos,’ although Björk is technically the subject of the video and not its author. Björk is an exceptional example of shifting authorship because in her case the elements involved—subject, author, artwork, style, narra- tive—are even more intertwined. More than any other musician, Björk has been able to pinpoint a very specific type of stylization while working with different directors, extending to her ongo- ing engagement with a fictional character named Isobel that she performs in Human Behaviour, Isobel and Bachelorette, all videos directed by different authors. From a visual arts perspective, it would be as if the muse became a larger force than the artist. Can Gala be stronger than Salvador Dalí? Is Mont Sainte-Victoire stronger than Paul Cézanne?” Lucie Fontaine, The Nine Talis- mans: Authorship as Rhizomes, Grafts, Venereal Viruses, and Symbi- osis (Stockholm: Fruit and Flower Deli/Eldridge Optician Cre- ative Group, 2011): 15–16.
68) The motto of Fruit and Flower Deli is “Never open always welcome.” In fact the gallery, both in New York and in Stock- holm, has no regular hours, you would find it sometimes open, sometimes closed; in order to succeed and secure access to the space visitors had to email the keeper of the Oracle, hoping that he would open the gate for them.
69) See: Philip Kotler, “Prosumers: A new type of consumer,” The Futurist (September–October 1986): 24–28; Jakob Schil- linger, “The Prosumer Version,” Flash Art International (October 2011): 86–89.
70) In the English language the word “partner” defines “a per- son associated with another or others as a principal or a contrib- utor of capital in a business or a joint venture, usually sharing its risks and profits” as well as “the person with whom one cohab- its in a romantic relationship—a spouse, a husband or a wife.”
71) For a complete analysis of Aristotle’s notions of “potential- ity” and “actuality” see: Joe Sachs, Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Santa Fe, NM: Green Lion Books, 1999).
72) From Jacopo Bellini and his two sons, Andrea and Gentile, and Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi to Dieter Roth—who to- wards the end of his life started to collaborate with his son Bjorn, who consequently after the death of his father started to involve his son (Dieter Roth’s grandson) Oddur—the remote and recent history of art has peculiar examples of family members working together under one name. Another option of “afterlife authen- tic authorship,” which can also include family members but not necessarily, is Pierre Bismuth’s The Bruce Nauman Project (2009) in which he predicted a future where—as happens with fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent or Nicola Trussardi—artists, once dead, will continue to produce artworks under the “artistic direction” of other artists. So if Hedi Slimane is creative director of Yves Saint Laurent and Gaia Trussardi of Trussardi, Bismuth saw Seth Price, Keren Cytter, Cyprien Gaillard and other artists as possible continuators of the Nauman brand. 


73) See endnote 46.
74) See chapter 5 “Ylva.”
75) “Of all the representations represented in the picture this is the only one visible; but no one is looking at it. Upright be- side his canvas, his attention entirely taken up by his model, the painter is unable to see this looking-glass shining so softly be- hind him. The other figures in the picture are also, for the most part, turned to face what must be taking place in front—towards the bright invisibility bordering the canvas, towards that bal- cony of light where their eyes can gaze at those who are gazing back at them, and not towards that dark recess which marks the far end of the room in which they are represented. There are, it is true, some heads turned away from us in profile: but not one of them is turned far enough to see, at the back of the room, that solitary mirror, that tiny glowing rectangle which is nothing other than visibility, yet without any gaze able to grasp it, to ren- der it actual, and to enjoy the suddenly ripe fruit of the spectacle
it offers. It must be admitted that this indifference is equalled only by the mirror’s own. It is reflecting nothing, in fact, of all that is there in the same space as itself: neither the painter with his back to it, nor the figures in the centre of the room. It is not the visible it reflects, in those bright depths. In Dutch painting it was traditional for mirrors to play a duplicating role: they re- peated the original contents of the picture, only inside an unreal, modified, contracted, concave space. One saw in them the same things as one saw in the first instance in the painting, but de- composed and recomposed according to a different law. Here, the mirror is saying nothing that has already been said before. Yet its position is more or less completely central: its upper edge is exactly on an imaginary line running half-way between the top and the bottom of the painting, it hangs right in the mid- dle of the far wall (or at least in the middle of the portion we can see); it ought, therefore, to be governed by the same lines of perspective as the picture itself; we might well expect the same studio, the same painter, the same canvas to be arranged within it according to an identical space; it could be the perfect dupli- cation.” Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (London/New York: Routledge, 2002): 7–8.
76) See endnote 58.
77) For “variations” in art and music see endnote 60; for “nega- tive” or “reversed” see endnote 17.
78) See chapter 5 “Ylva.”
79) See chapter 6 “The Oracle,” which explain the power of a painting depicting this mirror.
80) “Don Quixote is a negative of the Renaissance world; writ- ing has ceased to be the prose of the world; resemblances and signs have dissolved their former alliance; similitudes have be- come deceptive and verge upon the visionary or madness; things still remain stubbornly within their ironic identity: they are no longer anything but what they are; words wander off on their own, without content, without resemblance to fill their empti- ness; they are no longer the marks of things; they lie sleeping between the pages of books and covered in dust. Magic, which permitted the decipherment of the world by revealing the secret resemblances beneath its signs, is no longer of any use except as an explanation, in terms of madness, of why analogies are always proved false. The erudition that once read nature and books alike as parts of a single text has been relegated to the same category as its own chimeras: lodged in the yellowed pages of books, the signs of language no longer have any value apart from the slender fiction which they represent. The written word and things no longer resemble one another. And between them, Don Quixote wanders off on his own. Yet language has not become entirely impotent. It now possesses new powers, and powers pe- culiar to it alone. In the second part of the novel, Don Quixote meets characters who have read the first part of his story and rec- ognize him, the real man, as the hero of the book. Cervantes’s text turns back upon itself, thrusts itself back into its own densi- ty, and becomes the object of its own narrative.” Ibid: 53.