Ludlow 38 Archive

In Perspective: MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 (2011–2019)

Ludlow 38

Ludlow 38

Bo Christian Larsson, The Emperor’s New Thoughts

May 18–Jun 10, 2012

MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is proud to present a new site-specific installation by Berlin-based Swedish artist Bo Christian Larsson. The Emperor’s New Thoughts will unfold during a happening with live music by Shawn Greenlee, a recording of which will contribute to a subsequent installation in the gallery.

Bo Christian Larsson uses his drawings and paintings as blueprints for his installations, which often are the outcome of happenings. For each happening, many of the spatial elements and references are pre-chosen, while the spontaneous moments are not controlled. This combination of spontaneity and intention is prominent in Larsson’s practice; the artist sees no difference between his finished work and its process. Working with obscure and mysterious symbols, Larsson simultaneously plays with the clichés of symbolism and the common reading of clichés.

The starting point of The Emperor’s New Thoughts is a loose adaption of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s well-known fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. Larsson had parts of the tale translated through synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which certain experiences, such as color and taste, are combined. The words of Andersen’s story were translated into colors and shapes of familiar symbols, like circles and squares. During the happening, one of Larsson’s Alter Egos (Onyx W. D. Johnson as “Mr. Empire”) will activate the visualization of the synaesthetic interpretation by pulling strings. The strings release pigments in a certain order, creating forms in a brightly lit room, serving as a stage. This translation of movements into shapes is followed by another translation, into music. Drawing on his longstanding interest in music, the artist collaborates with Shawn Greenlee, a sound artist who will make the shapes audible with customized instruments, in a direct reaction to the happening.

Bo Christian Larsson (born 1976 in Kristinehamn, Sweden) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at AKI, Academy of Visual Arts in Enschede, Holland. Larsson has had solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Braunschweig; Bregenzer Kunstverein, Austria; and Gallery Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen. His work has been presented in group exhibitions at Kunstverein Munich; Lenbachhaus Munich; Shiryaevo Biennale, Russia; Hayward Gallery, London; and Arario Gallery, Cheonan, Korea. In 2009 Larsson received the Philipp Otto Runge Residency Scholarship and was artist in residence at Kunst:Raum Sylt Quelle. A selection of his sculptures, drawings, and paintings will be presented during The Emperor’s New Thoughts at Vogt Gallery, New York.

Shawn Greenlee is a sound and electronic media artist. In his recent performance and installation work, Greenlee has focused on generating digital audio from graphic patterns. Via computer programs of his own design, he advances new methods for interpreting visual image as sound (graphic synthesis).

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with texts by Paul Stephens and Graham Parker, and the first published interview with all of Bo Christian Larsson’s Alter Egos and Clara Meister.

With special thanks to S-T-I-F-F GbR. Installation video by Russell Cramer

Curated by Clara Meister


Before the performance Mr Empire Performance Bo Christian Larsson Shawn Greenlee Installation Shot Installation Shot