press release

Klara Lidén
Auf jeden Fall
February 1 – March 31, 2019

Since the early 2000s, the Swedish artist Klara Lidén has built a sizable oeuvre of installations, sculptures, performances, and videos. Her works respond to the built environment in which they are presented, reflecting on the urban context and the surrounding community’s way of life. Deviations from the norm—be it in terms of the use of materials or (community) spaces or with respect to conventions of behavior—and the possibilities they open up propel Lidén’s art. Her short films—lo-fi videos that resemble the length of YouTube-clips—document her spontaneous performative actions in urban settings. The artist brings her own body to bear in (anarchical) attempts to return the increasingly privatized urban fabric of metropolitan centers to public uses. For instance, she will mingle with the anonymous crowds flowing through such spaces but then deliberately act in maladaptive ways, moving at the wrong pace or startling those around her. Lidén’s interventions and outbursts of radical energy are calculated to disrupt and unsettle social conventions in order to call the routines of everyday life in question and undermine our habits of tacit coexistence. Seeking to uncover repressed aggressions and potentials for resistance, she takes inspiration from a long history of performative and conceptual artistic practices.

A characteristic example is the video Paralyzed (2003), which shows the artist unexpectedly start to boldly dance on a commuter train. A decade later, Lidén joined the ballerinas of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg for a rehearsal; in the video Warm up (2014), she can be seen trying, clumsily and without much success, to copy the professional dancers’ elegant movement sequences.

Most of Lidén’s sculptural objects and installations are made of recycled materials. For the ongoing series of Poster Paintings (2007–), she has staged illegal actions in which she covers the advertising panels that are omnipresent in cities with white posters; she subsequently peels off multiple layers of promotional posters and presents the paper objects—with the blank sheet on top—in art spaces. The pieces read both as post-minimalist paintings and as geological cross-sections of a sort.

Many of her actions, which may be described as a kind of creative vandalism, are initially anonymous and covert. For instance, she stole a post box, installed it in a public space, and offered a free alternative postal service. On another occasion, in collaboration with Adam Bergholm, she used scrap materials to build an improvised shelter by the Spree River in Berlin; accessible through a trapdoor, it was available to anyone who felt the need for some privacy. In 2010, on the other hand, her installation Unheimlich Manöver at the Serpentine Gallery, London, put the entire contents of her apartment on display, compressed into a block. Or perhaps it was a blockade?

At the Secession, Klara Lidén will present videos of her latest interventions – as always bold and witty – in the installation Auf jeden Fall created specifically for the occasion.

Klara Lidén studied architecture in Stockholm and fine art at the Berlin University of the Arts. She has exhibited her work in solo shows most recently at Reena Spaulings, New York and Reena Spaulings, Los Angeles; at WIELS, Brussels, Le Consortium, Dijon, the Arbeiterkammer Wien, Vienna and Galerie Neu, Berlin; Museion, Bolzano, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the New Museum, New York; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Jeu de Paume, Paris, among other venues.

Klara Lidén was born in Stockholm in 1979 and lives in Berlin.