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Nothing is inner, nothing is outer — damn!

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Utställningstext från Bergen Kunsthall

Nothing is inner, nothing is outer — damn! Curated by åse Løvgren

Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925), who founded the Waldorf School and Anthroposophy, was preoc- cupied with geometry at an early stage. For him exercises in geometry were an important step on the way to finding a synthesis between science and spiritual experience. Through studies of the similarities and universal laws of geometric forms one experiences a truth without external sense-impressions – on the contrary the experience of truth comes from abstract thinking. “For weeks my mind was full of congruence, the similarity of triangles, quadrangles, polygons [….] To be able to grasp something purely in my mind brought me inner happiness.”

In the project “Nothing is inner, nothing is outer — damn!” Johan Tirén explores a number of geometric exercises from the Steiner teachings, exercises that offer aesthetic experiences, train muscle control and drawing skills, and can give you purely cognitive insights, as Steiner himself learned. The exercises are about mimicking or copying a given shape, and thus refer to a posi- tion where you repeat knowledge in order to learn for yourself. In such exercises there is a ten- sion between a liberating pedagogy with a basis in independent truth-seeking, and authoritarian doctrines where you are moulded into a pre-defined hegemony of knowledge.

In his projects Tirén often adopts an open, exploratory position where he looks at the gap be- tween the way a vision is expressed and the concrete, complex situation one is confronting. He reveals undercurrents and authority disguised as good intentions, often with a personal or local approach. Tirén’s artworks form an open agora where they not only stage themselves as objects for public acceptance, but form an arena that participates in a dialogic public sphere.

Johan Tirén works with a variety of media such as drawing, posters, prints and video. A large part of his practice takes place outside what one associates with the art scene, for example in longterm, process-based collaborative projects in urban development.

The exhibition is part of the collaboration project Reform involving Bergen Kunsthall, Kon- sthall C in Stockholm and the group Publik in Copenhagen. The project includes a number of newly produced artworks which intend to explore ‘reform’ as a concept; both as a sociohistorical phenomenon and not least as a politicalrhetorical tool. Johan Tirén investigates in his project reform as a tool for improving society and how education theory and ideas about teaching origi- nate in totalizing thinking about how individuals are to be ‘educated into’ society.

Johan Tirén (b. 1973) was born in Stockholm, where he lives and works.

The exhibition is presented as part of the series In-between, where Bergen Kunsthall invites artists to make use of the short intervals between other exhibitions, to use parts of the building that are not normally associated with exhibition activities (empty spaces, passages, exteriors or outdoor spaces), or in other ways explore institutional and organizational structures – within and outside Bergen Kunsthall. The exhibition is supported by iaspis and Nordic Culture Point.