Catalogue text for the installation “Dolorosa”. Torsos in concrete, life-size. “Dolorosa” was created for Bunker-95 at Galleri Lista Lighthouse 1995. It was further developed for the Schuvalov Palace in St. Petersburg 1998, and later the same year for Seljord Art Society. Then for Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall, Arendal 1999, and «Sculpture and Object XIII» in Bratislava 2008. In 2021 Dolorosa is back at Lista in a bunker belonging to Nordberg Fort, marking Lista Museum 100 years.
THAT WHICH NO LONGER IS. AND THE SORROW
All we carry that is torn away from us. Our own selves that we drag along with us, century after century. The weight of us. In the weight lies the absence. It has mingled with us. It mingles the whole time. We walk or lie in the shadow of that which is gone. Once upon a time. It stays on like a resonance in the body. Away does not go away. With the torsos we enter the room of emptiness. The absent makes its presence felt. We are permitted to enter, or we are at least invited, to grief. The torsos lie stranded, each in its own desolite attitude. The artist has said: The memory of the lost shall not be lost. So she makes torsos out of concrete. This is the act of the artist. Thus she gives of her nakedness. Stay here where you are!
Loss lies heavy in the room. And the music, does it move towards or emanate from the desolate attitudes, the bodies stranded, on their side, on their shoulder blade, on their knees, exposed? Impenetrable bodies that recall to us the porous, the vulnerable. Wherever we move in the room there is the broken. It reminds us of wat has been, or could have been. The artist has created a gap between cement and absence. Some took it away, some took themeselves away. That is the first denial. Some have obliterated the memory of that which was taken away, they do not want the pain of absence. That is the second denial. She and he bear up, or fall in sorrow. Perhaps we need all the sorrow we can get?
What is missing? It is the face. The arms and hands. And the feet, that I call our nethermost face. You cannot touch the face or feet of the torso. Yet you know them by their absence. You remember, if you will, that things can happen that will plunge the world into new shapes. Seven torsos, three or five. Mutilated in the same way, made of the same concrete, in separate attitudes. Is the loss always the same? But our sorrow is our own. From that you will open up and see from a million angles.
Wera Sæther, poet