The Silence, Stockholm.
The exhibition ‘The Silence’ brought together two bodies of work created for different contexts that both investigate the fine membrane between the self and the outside world. The work examines how human beings, are both all the same and yet infinitely different. Same, because we all begin and end our lives the same way; and different because no two instances in the history of the universe will ever be the same. In any interaction with other human beings these similarities and differences are activated. Huttner, in other words, returned to a central question in art, philosophy and religion that has occupied man since the beginning of time and that beckons our attention without offering any clear solutions.
The film ‘The Silence’ was commissioned for the VOLUME project in Beirut in 2014. The work is clearly inspired by Bergman’s Persona, Buñuel’s El ángel exterminador and shows two women who are imprisoned in a library and whose situation is pushed to its extreme when the world goes mysteriously silent. The circumstances push the two women to make life changing decisions in the face of the outside events.
In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition Huttner also carried out a silent walk, starting at Stockholm’s iconic central library. He led a group of 40 people along a specially designed route through the winter cold and dark Stockholm. The group did not know how long the walk would last or where they were taken. The performance lasted 45 minutes and the groups ended up at the gallery where the film was screened.
Together with the film, the artist showed a series of photographs that depict an object that was developed for a performance in the tactile collection at Pinacoteca in Sao Paulo in 2014. The object was created by French fashion designer Emilia Rota and made up of three interconnected circles of different white fabrics that have been twisted once and in and forms a complicated Möbius strip. In the photographs we see feminine hands that handle the object delicately. Are these the same hands that work on the books in the film? What are the hands trying to negotiate?
With the artist’s interest in Mayan cosmology and the relationship to the Möbius strip, it is easy to imagine that the images connect to infinity and the Mayan zero. The latter is associated with the human hand and Huttner has previously staged events in London that reflect on the impossibility of dividing any natural number with zero.
Anders Olofsson has written a beautiful text about The Silence in Stockholm. He says that the film “is one of the most intriguing video pieces he has seen in years.” Read the article here in Swedish and here in English.