Barbara Ekström is a Swedish artist mainly working in the zone of exploring human perception. The idea is to find out why the world appears to us the way it does, learn about different views, and trying out alternative shapes for materials turning it into art. Science now holds the key to the genetic code of humanity, we have huge amounts of information about how the organism of the body works but when it comes to understanding the identity of man, his hope and dreams and why he is acting the way he does – answers are complex. Art is still the main tool when it comes to express the human mind.
Those ideas has formed several pieces trying to reveal the underlying structures of industrialism, urban development, true economy and basic human needs. The artist is also involved in art as the social structure of society.
In the artwork ”The square alphabet” short commandos from the online game Counterstrike is presented in the form of brick-stone castings hanging in the middle of the room like a wall.
The square alphabet was originally developed by Siberian prisoners as a way to communicate by knocking on the walls, leaving a message to a neighbour. Investigations that shapes the art is often made as site specific work like in "Jenseits"where the objects one by one left the exhibtion area and during a period of three weeks where presented as lightsculptures in the river Spree in Berlin.
”Out of order” is another piece that wants to find out what happens when the original purpose leaves the object and other forces takes over. An electric installation with lightswitches, alarmbells and wires was made out of silk so that the object where completely hollow, and installed in the former home of Jonas Ahlströmer who developed textile industry in Sweden.
This installation is constantly growing and does now consist of a number of things useless in their original purpose tuned into a hollow shapes of their former existence.
An outdoor lightscupture in the main harbour canal of Gothenburg was made in cooperation with Peter Trukenbrod. The sculpture is shaped like a boat, like a drawing of light. There is no steering, motor or other ways to control the boat. In the canal the reflection of The Gothenburg hall of justice is seen together with the oldest church in Gothenburg. The installation was made during Christmas time.
The art of navigation was investigated in another installation called "Fog" consisting of models of the stars. The constructions were inspired by Polynesian sailors who developed the first nautical charts using shells linked together with reeds. In the figures of the stars each star was represented by a casting of a fingerprint, connected with thin sticks. Structures of string in a chaotic pattern represented eternity in which we are trying to make a map for the spaceship of mankind.
No installation is ever completely finished, like a painter with a favourite motive I keep coming back as long as there is more information to discover – and there always is.
Existence needs space. Transparent or hollow objects have the potential of becoming something more than they already are.