Mette Edvardsen

Mette Edvardsen, performance <i>No Title</i>, 2014. Photo: Lilia Mestre. Courtesy of the artist
Mette Edvardsen, performance No Title, 2014. Photo: Lilia Mestre. Courtesy of the artist
Mette Edvardsen, performance <i>Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine</i> (2010 - ). Photo: Elly Clarke. Courtesy of the artist
Mette Edvardsen, performance Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine (2010 - ). Photo: Elly Clarke. Courtesy of the artist

Mette Edvardsen (1970, Lørenskog, Norway) started her career in 1996 as a dancer in various companies and began developing her own work, bringing together choreography and performance, in 2002. In many of her staged works, Edvardsen uses text as a structure where reading and writing become tools for moving in a space and interacting with the public. The voice functions as a vehicle for generating situations, creating spaces that are made visible by a word or, conversely, by the absence of one. Edvardsen uses language in order to subvert it, challenging cultural connections and the spatiotemporal divisions that commonly influence our daily routines.

For Edvardsen, repetition and memory are ways of looking at the past and future. For the artist, repetition and remembering are the same exercise, but in opposite directions, in the sense that the act of remembering is also a form of repeating a past action. This cyclic economy engenders a type of entropy that Edvardsen calls "non-concept": the repetition of a pattern that is never the same but is familiar enough to be recognized. Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine is a work based on exercising repetition and memory, in which a group of performers chooses a series of books with which each of them has a certain affinity. As they read the books, they memorize them, so they can later recite them from memory to visitors of the exhibition. By repeating the book's content from memory, each performer becomes the publication itself. The idea of a library of "living books" was inspired by Ray Bradbury's famous novel Fahrenheit 451, in which the author imagines a society where any hint of knowledge is considered a threat to human happiness, and books are banned and burned (the title refers to the temperature at which books burn) while a group secretly fights against this repression by memorizing books and passing them on orally to preserve them. 



Support: Nordic Culture Fund, Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Performing Arts Hub Norway

  1. Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
  2. Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
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