Tabula rasa; focus and observation
Kamilla Langeland

13.10–05.11.2023
MELK
Kamilla Langeland

Kamilla Langeland (b. 1989, Kongsvinger, Norway) lives and works in Gjerstad, Norway. She holds a BFA from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and an MFA from The Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, Bergen. Her work has recently been exhibited at Agder Kunstsenter, Kristiansand (2022), Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo (2021), Oslo Kunstforening (2020), and Entrée, Bergen (2019). Her works are in the public collections of Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum and Preus museum, Norway.

We are excited to present Tabula rasa; focus and observation, Kamilla Langeland's third solo exhibition at MELK.

With the camera acting as an extension of the eye, and the eye as an extension of the mind, the title of the series Focus is a reference to the manual gesture of focusing the apparatus on a subject/object. The series is made by combining analogue photographic emulsion and paint on cotton canvas on wooden board. The photographs are captured on B&W negative film photographed at Kvenntjønnane nature reserve in Telemark, Norway, and at Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal.

Observation is a series of three square paintings sized 120 x 120 cm. The paintings have no image or figurative motifs, they are merely materials and color, empty in many ways yet specific and matter-based. They are what you see; pigments, oil, canvas, wax, glue and wood. The paintings can be viewed as gradually dissolving by revealing themselves, exposing the structure of its creation without hiding anything or trying to be something it is not.

At the end space of the gallery, a series of five paintings are presented with the title Tabula rasa. Made by layering chalk and glue on cotton canvas on wooden board, the paintings look empty and unstarted by first impression, like clean slates ready for anything to appear.

The titles Focus, Observation, and Tabula rasa can simply be read as instructions for entering the works, an invitation to consciously experience anything that arises with a clear mind.

Some of Langeland’s influences are feminist theorist and physicist Karen Barad with their writings on quantum physics, quantum field theory and the entanglement of matter and meaning. The paintings and writings by Agnes Martin have been a guidance throughout the process, referring to Martin with the square format paintings in the series Observation. Vipassana meditation taught by S. N. Goenka has become an integrated part of Langeland’s practice, a starting point to quiet the mind, access inspiration, unlearn and relearn. The title Tabula rasa is a reference to the musical composition by Arvo Pärt composed in 1977. As described by violinist Gidon Kremer, Tabula rasa is a declaration of silence, a manifesto of concentrating on important things.

Tabula Rasa, (Latin: “scraped tablet”—i.e., “clean slate”)

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