A giant painting covers most the floor, and there are footprints in the still wet oil paint

There is paint on the rest of the floor too, some of it dried up, some still sticky and oily, showing traces of human feet

The further away from the painting you move the less paint and the less motif, but some footprints seem to lead all the way out of the studio, gradually fading out into the ground the closer they get to the street outside

It’s clear that someone has been painting here, but it’s also clear that someone has been moving around

You could probably call this colour field painting, although perhaps not in its more conventional meaning

For apart from apparently portraying something from “the field”, or even possibly resembling one, the painting also functions as a field to roam through

Clear expressions painted by hand are mixed with seemingly random impressions left by sneakers and elbows

Carefully constructed motifs and images are blurred with the bodily movements of the person painting them - movements not limited to the meticulous applying of paint by brushes, scrapers and sponges

It’s not clear where one thing ends and another thing begins, making it impossible to get an overview

There is simply no clear division between the painting and its surroundings

For as opposed to the exhibition, the studio offers no overview, so how on earth are you supposed to be able look at a painting, let alone read it?

In a way you can’t - at least not the way you’re used to

Paintings in a studio can’t be looked at and decoded in the same way as paintings in an exhibition

The grove (is it a grove?), the woodland lake (is that what it looks like?), the deep forest (can’t see it for the trees), not to mention all the gooey paint (bodily fluids?) - with no distance from which to actually look, it’s as if you can’t yet decipher any of it

As if it’s all still in a limbo of sorts - the umbilical cord cut off, but the vocal cords not yet able to make a sound

Or maybe the cords were both there, and I was just mixing them up?

I can’t remember

As I said, I didn’t really get much of an overview

And as I also said, the studio is not really the place to get one

Rather than a place for overviews, the studio is a place for moving around, for leaving traces - some of them slightly more conscious than others, some more inevitable than others, some are seemingly arbitrary, some are carefully thought and acted out

The paintings which will later be exhibited could be seen as a form of visual anecdotes extracted from this moving around, snapshots from movements across fields, the actual paintings acting as neatly cut up parcels of land, tilted 90 degrees and hung on walls, first to dry, and later for public view

Like hunting trophies from the lands, hung on the walls of a manor house

Or maybe more like maps, carefully crafted representations extracted from “the real thing”, visual extracts from “the real”, images neatly flattened out for public view, offering an overview and a framing of a motive that a real field never could

Just like the field and the land, the studio is this “real thing”, in the sense that rather than just being represented, it is actually present

The studio is really there, both physically and in the present tense, connected to the world around it through the ideas, gases, liquids, solids, and surfaces flowing in and out of it

The art exhibition, on the other had, does everything to function in an opposite way, almost being a negation of the present - despite often showing art deemed to be contemporary

Enter the white cube - physically confining its contents from the rest of the world - and the exhibition period - sharply isolating what is exhibited both from the time it was produced, and from its potential afterlife

If the painting in the studio exists in a present tense it shares with its surroundings, then the exhibited painting seems to be broken up in time, cut off both from its past and its future

Surrounded by darkness, the life of the exhibited painting is but a short parenthesis in time, lit in the sharp and shadowless light of fluorescent tubes

And by the time the painting can be seen in that light, by the time it enters the public life, the action has already taken place elsewhere, the “real thing” has already taken place out “in the field”, as it were, and the exhibition goer is left with the usual mediated experience

We may very well talk about “action painting” - in the sense that the action has already taken place, that we’ve arrived too late, that we’ve already missed out

If every artistic practice is founded on someone else’s interaction with ideas, gases, liquids, solids, and surfaces, then every exhibition is first and foremost a collection of scattered leftovers and residue from that interaction, which has already happened in a place to which the exhibition goer has no entry – usually the artist’s studio

For the artist’s studio is generally open (if at all) only for the artist’s close friends, for visits by gallerists and collectors, for the occasional studio visit, and maybe for the guy writing the catalogue text

But when such a guy visits such a studio, located in an industrial area in the outskirts of Malmö (a giant painting covers most the floor, and there are footprints in the still wet oil paint), he doesn’t have the feeling of reaching the site of action at all

Instead, he is struck by a strong feeling of being an intruder

He has been caught in the classic dilemma of searching for “the real”, finding it, and then realizing that it’s not his, that it’s not real to him, that it’s not as real as he thought it would be (the tribe is not as tribal, the underground not as underground, the brute not as brute, the real not as real), that maybe he shouldn’t have left his secure and mediated bubble at all

Have you heard the one about the Wall Street broker who quit his job, threw away his suit and briefcase and went to Tibet to find himself?

Finally, after years and years of meditation in complete solitude, he managed to catch a glimpse of his real self in a vision - he was dressed in a suit, carrying a briefcase, on the way to his Wall Street office

Same thing here, in a way

If you’re not ready for what you might not find, it’d probably be wiser not to intrude

And the studio visit, just like any fieldwork, will always be a form of intrusion

Apart from physically intruding into someone else’s studio, it’s also an intrusion into the life cycle of an artwork

I’m not supposed to be here, in the studio

I’m not supposed to see the work in this shape

I’m not supposed to look at this grove, this lake, these trees covering the forest, the puddles of gooey bodily fluids, still wet, sticky and smelly

It’s like opening the door to a public toilet when someone is already in there but forgot to lock the door

This door was not mine to open, and I should’ve left it shut

In fact, I should probably just have waited for the exhibition just like everyone else

For although the exhibition might show nothing but scraps of something you’ve missed, at least the paintings really do show themselves

Here, the motives are finally isolated from their surroundings

Here, the canvases stick out from what’s around them, rather than seemingly being continuations of it, and this makes it possible to decipher them as images, as pictures, as carefully crafted works ready to be examined and scrutinized by the public

It may seem that you’ve missed all the action, and you have, but if these canvases had never made it here, and if you consequently wouldn’t even have known about the action missed, would they exist at all?

Of course they would, stupid

But we probably wouldn’t be able to read them

- Henning Lundkvist