Notions of appropriation, particularly personification as a recognition of the self through another, are manifested in the video installation She is Handsome and Well Proportioned, by Mattias Olofsson.
“I am inspired by roles and situations where identity is created through an embodied subject, taking place or being placed. In this project I interiorize a historic person, Christina Catarina Larsdoter, a Sami woman of the 19th century known as Stor-Stina (“Big-Stina”) because of her uncommon height”. This video installation, embarks onto a historical journey were personal and universal topics overlap.
Much of the work involves staging, revisiting, enacting, simulating, and performing discovered or appropriated cultural materials, including celebrating and parodying popular culture of past and present. As he observes, “we are still confronting issues of discrimination due to gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or bodily appearance.” Mattias Olofsson’s representation of Stor-Stina is a collage that transgresses sacred concepts of authorship and originality. It uses the mechanisms by which history is formed and produced, appropriating, translating, questioning history through its own legitimizing apparatus. Furthermore, Olofsson performs a symbolic gesture in giving Stor-Stina the power to speak back, to narrate her own identity, after having been narrated by a biased history. The question here is who speaks? Who defines? Who holds the image? The one who controls the image has the power.
About the artist
Mattias Olofsson has a degree from Umeå Art Academy in Sweden. Olofsson explores questions of identity in relation to inclusion and exclusion. His works are inspired by masks and confusion, namely situations where the identity arises from being awarded or take its space in a larger structure. Parallel to his artistic career, he is since 2003 engaged in the gallery ”Verklighten”, an artist run project space for contemporary art.