Remains of What Is to Come (A Home)
Light which seeps in does not look like other light. It is a beautiful day and the world out there is open. The light which seeps out, on the other hand, is something completely different. Especially if it seeps out into a room. And if the light, as is the case here, in the installation of Oscar Guermouche, comes from behind a bookshelf, then it is a traitor and an informer which have adopted the cruel figure of light. It seeps out as a truth one wishes to conceal. It is terrible. Somewhere there in the back someone is heard hushing. At children. It is in itself a complete work, with the light and the sound. Nothing more is needed to assemble a world, a situation, perhaps a general atmosphere, someone’s breath of life. The threat, the fear; to go underground, to want to hide oneself, retreat but prepared for an attack, the loneliness and – is it paranoia or perspicacity? Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s I Call My Brothers is in the bookshelf. But Three Little Pigs as well. And Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.
This is how Guermouche works, through minor and evocative perceptions. Perhaps one speaks more of his methodical qualities, that all is well-composed and thought through; that he quotes and compiles, mixes biography with history with fiction, thematises masculinity and scenarios of threat, identity and Swedishness and lonely heroes. He controls the space. In his process of making he retreats; he allows for others to make the objects for him, and puts all his efforts at making almost photorealistic representations of texts, drawing speech bubbles – as an artist he does all in order not to be seen. The concept comes first, and the execution should not add anything. But even in his works a sensibility seeps out, sensations on a discreet level, frail gasps which first strike the body, not the consciousness. Also, this is terrible: small sensations of an absolute vulnerability. Even in the image of Rambo, John Rambo, yes everywhere… The places also. Regardless of it being a photograph of a shower room, an actual building, or, like here, a furnished room, a scenography, these are all places that relate to, and are actually created in relation to, a future assault. Or an upcoming attack – like Boden. In terms of its form, this is the art of readiness, while in terms of its content, this is the art of the inevitable vulnerability. It is called Oscar Guermouche.
Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen
About the artist
Oscar Guermouche is an artist, born 1977 in Stockholm, studied at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, living on the island of Öland.
A basis for the work of Oscar Guermouche is the construction of identities through language. He targets connections between the text, the biography and the body, in particular within masculine environments or modes of expression. Lately his work has focused upon responses to threats and the preparedness to violence. His works are narratives of both underlying as well as soon upcoming events. Their starting point is a life, in a place, in Sweden today. They are about home, about belonging, and about how notions of threat shapes people.
Oscar Guermouche’s art has been exhibited at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow, Kunsthalle Rostock, Lokal 30 in Warsaw, and Sleepwalker Projects in Toronto. He is also represented in the collections of Magasin III:s, the Public Art Agency Sweden, and the Municipality of Gothenburg. He is as well the author of articles and essays, published in among others Paletten Art Journal, Flamme forlag and Turku Biennaali. Since 2017 he is a member of the board of the the Visual Arts Fund at the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.