Ordinary men in suits or uniforms painstakingly perform simple acts, such as lighting a cigar, preparing for a game of tennis or walking a dog.
The figures are shown in close-up, in great detail. The shots are slow and carefully composed and framed. Images shot from different viewpoints succeed one another, but without ever offering a view of the whole. Larsson focuses on the body language and the eyes of the figures. Her work seems to be about the almost ritual quality of everyday actions, but also about dominance and suppression. In the spectator, these videos arouse an oppressive feeling or even a form of claustrophobia, not only because of the close-ups but also the apparent strangeness of the environment in which the figures move about. ‘DOG’ (2001) shows two men in suits. One of them has a dog on a leash. They exchange a few glances. The viewer’s attention is drawn to the men’s expressionless faces and the details of their accessories, such as a gold chain, a belt and leather gloves. The slowness and close-ups vacillate between reality and dream, detail and absurdity. In ‘BEND’ (2002), the main character – again in a suit – plays a game of manipulation on his computer. The image on the screen is his double. By pressing a few keys and clicking with his mouse, he can transform his double’s physiognomy, bend his fingers, and make his head turn on its axis. The manipulator remains cool and impassive throughout his actions. Here too, the scene is pictured in a sequence of slow and carefully selected close-ups. As in ‘DOG’, the evocativeness is enhanced by a soundtrack with repetitive and compelling soundscapes. The exhibition presents the video installations ‘DOG’ and ‘BEND’. Both works have been donated to the museum collection by Baloise.More about Annika Larsson