Bo Christian Larrson in Gallery Eighteen - Photo by Jan Søndergaard

Bo Christian Larsson’s
‘Light Traps’

Working from intuition, borrowing from nature, and drawing inspiration from Shakespeare, ‘Light Traps’ is another ambitious collection of work from the Swedish artist.

Published: September 25, 2017
Words: Bo Christian Larsson & J.Scott Stratton
Photos: Jan Søndergaard
Reference: Eighteen

As an artist, it can be quite easy to fall into the trap of defining yourself by your mediums. One could argue that the fastest way to garner a type of recognition, is defining a medium and a style that is notable, and in some way, unique to an audience.

Platforms like Instagram, a now essential audience building tool for artists, are inundated with various types of visual artists that have defined themselves to their audiences with a specific painting, sculptural or installation styles – in fact we engage in conversations with many such artists here on Blacklisted.

Now it’s not to say that there is anything wrong with that particular pathway or artistic practice, but I must draw attention to the artists that walk the road less travelled and choose to define themselves through their concepts – allowing their mediums and styles to remain fluid and flexible to their conceptual explorations.

This is how I would describe the artistic processes of Bo Christian Larsson. When you look back through his oeuvre of work, there are recognizable themes and what might be described as a “style”, but it becomes quite clear that he does not restrict himself to the constraints of medium. It would almost be more accurate to say there are some recognizable influences in his work – the use of bone, antler, wood, hair and found object – but he does not always define himself by these mediums. There is more of an intuitive nature to his process of conceptual exploration, where the concept determines the medium.

For his latest exhibition, currently now on exhibition at Eighteen Gallery in Copenhagen, his work explores these mediums, but as a means to an end. In ‘Light Traps’, it appears that Larsson is exploring the threshold states between derivative and the pre-defined, the primal and the fabricated. The works are structured in a way to have a visual human function and pseudo-recognizable structure, but based upon raw materials from nature.

My own personal interpretation of his work as I walked through the interwoven wires and placement of the 24 light sculptures, was one that explored the bastardization of nature through human intervention. Of course, I know better that to project my own interpretations of work upon a collection of work, so I reached out to Larsson to get a more thorough explanation of the concept, research and processes that he used in order to create these works.

There seems to be a juxtaposition between the primordial and the modern, the rough and the refined, at the core of your work. Can you tell me a little bit about this?

I have always been interested in the border area between things, the no-mans land, the blur between art and life. I like to read between the lines and position my work where there is no need for an exact definition of what has been made by me and what has been found, or made by others. The world and its history is a combination of fantasy and fact, so is my work. I guess I want to avoid being stuck in this or that.

You describe your work as “harnessing the potential energy of the untamed without causing harm or destruction”….can you elaborate on this?

It is one aspect of my thought process, like a poetic way of saying that creativity is always the result of harnessing or transforming energies. It is always good to try and harm or destroy as little as possible in my eyes, that being said, it is all relative.

These works for this exhibition ‘Light Traps’, use a lot of fur, bone and animal elements? Is that not a form of destruction?

All those objects has been found. The moose for example, lose their antlers around January each year before they grow new ones for the next mating season. I don’t see any destruction in that. Sure it has a symbolic roughness to it, but where I live and work this is everyday life.

“All the world’s a stage – despite that, I had to learn a thing or two about electricity.”

Bo Christian Larrson in Gallery Eighteen - Photo by Jan Søndergaard

Nature is a cruel judge, and when you bring these loaded materials into a white gallery space in an urban environment it creates an energy that I find attractive. Some people find it destructive and some a natural part of the lifecycle.

I somehow also like that these animal parts I use in my work, which are considered ”leftovers” in the meat industry become so loaded in the heart of a butchers district where this gallery is located.

In regards to this exhibition, can you tell me a little about the concept?

I wanted to limit myself in the creative process for this show. I started to think of the literary work ”La Disparition”, by George Perec, which is a lipogrammatic novel where the author avoids using the letter e throughout the book. I had a similar wish of limitation and thought that a technical hang up could be just that. Therefore I started to create lamp sculptures which for sure puts a limit to what you can achieve with cables, electricity and lights. Funny enough I found a total freedom within these limits and it was more like a beautiful dance than a struggle to create these works. And once again I could lean towards my believe in harvesting energy from the in-between world. Is it a lamp or a sculpture or booth? Is it even important? Each work has their own story and I see them much like different tracks on a record.

What was the research that you drew from for this particular collection of work?

The foothill of my inspiration comes from the Shakespeare monologue: All the World´s a stage, despite that I had to learn a thing or two about electricity.

So, take me through your process or methodology when setting down to create the work for ‘Light Traps’?

I work very much on instinct and I weave with a lot of different projects at the same time. so the process for this show has been going on for a few years, but at the same time I have been creating lots of other things. I sometimes don’t even remember how certain things came into being, and thats when I start to feel really good about my work. A free flow following the stream of consciousness. The most important thing about making art is the making part.

It’s been a long process in creating this work. Have you felt that the work or concept evolved during that time?

I think it is very important to constantly evolve, to be able to create art, to be able to live.
This process cannot be separated from the rest of the work I do, so its impossible to imagine that it didn’t. However, I would like to think that I am radically different for each show.

Now that this collection of work is finished, what concepts or researches are to diving into now?

I am currently writing on a book/manuscript and making a 9 hour long marathon video work that takes place in the woods outside my studio. For the rest I want to dive real deep into the meaning and history of camouflage, something that I love as a concept. But first, I want to pick mushrooms and harvest the potatoes and beets in my garden.

’Light Traps will be on exhibition at Eighteen in Copenhagen from September 15 to November 18, 2017

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