A Home for Artists

Lisa Stålspets


Book, 21 x 14,6 cm, 165 p., language : English, Swedish, publisher : LevArt, ISBN : 978-82-690297-3-4.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2028/379).

Literary synopsis

A Home for Artists is organized in three parts that were written and published over the course of four years. The story is about a nursinghome for elderly artists. The young artist Iris works as a temp. The old author Suzanne takes notes. The textile artist Astrid founded the artists home but has gone from being the leader to ending up as a patient herself. She wanders around the house looking for her dead husband.

Using fiction as an example of how we could take care of our elders, the text reflects upon issues concerning identity and work. Where is the line between life and work? What is art worth if I cannot remember it anymore?

In the first part, the reader is presented with the idea of the artist’s home. A Home that enables a life style that is not mainstream. The second part is concerned with mortality. The third part takes up the perspective of the relative. What is it like to put your spouse or parent in an institution?

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The novel is the basis of a larger art project and serves as a framework or a narrative starting point for the other works. Included techniques are paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects. Where the novel is a realistic description of how a nursing home could be organized, the other works use a more surreal and expressive style. The concern is not so much to make an exact portrait of someone’s reality but to show how it might feel. To go into the subjective experience of living: incomprehensible at times, a mix of chaos and order composed of problems faced by the aging body, together with daydreaming and existential wonder.

Bodies grow out of sculptures that test the boundary between the individual and the collective. The catheter bag becomes an extension of the body. The devise used to lift the patient from the wheelchair to the bed becomes an extension of the nursing assistant’s arms. The boundary between where the subject ends and the environment begins is constantly renegotiated.

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