The First Story Ever Told
Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw
“It’s morning and I lay with jellyfish as algae stroke my forehead and water fills my eyes. We look up at the sky and know that it is infinite and as such it transcends our beings. Pondering our existences, we connect in the finiteness of our minds. We swim together for a while, slowly, silently. Then I get up, dry myself off and start walking back to the house.
Trees join me as I walk, we speak, catching our breaths in between sentences (I walk fast). These trees have known each other for a long time. They tell me about how in age they have wrinkled, and about their children and grandchildren. They have a lot to say. They are connected by their roots and as one dies, the other will too. I tell them I hope it won’t happen anytime soon; I enjoy their company. They chuckle and tell me not to worry, they will be here long after I’m gone.
The day goes by, hurried by the wind that keeps moving faster and faster as the sky turns grey. It rains and I sit inside the house, busy welcoming all the drops that keep knocking on the window. By evening, the rain has stopped and I go out. It is getting dark now. I lay down in the grass and it hugs me. I hug it back. All the stars come out this night and they tell me the sky isn’t really infinite. The sky is a body just like mine. We exist together, we begin and end. Got to tell the jellyfish, I think.”
About the artists:
Nadine Byrne’s (b. 1985, Sweden) multidisciplinary practice often explores her personal history and memory as a way of unfolding the present. Byrne focuses on the material itself as a reference of emotion, creating works which are both intimate and distant. Her practice is also informed by an interest in alternative modes of perceiving the world, and how these are manifested socially and visually.
Björn Engberg (b. 1979, Sweden) is based in Stockholm and mainly works with photography and film. His practice often revolves around themes such as the power struggle between nature and civilization, explored from both an aesthetic and a spiritual perspective. Engberg is also the founder of the independent publishing house Moon Space Books, which he runs together with Nadine Byrne.
Emma LaMorte (b. 1984, Canada) graduated from the MFA program at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, in spring 2016. She often works with textile to make collage-based tapestries that draw influence from folk art, mythology, and popular representations of historical narratives. She lives and works in Stockholm.
Ohlsson/Dit-Cilinn is an artist duo that consists of David Ohlsson (b. 1985, Sweden) and Dit-Cilinn (b. 1983, Sweden). Their installations, videos and photography nurture a deep engagement with the relationship between urban life and a desire for something transcendent. Individually, they have received the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation Award, SOMArts Award and the Barclay Simpson Award. David Ohlsson and Dit-Cilinn have worked collaboratively since 2007 and currently live in Amsterdam.
Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw (b. 1987, Canada) is based in Stockholm and works primarily with sculpture, installation and drawing. Through divergent forms of anthropological representation, he approaches the body as a cultural category. Drawing from associated motifs, terms and postulations affixed to his subjects, he explores instances of self-categorization, cultural synthesis and multiplicity. Shaw holds a MFA from the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm (2016), and has studied as a guest at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2015).