Swedish artist, lives and work in Stockholm


Written by: Rosa Martinez

The delicacy characterization the work of Meta Isæus-Berlin becomes a force which generates new forms of experience when viewers participate by comprehending or physically modifying her work.
by Rosa Martinez

This interaction, intended by the artist, does not occur on a purely intellectual level, by flows on the undulating surfaces and deep swirls in the vast sea of emotions, through the primordial chaos on which intensity rides, the field where chance, delirium or the indifference of which – according to Hume – our spirit is composed, turn into elements for generating new realities and connecting us to continual becoming, the flux of existence.

Because Meta Isæus-Berlin´s creations are not just an exercise in reflexion for proposing a metaphorical double for the word, and are neither – or are not solely either – pure theoretical speculation serving a conceptual configuration of existence, they are an example of how direct relationships to life may be established through the language of art, of how plastic creation offers itself to the other, to the one who contemplates, interprets and experiences it as a space and process from which emotions, experience and thoughts are generated. This activity of processing and experiencing becomes the primary factor in which Meta Isæus-Berlin´s creative choices are clearly decanted, connecting her to an existential vision of art and creative process.

Wittgenstein said that philosophy is not a theory but an activity, and Deleuze stated that art as thought or science is a way of inventing the world – of creating it and founding it – and that desire does not fill an empty space but is a productive engine which generates reality. In Meta Isæus-Berlin´s sculptures, this reality is brought on in part by the invitation issued to viewers to live them, it them, play with them, modify their structures or configurations, allowing themselves to be carried away by the slight but obvious and inescapable incitement of the desire of the other. In this way, and in addition to closing distances and breaking that sacred outpost which is the work of art, Meta Isæus-Berlin moves from the emotional and perceptive transformations which modify the consciousness and experience of viewers.

Container (1994), is the oldest of the three pieces currently shown. The material of which it is compost, with its tones and reflections, with its cracks and roughness, appears to be a corporeal surface, and the box which contains this deliquescent matter is at the same time a metaphor for boundaries, for the frontiers which enclose our body as holder and container of emotions.

Of the most recent pieces, Nudge (1995), is perhaps that which most clearly shows the artist´s desire to have viewers become part of the work, since the little carriage change position each time visitors interfere with the arrangement. People then become the center being inserted in time, bringing about significant transformations in perception, emotion and thought.

Slide (1995), a work created specifically for this exhibit, has the same dimensions as Container, but is placed outside the exhibition space and force the viewers passing through to change their usual patterns of behavior, while at the same time showing how different physio psychological reactions are achieved by a single stimulus. Some walk slowly on the ice, afraid of slipping and falling, while others give in to the spirit of playfulness and ephemeral adventure.

As the artist herself has acknowledged, Container is like ice and Nudge is reminiscent of ice-floes, while Slide is genuine ice. The pleasure in this material reference could be interpreted as a paradox uniting opposes ? old and heat, essence and its dissolution ? but beyond precise inter- pretations, Meta Isæus-Berlin´s sculptures are sweet metaphors of becoming, of the diverse ways of responding to life´s complexity, and of the strength in the desire to generate new realities. This is why they connect so strongly to Nietzsche´s Dionysian affirmation that the purpose of art Is to keep desire alive and to reinforce the will to live.

Translated from the Spanich by Ersi Samará