Swedish artist, lives and work in Stockholm

Meta Isæus-Berlin – Avesta Art 2015

Written by: Karin Perers

In the gloom by the blast furnace and harsh, tarred wooden hatches, the light unexpectedly ricochets off the smooth blackness. The shiny black capsule catches the eye. Not being able to resist, we are confronted with something deeply personal – a writing desk in a home where we enter through no fault of our own.

‘Privacy has become so transparent. Intimate words in a phone conversation between two people are spoken out loud and can be heard by everybody on the bus. Enormous glazed façades make homes into shop windows and even the bathroom has see-through walls. TV channels invite us to speak out in banal confessional programmes. What happens to us as human beings when our personal lives immediately become public?’

Meta Isæus-Berlin’s works raise questions about integrity and self-respect. Memory sediment/volcanic energy, sealed with both an installation and painting has been specially commissioned for the smelting house. As we wander through the remains of this industrial history they make themselves felt – whether we want to see them or not.

‘If people can keep their stories to themselves for a while then there is time to reflect. Events and memories can mature. A choice can be made about what is revealed – and how. Not everything is, or can be, interesting for others. Retaining one’s experiences, evaluating and going through them, are ways managing one’s life with self-respect.

Many earlier visitors to Avesta Art still speak of Meta Isæus-Berlin?s disturbing work in 1997, Should I stay or should I go?. Half of the floor of what is now Björn Lövins Galleri was an installation of a burnt out room with two beds, chairs and tables. Despite the devastation great care had been taken – the beds were made with dazzlingly white sheets and fish were swimming in the aquarium on the chest of drawers. In the same place this year is her work Suppression – a table laid for two where the implied tyranny is for once visibly apparent.

‘There is surreptitious suppression in many people’s lives. From fear of antagonising someone or their turning up their nose, we refrain from doing or saying what we think will upset. We show consideration. We avoid asserting our right. We take our place in the pecking order.’

Meta Isæus-Berlin’s art is about everyday life, of the struggle to be a human being, fully grown and complete. Memory sediment/volcanic energy, sealed

Memory sediment/volcanic energy, sealed

Meta Isæus-Berlin was born in 1963 in Stockholm where she lives and works. She studied at the College of Fine Arts in Stockholm. In 1997 she participated in both Avesta Art and the Venice Biennial. Her works can be found in many art galleries and have been exhibited throughout Europe, in the USA and in Hong Kong.