Exhibitions / Forms of Deceit


Curated by Dunja Rmandic and Edwina Bartlem. An exhibition of artists who work with fiction. Bond showed anonymously under the pseudonym of curator Brant Haslough, in the presentation of a fictional museum style cabinet of painted light globes from Finland. The text that accompanied the work is as follows: Discover Scandinavia presents: In a Northern Light: painted light globes from Alajärvi, Finland Curated by Brant Haslough c. 1950s Enamel on manufactured light globes Loan courtesy Helsinki Art Museum, Helsinki This modest collection of painted light globes from the city of Alajärvi on Finland’s south-east coast represents a curious fusion of industrial and pagan traditions. Discovered in 1987 inside the ruins of the city’s Enteit Bulb Factory, these globes were once used as part of an elaborate solar ritual. For centuries, the townsfolk of Alajärvi have held spring festivals in anticipation of the sun’s return to their land, and from 1900 to 1960, the festival would culminate in a dawn ceremony called the ‘Kyrkonkylä’ or ‘bringing of light’, where, upon sighting the first rays of the rising sun, cliff-perched revellers would throw hand-painted light globes and decorative glassware onto the rocky beach below, causing cheers to erupt amongst those gathered upon hearing them shatter. Remnant shards of these shattered bulbs are highly sought after in Finland, and this collection of intact bulbs is extremely rare. The enamel designs were painted during the dark winter months in anticipation of the ‘Kyrkonkylä’ predominantly by Enteit Bulb Factory workers and their families from factory seconds. The company encouraged their employees to take part in this activity, providing them with free bulbs, enamel paint and brushes. The practice ceased in the 1960s when the factory closed, and its workers moved on. Many of the painted designs are clearly solar in inspiration, with radiating circles of orange and yellow paying homage to the sun’s place in Finnish folklore. Elsewhere, amongst bold swathes of contrasting purple, red and green, the influence of 1950s Scandinavian ceramic ware is evident. These unsigned totemic objects yield little clues to the identity of their makers. This particular collection appears to be the work of at least three artisans, with each bringing to their bulb an intense, closely worked quality that sits oddly with their limited lifespan. ‘In a Northern Light’ was curated by Brant Haslough with assistance from Discover Scandinavia, Culture Finland and Helsinki Art Museum.

In a Northern Light... (detail, 3 globes) 2008 by Chris Bond

In a Northern Light... (detail, 3 globes)  2008

enamel on glass

dimensions variable

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