This year’s exhibition from students completing the Fine Art MFA at HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design unites ten artists under the philosophy that what is not said is just as important as what is said. The title Biting My Tongue alludes to an interaction between what is spoken, and certain types of silence; or to the act of simultaneously saying something but instantly regretting it.
Silence can be a conscious strategy to avoid saying things that could be perceived as offensive. Or it could be an expression of vulnerability, signalling a fear of reprisal. The title opens up associations to various psychological states. Above all, what happens when free expression of thought and one’s personality are silenced, by coercion or other external influence?
And who is actually biting their tongue? Who is it that says something one moment only to regret it the next, or fails to speak at all? If it is the students themselves choosing to suppress their thoughts and feelings, what does that say about the climate for art creation? And about our society at large?
The ten students featured in Biting My Tongue work in various media – everything from painting and sculpture to performance, installations and video works. Materiality and mysticism coexist with investigations into norm criticism, psychosocial health, sexualization and physicality. The individual psyche and the ideals of our society are brought into dialogue, through art that has its own agency and voice. Many of the students use ironic strategies to examine the building blocks of language itself, and the interpretation of words. The contemporary moment revealed in the exhibition seems characterised by loneliness, mental illness, violence, and an overwhelming feeling of being stuck within systems and structures.
From diverse perspectives, these artists demonstrate a pathos and commitment that gives us a valuable glimpse into the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Anna Kristina Bergman, Ricardo Diaque, Yana Deliyska, Saga Eklund, Thais Fernandes, Maria Hardin, Jonathan Lystbæk, Andrea Giovanni Oded, Pablo Encinas Alonso and Monique van der Wal.