With the exhibition “Tweemaal door de Blinden, tentoonstellingen over de samenwerking tussen de duistere krachten van het id en de sociaaleconomische perversie van de werkelijkheid” (Twice through the blinds, exhibitions on the collaboration between the dark forces of the id and the social-economic perversion of the real), Etablissement d’en face presents Norwegian artist Steinar Haga Kristensen’s first solo-exhibition in Belgium.

Haga Kristensen is also one of the founding members of the artist collective D.O.R. that was operational in Brussels during his three years residence in Belgium. For this exhibition Haga Kristensen has created an installation that runs over the two floors of the gallery-space in the form of a domestic ‘upholstered’ labyrinthine pavilion. A series of large-scale wall carpets make up life-sized interior scene staging a satirical collaboration between consumerist over-production and the dark forces of the id, shedding light to the digestive collapse in the modern body. This exhibition is realized with the kind support of OCA (Office for Contemporary Art   Norway).

On the occasion of Tweemaal door de Blinden, a book will be published at the end of the exhibition. The following is an experpt of a conversation that will appear in the book between Steinar Haga Kristensen and Michael Van den Abeele.

MVdA: The repeating and copying of images reminds me of a Greek Orthodox monk who once spoke about Icon-painting. He explained that the true mastering of icon painting lies in the ability to copy as good as possible ones predecessor; a good icon-painter puts as less possible of himself in the painting. In fact, his identity or ‘personal touch’ then would lie only within his failure or inability to make the perfect copy.

SHK: That’s interesting but what repeating and copying also does, is that it creates a morphic field within which there is a telepathic resonance. This idea comes from Rupert Sheldrake.

MvdA: Yes, Sheldrake, I read a book of him. I remember that he did several tests with termites and proved that they are inter-connected, or that they communicate in a way we don’t understand. As if every individual termite is a node in one giant mind.

SHK: Can you tell me more about the experiment?

MvdA: Sheldrake let a termite-group build a Termite-hill in a closed box in his laboratory. A metal wall divided the box in two parts and half of the termites were in one side, the other in the other side. It was impossible for the termites to smell, hear or see each other. The two termite-teams build the hill against the metal division. When it was finished it turned out that the tunnels inside the hill were in perfect connection; one side of the division to the other. He also did a test in which he dug a small tunnel straight to the room of the queen-termite. He put sleeping gas in it and the very instant that the queen was stunned all the termites in the entire hill stopped moving and working.

SHK: Yes, that is exactly what is about: the biological and mental similarity between the individual animal constitutes a “morphic field” generated by “morphic resonance”. The hypothesis of Sheldrake suggest that a particular form belonging to a certain group can read the collective information through the process of “morphic resonance” and tune into the same “morphic field”, using it to guide its own development. This development of the particular form will then provide, a feedback to the morphic field strengthening it with its own experience. Sheldrake argues that such “morphic field”can be set up by repetition of similar acts and thoughts.

MvdA: In other words it is a sort of telepathy.

SHK: Yes.

MvdA: Aha, so your copies and reprises of certain works have the same purpose: to create a similar morphic field.

SHK: Yes, you could say so. Do you have a light?

MvdA: There are also simply some images or sculptures that you have doubled, I mean motives inside a painting that are doubled (with Photoshop), to become sort of Siamese twins. Out of a simple and singular work you generate a twin. Is that more than a (effective) formal gesture?

SHK: They lead to a loss of identity, or better a radical denial of identity. Twins have their personality in between each other. Or at least I find it fascinating to think it is like that. But they also have a telepathic connection. But the Siamese twin images…for me it is not so much a formal trick; it is to create a parallax effect… actually (drinks one third of a bottle of water)…a telepathic parallax. The same way astronomers use the principle of parallax to measure distances to celestial objects, I intended to use it to locate…

MvdA: The id?

SHK: Exactly: their doubled position helps to calculate the distance between them and their id.