THE CHAMELEON AND BUBBLE WRAP STORIES
Ever wished you could simply vanish from an awkward situation and melt into the background? In his most recent exhibition, sculptor Kim Simonsson turns his attention to the chameleon and expands his expression from 3D sculptures to wall reliefs. In addition to sculptures created using conventional techniques, Simonsson has produced a series of stories printed on bubble wrap.
At school, faced with the prospect of having to speak in front of the class, Kim Simonsson often wished he could disappear into the blackboard. He wonders why children who are obviously timid are expected to perform from an early age. The works in this exhibition are all attempting to vanish, to make themselves as small as possible or shut away the world by closing their eyes. A little girl, stood in front of a huge blackboard has turned green (in Finnish schools, blackboards are typically green) and she is imprinted with the numbers from 1 to 7. The Blackboard (Liitutaulu) references Simonsson´s Camouflage sculpture where the artist created a little girl figure covered in tiles. The sculpture was placed in a shower, thereby disappearing from sight.
Last year, the tiles continued to pursue Simonsson, this time moving in a completely different direction. Simonsson´s public Temple (Temppeli), part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in Turku combines relief-style sculpture with pixellated tiled surfaces. Simonsson wanted to combine more up-to-date imagery with the traditional relief technique whilst splintering the effect with the starkly graphic look produced by the tiles. "When I was working on the sculpture for Turku at my studio, I noticed that the works on the wall and on the floor were communicating with each other. In the Chameleon exhibition, I have also made use of tiles and the narrative surrounds the entire space," Simonsson explains.
The tile reliefs will be joined by pieces made of bubble wrap and cast in concrete and plaster. The idea came to Simonsson by chance as he was working with concrete. Traditionally a packaging material, the artist began using bubble wrap as a storytelling medium."When I was working on concrete using pieces of bubble wrap, I suddenly realised that it makes for an excellent mould lining. I doubt there is a child in this world that hasn´t gone wild popping bubble wrap. The broken surface suddenly gave rise to something completely new. For these prints, I have used familiar images from children´s stories and old paintings. The wall-mounted images made from bubble wrap serve as a contrast for other works in the exhibition, which are designed to sink and vanish into the surface they are placed on. Unlike with the other works, the stories spill out from the broken bubble wrap surface. The chameleon is changing."
Sculptor Kim Simonsson works at the Arabia Art Department Society in Helsinki. He has been a member of the society since 2006. Simonsson received the Young Artist of the Year award in 2004 and the Didrichsen Foundation Pro Arte award in 2009. He has held solo exhibitions in the Nordic Countries, New York City, Paris and Berlin. He will next be collaborating with the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Camouflage exhibition and is preparing a solo exhibition in Paris.