Malin Bülow: Elastic Bonding

5 – 6 April 2019



Bülow’s performative installations draw attention to the body and in particular the skin. With next to clinical sharpness she seeks to touch upon the relational painspots around our existens. She works together with dancers that become activators and holders of her elastic, sensi-claustrophobic interventions.

During Multiplié dance festival Elastic Bonding will be presented in two different, but visually related versions:

Elastic Bonding part 1:
5 April 18.00–20.00 Babel visningsrom
6 April 11.00–13.00 Babel visningsrom

Elastic Bonding part 2
6 April 15.30–16.30 Prosjektrommet, Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder (get your ticket here)

About Malin Bülow:
Bülow holds an MFA from the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo and a BFA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In addition, a Msc in Neuroscience focused on social neuroscience and emotion from VU University in Amsterdam.
Her elastic installations have during the last couple of years been exhibited at various places both nationally and internationally; among them CHART at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen; SOFT gallery in Oslo; Kunstbanken – Hedmark Kunstsenter in Hamar; the a festival Sted Søker Kunst in Ski and Cosmoscow International Art Fair in Moscow.

Concept/ developed by: Malin Bülow
Dancers: Marie Rechsteiner, Karoline Bergh Ellingsen, Gunhild Løhre
Supported by: Kulturrådet, Trondheim kommune, Trøndelag fylkeskommune og Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond

Elastic Bonding is presented as a part of Multiplié dansefestival 2019.



malin2 web

Interview with Malin Bülow
by Anne Ulrikke Bak

Describing it herself as “site-sensitive, sensi-claustrophobic interventions” Malin Bülow’s Elastic Bonding explores the possibilities of elasticity and fluidity within rigid frameworks. The work has previously been set up different versions, latest during CHART SOCIAL at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, but also at SOFT gallery in Oslo, Cosmoscow International Art Fair in Moscow, Kunstbanken performance festival in Hamar and at Sted Søker Kunst in Ski. On April 5 – 6, it can be experienced in two parts in Trondheim in collaboration with DansiT as part of the Multiplié Dance Festival programme. With a MSc degree in neuroscience, working continuously with the body isn’t new to the artist, who once again, with the live installation at Babel visningsrom for kunst and the show at LKV prosjektrom, takes Elastic Bonding new places. Babel talked to Malin Bülow to learn more.

Can you introduce us to Elastic Bonding?
As activator and carrier of the sculptural, the body is essential in my works. With changing compositions and living bodies I seek to challenge the classical silence of sculpture. The dancers activate my sculptural systems and spatial interventions in durational performative seances that demands an intensive, kinetic presence of them. In my latest works, the bodies are symbiotically attached to each other and to institutional, rigid elements. In Elastic Still Lives they are conjoined like siametic twins. They exchange body fluids via an enormous sculptural infusion stand in Kroppsligt transfusionsförfarende and are they bound to squared structures bigger than the human body in the different versions of Elastic Bonding.
The works are site-sensitive and always developed with great attention to the room they are performed in. I mainly work with two components; elasticity and fluidity. What I am interested in, is the potential for movement inherent in both the fluid and elastic matters. With materials that are elastic and fluid I seek to stretch the bodily borders. To visualise new, fluid body perceptions. This is in line with the French ècriture féminine-tradition that questions the visions of the Enlightenment and the human being as detached and self sufficient. As fluid our bodily borders are constantly reconsidered and renegotiated – we become one with everything. It is an elusive, but on an abstract level tickling concept, challenging both anthropocentrism and individualism.

You have a background in neuroscience. How does this influence your work?Neuroscience is, in various ways, a central source of inspiration to me. I have studied many years to understand the communicative web of cells and neurones. The borders within our bodies are not firm lines, but fragile membranes allowing continuous flow and equalising osmosis. I am interested in the soft inner rhythms, on a visual and theoretical level, but also in relation to the movements of the bodies. I seek to externalise these rhythms, to form a condition where the poetics of the clinical sterile merges with the emotional and the sensual.
Having studied the human body to its smallest unit, the essentialist ideas about the human and body are close at hand. I find that I want to relate more to body than to individual in my practice.
I seek to visualise a generic body, one that is free of personality and individuality. In the showroom the bodies are enclosed in membranes of textile, a common skin that depersonalise and de-individualise them. It becomes one way to reach the core of existence – to what unites rather than divides.

Who or what are you inspired by in your work?
Currently it might be Astrida Neimanis book Hydrofeminism – Or, On Becoming a Body of Water. It feeds into the overall concepts I work with, the fluid and the “dissolution” of bodily boundaries.

How do you work with the dancers, the performers?
I have worked with a quite settled group of performers who I have known since my art academy years. For Babel visningsrom and Multiplié I am collaborating with locally connected dancers and the same goes when I set up things abroad. The dancers are free to physically interpret my visual ideas. We work with fragile movements, melting bodies and slowness.
Similar to the physical wound, vulnerability creates a mental hole that makes us leak, change form and float. We become plastic. We are in transformation, process and creation, just as much as we are in dissolution. Vulnerability facilitates a direct way in. It melt our skins and with this, it form potential for new body formations. This is a central line of thought in the development of the movements: How does it look when a body melts from the inside? When liquid leaks from one part of the body to another? Or when it leaks beyond the barriers of the skin? What body formations are then created?
The initiation of movement, change and rhythm starts from an imagined centre part of the line; head, lungs, diaphragm, stomach, intestinal system and pelvic floor. In this region are soft rhythms, contractions and pulses, cells whose osmotic capacity create balance between barriers.
How does an externalisation of these soft rhythms look? How to translate this into subtle movements? Motions that aren’t sensed from a distance, but create a hyper-activated sensory experience when near. The arms remain limp extremities, shutoff prostheses. The legs a collected extension of the centre. The body becomes one line and the stretchable joint makes it possible to work with gravity as a moving element.

There will be two parts of Elastic Bonding. What are the differences between them?
In the project space at Lademoen I work with vertical elasticity. The bodies are anchored to squared frameworks in the ceiling. At Babel visningsrom I work with horizontal elasticity with the bodies attached to frameworks attached to the wall.  At Lademoen the viewers will sit down with the piece for 45 minutes. I hope this somehow facilitates a different kind of focus. I describe the work as an installation, a live installation, and usually people come and watch, they walk out and come back in. But here, doors will be closed and you’re supposed to stay for the whole duration. In that sense, I am trying out the difference of having a very focussed audience, an audience that eventually becomes bored or hopefully rather finds another level of presence within themselves and the piece.
Personally, I once had a great experience during a rehearsal. Usually, I make a lot of photos and videos, a lot of looking through the lens, but this time I decided to just sit down without doing anything else for the full length of the performance. And I got very emotional. It seems kind of weird, saying that about your own piece, but it was all about experiencing the bodies activating what I had visually imagined.
Another time I covered the openings to the gallery space with the textile elongations. I asked the audience to wear earplugs, to make them focus on their own breathing and their own inner rhythms. It felt very, very calm. I even saw someone fell asleep and that was nice as well. I think there is a potential in places where you have to slow down. It is a feeling I would like to come back to. Maybe it is also for my own sake, to deal with my own being all over the place. I often feel that I don’t have grounding, and so I look for the places where roots will start growing from the feet, those kinds of sensations.
What I wanted to try out this time with Elastic Bonding was to work with vertical versus horizontal elasticity. Also different from what I have done before, I this time intermingle the elasticity and the fluidity. I work with silicon tubes filled with liquids, white liquids, together with the fabric, the elasticity. There will be this movement of the breathing; one of the bodies will move the water level, the white coloured water, running through the elastic suits. Merging the fluidity and the elasticity is new to me, and I am still trying to figure out what is going on. Suddenly I see a lot of milk, maybe it’s a futuristic lactation situation, I don’t know. There’s also something about being stuck in this, what could very well be an umbilical cord. I think that it’s interesting, no one remembers how it feels to get born. But we have all been through it, we are all coming from that water going through that thin canal, it must be chaotic and super stressful. I mean, it is intriguing if we all carry that with us, without ever giving words to it. If I can grab something there, something that is universal but very hard to describe and impossible to remember on a conscious level. However, it is still difficult to formulate at this stage. What I do is basically to merge the elasticity and the fluidity to see what happens when they meet.