My birth name is Ellen Ringstad, which is the given name of my formal embodiment. This website intends to serve a selection of artistic projects fabricated under this character's name. But be not bamboozled thinking that this constrained, digital framework can ever represent her accurately (nor anything else for that delicate matter.) A shell by any other name would smell just as sweet or as foul, depending on your frame of reference.
Although the artist formally known as Ellen Ringstad may appear a melancholic and introverted misanthropist literally and metaphorically exploring seemingly uncontroversial material and immaterial abstractions, there exists multiple roaming personalities underneath Ellen Ringstad's breathing membrane with different monikers and qualities accordingly; personas inhabiting layered planes of existence located somewhere between the exoteric and the esoteric, accessible to the initiated through a maze of benevolent passages and deceptive booby traps. Some of these identities are mostly kept away at safe distances from this website, although their presence may sporadically be observed demonstratively bulging like unevenly squeezed balloons or magnetised ferrofluids turned on and off. For now it suffices to mention that such veiled tangential manifestations relate more or less truthfully to the visual representation pictured above, below and beyond. And who knows? Maybe you'll willingly or unwillingly bump into mysterious rounded or pointy affirmations and negations some time sooner or later or never.
Generally my interests dwell in the realms of the existential which, truth be told, includes absolutely everything and nothing. Being and non-being. Curiosity however has a tendency to metamorphose itself into disillusionment, when confronted with the factual limitations of the human mind and its physical host. My artistic practice then, very broadly and yet humbly speaking, re-predicates the clichéd Socratic paradox 'I know that I know nothing' - a realisation both enormously constraining and vastly liberating - which brings us no closer to framing anything, does it? I don't blame you for feeling confused. Really. I empathise.
But nonetheless: I inhale another breath of air and postulate on the out-breath: To be aware of your limitations is infinitely better than allowing the precious time you were given on Earth to be drained by sadistic vampires of complacency, shaping and puppeteering the will of others like soggy chunks of clay marionettes. Or in the words of Sartre: 'Hell is other people'. 'The world is a dangerous stage where we must all play a part', and we are but passing byproducts of our time.
The illusion of seeming vs being is not always apparent, to paraphrase Plato's character Glaucon in The Republic; the game of life can be performed in many ways. The strategist must navigate wisely in the power-structural waters to survive. One can try and evade contemporary restraints by following the paths of repression or expression. Both alternatives are bound to trigger equal and opposite forces. One is not necessarily better than the other, theoretically speaking. Maybe there are other options?
I play it both safe and unsafe, having the bloody menstrual cake and eating it too - in an Ouroboric quest for Truth and Meaning. That is why, in an escapist attempt to avoid what Sartre refers to as 'the gaze of the Other,' it is my intention to create both explicit and subliminal contexts, sometimes so blatantly obvious that they might become invisible, like misplaced bifocals planted smack on the inquisitor's nose. Other times enclosed openings might emerge in which archetypes are free to speak their minds - aesthetically or unaesthetically - without the limitations imposed by those unable to distinguish between person vs role or intention vs methodology. Henceforth we arrive at the core, the conclusion and the beginning of my manifesto: In the kitchen of the imaginary, the symbolic and the real (paraphrasing Lacan), I will present to you an ongoing menu of primordial soups, boiled on the magical ingredient: 'Lies Through Truth Through Lies'.
I may be leading you astray, dear spectator, towards mysterious and confusing paths. Some say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The opposite may hold equally true. When desperately fighting raging storms or when floating disentranced in the midst of still waters, I suggest the following: sense again, think again. Scratch the surface of perceived reality. Or don't. Within the context of the processual continuum, there is no perfect ending. The process is the artwork.