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Micromutant VIII (2007) on its way to the Sofia Paper Art Biennial

Ellen Ringstad. Micromutant VIII (2007). My never-before-shown sculpture Micromutant VIII (2007) will be presented at the Nordic Art exhibition at the Sofia Paper Art Biennial, from October 13th to November 5th.

It bears a slight resemblance to a certain virus maybe, no? Of the many, many mutations in my "Micromutant" paper sculpture-series from back in the day, I wasn't entirely sure wether this version was real or a just figment of my past imagination. Turns out it was deep asleep within my archives, but very much alive.

I am pleased to finally have a suiting context for it, 15 years later!

Many versions of these tactile sculptures have been shown mostly hanging, so that the audience would have an intimate close-up view. Viewers have probably not been able to resist the temptation of touching, then becoming a participatory aggregate and gradual destructor of it. For this exhibition, Micromutant VIII will be shown in a pedestal glass display, to create a deliberate distance from the viewer. Context matters, and the pedestal, just like the art institutional "white cube", has the power to enhance the focus and value of what is displayed. Although made in 2007, I have reappropriated Micromutant VIII thinking about the controversial corona virus lab leak theory - were the dispute is whether the mutation originated from the "natural world", or from unethical human laboratory experiments. Originally inspired by the natural world such as the microbial/fungi micro-cosmos, reefs, plants etc, these sculptures gradually mutated through the lens of my imagination. I am interested in the paradox of opposites - of push/pull, attraction/repulsion, natural/synthetic, orininality/appropriation, curiosity/consequences, vulnerability/resilience, beauty/ugliness, ethics vs morality, rich/vs poor materials dynamics. The arte povera movement has been a reference in many of my choice of "low value" or waste materials throughout. It is also curios how our mass curiosity to explore and exploit nature, i.e reefs, can result in its deterioration and ultimately destruction. Paper is a material that we easily take for granted; a "cheap" material maybe in socioeconomical or capitalistic terms, but valuable from a biological, historical and cultural perspective. It is both fragile, but can also be, by the very nature of its origins, strong.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by officials of the Embassies and consulates from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Organized by AMATERAS Foundation and Curator Daniela TODOROVA, the Sofia Paper Biennial 2022, is part of the SOFIA PAPER ART FEST 2022, Bulgaria. This is my 3rd participation thus far (fourth, if counting the year I had to cancel a performance due to illness). The main aim of the exhibition is to create a tradition in the presentation of contemporary 2D and 3D paper art, by artists from all over the world, and to exceed the ordinary expectations of using paper. The theme of the biennial is sustainability in art, architecture and product design associated with green ecology and science.

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