Over de expositie
Carl Johan Högberg's paintings are usually based on existing images originating from magazines, books, archives, etc. His interest in media archaeology and the specific characteristics of the areas of cultural expression he deals with is the basis of his image selection. Högberg speaks of "sources bearing qualities of evidence, of making or proving a statement, documents with convincing powers in whatever field they originated from". One area of research is that of situations where reason has conquered superstition yet the fiction outlives the facts. The sources are approached with differing styles and strategies and the oscillation between fact and fiction is reflected in the mediums used.
The title of the exhibition derives from an article written by Daniel Rosenberg in 2000, and suggests that all works are connected to one core subject: she, and to one core activity: speaking. The article by Rosenberg deals with the story of Hélène Smith, the pseudonym for Catherine-Elise Müller, a young Swiss medium who gave celebrated séances for high society at the end of the 19th century. Among her more well known incarnations were Marie Antoinette, Caligastro and Victor Hugo.
In 1900 Smith came to fame with the publication of Théodore Flournoy’s book 'From India to the Planet Mars'. As Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva, he documented her various incarnations and experiences of glossolalia, as well as her contact with Martians. The book became very popular, but Hélène felt betrayed. Flournoy suggested that she was mentally ill. The Surrealists, on the other hand, proclaimed that she was the ultimate symbol of surrealist knowledge.
This exhibition provides another interpretation of Hélène Smith. Högberg's point of departure is the relationship/confrontation between Hélène and her examiners – from Flournoy, Breton, the artist or even ourselves as viewers.
'She Who Speaks' is the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of Carl Johan Högberg (1979, Eskilstuna, Sweden). Högberg is based in Amsterdam where he is currently participating in the De Ateliers programme.