by Mats Hjelm
The Healer consists of four photographic works with luminous signs, two parallel single- channel video installations, and a sound and video sculpture. The exhibition is a continuation of Kap Atlantis, a video-installation from 2003. In this work Hjelm explored existential dimensions of destructive historical legacies in reference to a dystopic vision of the future, inspired by Harry Martinson’s novel Aniara. With The Healer, Hjelm explores a similar strand by using narratives of futuristic prophecies that comment on the past as future memory. The main theme of the exhibition is based on the poem 22nd century by the artist Exuma, a Bahamian visionary,humanistic philosopher and people’s poet, that reflects a conception of the future as a false liberation. Whereas Harry Martinson’s novel drew on Vedic and Buddhistic traditions, Exuma draws on the more obscure Obeah cults in the Caribbean. Throughout the work, we hear songs of future prophecies that make us confront contemporary realities, as if they were warnings coming from a cautionary tale. In this exhibition, image, text and sound form a dense story about history and memory that operates as if in a crossroads, against the backdrop of physical and spiritual healing.