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Ella Bertilsson stages a site specific exhibition at the Complex Gallery that plays with external reality and internal fantasy through the fabrication of a symbolic landscape that combines elements of sculpture, video and sound. Themes of domesticity, dissociation and escapism are explored through a layered narrative centred around a sequence of ritualistic and cyclical motions that reveals fragmentary conceits.
The exhibition communicates a multifaceted reimagining by presenting altered realities and transitional states, using metaphor, absurdity and persona to convey humorous transformations.
With an eerie sense of confinement juxtaposed by an underlying frequency of banality, the installation places the viewer into the scene. The exhibition foregrounds the eclectic facets of Bertilsson's practice, employing elements of detailed costume design, scenography and farcical storytelling to create an existential experience.
The following paragraph has been extracted from the essay ‘Tophead and Weighthead’ by Ingrid Lyons in response to Ella’s exhibition ‘Cut the Cake with Claws’. The full essay is available here.
"Try to experience heat; summer, sun and heat on the beach. Some kind of experience of very strong heat. Heat in the right leg. Heat in the left leg. Heat in the right arm, heat in the left arm, heat in the right sole, heat in the left sole. Heat in the right palm, heat in the left palm. Heat in the right eye, heat in the left eye. The whole body is hot. The whole body is hot. The whole body is hot. The whole body is hot. The whole body is hot. The whole body is hot. "
Ella Bertilsson (b. Umeå, Sweden) is a Dublin based visual artist who weaves dark humour and absurdity into sculpture, video, performance, sound and drawing.
She is currently a studio artist at Rua Red until 2023 and is a recipient of the Visual Arts Bursary Award 2021-2022 and the Project Award 2022 from the Art Council of Ireland. She has 1st class honours in Fine Art
Print (BA) and Art in the Digital World MFA programme both awarded from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland (2009, 2015).
Forthcoming solo exhibitions at Ballina Art Centre (2023) and the Complex (2022). Selected solo shows: Beyond the Sandy Suburbs, Pallas Projects/Studios (2018), Carrier of Memories, Draíocht Art Centre Inaugural Commission (2018), 11.9 km Northwest of the City Centre, Hobusepea Gallery Tallinn, Estonia (2018), The Waiting Room, ArtBox (2017). *past solo shows produced as a joint practice with artist Ulla Juske.
Recent group exhibitions: Periodical Review 11, Pallas Projects/Studios and Double Estate, Pearse Museum, OPW State Art Collection (2020-2021). Black Church Editions, The Library Project (2021), Stories from Lismore and Beyond, Lismore Castle Arts (2020), MART Award Exhibition; Home made Home (2020), Games for Artists & Non Artists, NCAD Gallery, curated by Brendan Fox (2020), Live performance SQUIRREL as part of Áine Phillips Buttered Up performance event, MART Gallery (2020).
Ingrid Lyons (b.1985) lives and works in Dublin, she writes about contemporary art and culture and is currently developing a number of works in fiction and art adjacent writing. Lyons frequently contributes to some of Ireland’s leading art publications including the Visual Artists’ News Sheet, Mirror Lamp Press and the Irish Arts Review. She has written for numerous art galleries and institutions in Ireland and internationally.
Lyons is interested in developing and distilling a writing practice that incorporates fictional literature and immersive research practices such as oral history collecting and musical collaboration to compliment more traditional academic research methodologies.
Image: courtesy of artist
Proudly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council.
CUT THE CAKE WITH CLAWS - ONLINE
'Cut the Cake with Claws - Online' hosts an interactive webpage containing digital collages by Ella Bertilsson, re-assembled online to create a cardboard world depicting an impression of the exhibition to come. The fire symbols within the collage act as buttons that link to separate pages presenting video works, drawings, and other digital material created by the artist.