Marina Fokidis' text on Ylva Snöfrid
Who are you and how many of you are there…?
Formerly, the artist’s name was Ylva Ogland. Actually, her first name was Ylva Snöfrid and her last name was Ogland, but she was called Ylva Ogland.
Ylva lived in the what seemed to be the real world, while Snöfrid lived behind the mirrors, in the so-called mirror world, (a world which is often described as less than real).
Snöfrid has been always there, since Ylva’s childhood, acting as her mirror twin.
Later, she became a part of Ylva’s “art” (“art” as per what “artists” do).
For many years, Ylva brought Snöfrid into the world through rituals and ceremonies, through objects and publications, through food and elixirs, through painting her again and again and again and again… Until they were finally fused into one.
We welcome Ylva Snöfrid, who is here now.
‘We used to be divided into two entities, and we were something else: Ylva Ogland the artist, painter, mother, lover, and friend on the one hand, and Snöfrid, her mirror twin on the other. Now, we have gone through a transmutation. And we have amputated Ogland. And a third phase is beginning What happens when the “artist” and the “art” are brought closer together? When they become essentially one?’ Ylva asks, perhaps rhetorically.
This is what we are set to see in the present, and in the future
There must be a magical element to accepting the duality of the human soul, and the duplexity of human thought. Only then, perhaps, can the ambiguous relation of image and reality truly make sense, and even pose a profound challenge to the “hegemony” and its heroic narratives, its singular truths, and its prevailing patriarchy. In her writing, philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler often refers to the idea of identity (gender and desires) as flexible, free-floating and uncaused by any other stable factors. By constantly questioning the practices of art and the identity of the artist–as well as herself in every sense–Ylva embodies Butler’s proposition.
‘The body is the shelter,’ the Oracle said (speaking through Ylva Ogland and Rodrigo Malea Lira), the first time we all met in Athens, and then Snöfrid appeared under the Shadows of Athena, in the form of a drink. This was the Acropolitic Mirror Vodka, which was eventually dispersed into many, many, bodies–primarily those which would allow her to enter them. And “art” became everybody’s asset. Now, both entities meet in one body, unbound, stronger, and–as this age seems to call for–set on continuing to challenge our conceptions of normality and question why these norms still prevail over other modes of being. The body as such appears here as a tool for the advancement of social and political thought, and as a refuge for the inseparableness of Ylva and Snöfrid, of matter and spirit. A forceful unity, as the last resort for resistance, has come to be.
Welcome to the awareness and the embodiment of the unconscious–the unconditioned.
Plato writes “those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed by the masses.” The allegory of the cave–as narrated by Socrates in Plato’s Republic–describes shadows as the prisoner’s reality, a manufactured reality different from “true” reality. Those living in the cave cannot grasp that the shadows are cast by people and objects passing or being moved in front of the sun. Yet, some of them manage to flee this prison and look directly at the sunlight, and achieve some hope of collective change! They are the ones who face life in its entirety, and do so at their own peril.
Everything originates in life. That which is said, or remains unsaid and is concealed, and that which is accepted, or unaccepted and controversial–all these opposing forces converge in Ylva Snöfrid’s work. Painting and the body are equal mediums of expression. They are the agencies of meaning, and the shrines from whence the “prophecies”–which are now contained in unity–are spread. Through the completion of the osmosis between the seemingly real and the seemingly mythical, the metaphor becomes a process of transportation (metaphor derives from the Greek word metaphora, which means transfer), and the allegory transforms into everyday reality. The essence is carried over to form. A kind of art practice, which can be extended into a way of life and of being together!