Edith Karlson "Drama Is In Your Head: Don’t Look Down", 24 October – 2 January 2015
A fourth instalment of this series of exhibitions, it displays the artist’s unwillingness to give up the theme of “drama” that she has been studying for the past three years. There was the first, Berlin drama: an installation that marked the artist’s departure from her early more joyful exhibitions, often featuring sculptures of animals. The only hint that remained from these early post-university shows was a sculpture of a black dog observing a much darker installation: an industrial construction supporting a dismantled human, her organs externalised, flows of blood and brain exposed in a cynical representation of a biological construction of a drama. The second exhibition presented an army of child-sized ghosts poured out of plaster, marking a point in Karlson’s life post-thirtieth birthday when childhood fears met anxieties of adulthood. The third was a more expansive installation, deliberately showing a less defined moment, perhaps, opening a path towards less predetermined dramas or surrendering to what was to come next. There were several works on view in a significantly less united arrangement. A dinasour examining itself in a mirror with a streem of blood coming out of its mouth; basement floor covered in plaster; ceramic geese with their necks bent; and next to these a lonely ghost sculpute from Karlson’s previous show, only this time with a smiley spraypained onto its previously blank face. Accompanying the last show was a press text written by the artist herself and comprised of one sentence: “And then they said: „Think positive!“”
If with the first two “dramas” came the realisation of one’s own body and then of the fears attached to it, then the third show in the series attempted to introduce an external element – “them” who instruct the artist to “think positive”. Taking the advice, the show was knowingly over-optimistic surrendering to the pressures imposed on the artist following the successful reception of the previous exhibition. But if it was an attempt to please then the press release exposed the irony with which the artist exhibited her compliance. The new show, with its additional title “Don’t Look Down” is further evidence of the artist including these external forces, be it advice from friends, self-help mantra, or pressure to deal with the situation, in her thougt and work process, dealing with them as with her previous explorations as with something problematic – as with dramas.