Jordana Loeb’s first solo exhibition in the gallery’s new location at Hudiksvallsgatan 6, Wooden Feedback (2022), is a multidisciplinary installation that explores her body’s movements with wooden carvings, sound art, printmaking, and video. Utilizing the physicality of natural fibrous material, Loeb creates wood and stone carvings, sonic resonators, and relief prints to reflect on the transmutation of natural materials and the body.
Hollow dome sculptures lay the landscape for interaction. Found logs are transformed into stretching limbs. Thin sheets of wood become feedback resonators performed and modulated by the body. The exhibition space reveals a field of isolated wooden sculptures that communicate as a collective organism. Her carved log series resembles skeletal structures suspending outwards from Theraband latex straps to form actions of pulling, stretching and balancing. Smooth wooden formations protrude from the ground inviting physical interaction between the artist and the object. Resonating feedback emerges sporadically from hanging metal plates and large wooden carvings, turning sculptures into speaker membranes.
In her relief-print series, bodily actions are printed and then carved, creating gestures of rolling, dragging, and pushing. The process of carving around the imprinted form lifts the body out of wood and onto paper. These simple motions are performed to correlate the print with the anatomy and action. The relief and screen printing process is not merely a recording document but also aims to inform the movement itself.
Loeb’s background in ballet, modern dance, and the somatic method “Klein technique”, has led to a movement-inspired practice that studies bodily alignment through working with muscles of deep postural support. This fascination crosses between her printmaking, sculptural and sonic works to investigate the synergy and consequence of movement.
Jordana Loeb (b. 1987) is a Swedish-American artist residing and working in Stockholm since 2012. She holds a BFA with a focus on printmaking from Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts in New York.
See this short film interview with Loeb and her exhibition.
INTERVIEW WITH JORDANA LOEB BY EMIL IVEDAL
Hi Jordana, I know you have put in a lot of hard work to realize this exhibition at Galleri Duerr. How are you feeling now as the exhibition is being set up?
It has been an intensive period with much physical work, though I’m feeling very inspired. In working closely with wood, stone, video, and sound art, new ideas keep unfolding, and the work is continuously evolving. This has become a recurring theme as the way I work is very much material and process-based.
Since this is your first solo exhibition with the gallery, some visitors might not yet be as familiar with your artistry. Could you tell us something about your background, you studied printmaking at Syracuse University in New York, for example.
Yes, I have a BFA in printmaking with a focus on sculpture and video art. From a young age, my studies in ballet and modern dance have played a significant role in my practice today. Due to a past injury another important somatic method, Klein Technique keeps informing my work. This study analyzes everyday motions while focusing on body awareness, alignment, and anatomy. Looking at this exhibition, one can see traces of bodily forms in movement.
Talking about physicality and printmaking, I know that you utilize a strikingly physical technique in creating your relief prints. Could you tell us more about that?
Since 2009, I have been developing a series of works under the title Body Carvings, which involves printing my body’s motions. In short, I start with an action, a large wooden panel, and a bowl of ink. I cover my body with pigment and perform a repetitive movement along the block. The act of carving and printing by hand is quite meditative and laborious. The image is transferred to paper with circular hand motions using a Japanese rolling barren, a flat leather disk with rotating metal balls. This technique helps me control the pressure and adds an element of unexpectedness to the final print.
One could say that the process is very three-dimensional, but that the end result is transformed into a flat two-dimensional image. Do you have any reflections on that?
Yes, I think the physical language of printmaking is why I gravitated toward it in the first place. In regards to the two-dimensionality, I felt limited in expressing movement through an image. This process influenced me to focus more on the relationship between body and material. I started working three-dimensionally with wood and stone, observing these objects as separate bodies. Being drawn to the characteristics of these natural materials and exciting them through sound and performance.
That gets us to the exhibition at hand, which is even more oriented toward spatial installations rather than flat images. Could one say that this is a somewhat new path in your artistic practice?
Absolutely, blending motion, sound, and material has been a satisfying process. These installations are developments of this awareness of how my body relates to the work. That is, for example, why the sculptures are around my size, acting as body armor or extra appendages. Most importantly, I am thinking of the interaction between the objects, as well as how these sculptures inform movement in themselves.
Another prominent medium in this exhibition is sound. Could you say something about the sound that resonates through the exhibition space?
This past year, I’ve been focusing on how sound resonates through various materials such as metal, wood, and stone. In this exhibition, the viewer meets three unique sonic sculptural installations. At the far end of the space, for example, six steel sheets surround a marble object, resonating with the sounds of breaking rocks. The recordings document the hand technique of drilling and hammering iron wedges into granite, as well as the crackling noise before the rock falls apart. From this experience, I realized that one can discover the frequency of each stone. I found this process to be quite a beautiful phenomenon, which I’m elaborating further on. I also want to note that my partner, Anders af Klintberg has played a vital role in this exhibition, helping me understand the technical possibilities and limitations of sound.
The exhibition is called Wooden Feedback, how did you come up with the title?
The title Wooden Feedback is inspired by a video performance where I placed a contact mic and transducer onto a wooden sheet, which created a loop of resonating sounds feeding back onto itself. I then used the body’s actions to modulate the sound. Secondly, the title draws upon the essential process of how all these works came into being. That is, the interplay between the material and my own bodily movements, and how they feed off one another.
At last, I wonder what your future artistic plans look like. Will we see or hear more sound works in the future?
Definitely! At the moment, I’m taking the Sound in Interaction course at Konstfack, and am eager to apply these newly learned sonic techniques to my practice. In relation to the stone project, I will continue recording the sounds of splitting boulders in Ösmo this summer.
PERFORMANCES HELD DURING STOCKHOLM ART WEEK, Saturday, April 30, 2022
Live concert and performance piece in symbiosis with Jordana Loeb’s exhibition ”Wooden Feedback” with Linnea Talp, Sonja Tofik, Theodor Kentros, Jordana Loeb, and Anders af Klintberg.
Linnéa Talp is a Stockholm-based composer and musician. Her compositions seek to examine the physical experience of breathing, aiming to expand bodily movement into sounding. Her practice centers around presence and focused listening, in which she creates minimalistic yet rich sonic weaves, with the organ as its foundation. Her upcoming album Arch of Motion, consists of eight pieces for pipe organ, with subtle elements of instruments, bass clarinet, voice, and flute. The album features guests Mariam Wallentin, Christer Bothén, and Martin Küchen, released under the label Thanatosis. Linnéa has been performing at Sound of Stockholm, Orionteatern, and Ställbergs Gruva to name a few, as well as an ongoing collaboration with the artist Jordana Loeb. See a short film of the performance here.
Sonja Tofik creates intimate and melancholic experimental music. Her distorted and slowly lulling synth loops are paired with folk-inspired vocal melodies and field-recorded samples. Tofik’s work focuses on superimposed repetitive structures of analog and digital synthesis, drones, sampled textures, and voice. She draws inspiration through models of human nature and society, and concepts of spirituality in modern civilizations. See a short film of the performance here.
Theodor Kentros is often accused of “rushing through the process” by using a lo-fi aesthetic, or in this case seven speakers, to free himself from having to answer to accusations about his lack of mixing ability. However, this is not a cop-out; it is rather a product of his heavy influence from sampling culture. Ranging from ragged soundscapes produced on the sp-404sx sampler to, for lack of a better word, “minimal” pieces made up solely by sine wave oscillators his music has been compared to what Tim Hecker would sound like if he were deaf, a comparison not necessarily far from the truth. Abruptly shifting between shorter rhythmical tracks and longer drone works it is however easy to assume that Kentros is indeed just faking his way through it all, and the saying take the money and run might finally have found its new poster boy, since DB Cooper is probably not with us anymore. See a short film of the performance here.
Anders af Klintberg is a Stockholm-based musician, producer, and film composer. With over a decade of recording and producing in the Stockholm scene, af Klintberg has established his distinct sonic touch through a multitude of live and recording projects, most notably Joe Davolaz, Sverige, and Lovers. In recent years he has worked alongside renowned Swedish film composer Matti Bye for picture works and studio albums. See a short film of the performance together with Jordana Loeb here.