A Sudden Drop
by Sveinn Fannar Jóhannsson
Oslo, Norway: Multinational Enterprises, 2015
211 x 290 x 16 mm
743 photographic illustrations
Unsigned and unnumbered
Print run 500
Essay by Stian Gabrielsen
A Sudden Drop + Eight and a Half Days, 2015.
Artist’s books wrapped in found underwear. Limited edition of 30 copies with an original 30,6 x 22 cm color ink-jet print enclosed in an acid-free, cellulose archival folder, housed in a Hahnemühle archival box.
Signed and dated.
Courtesy of the artist and Multinational Enterprises.
A Sudden Drop features photographs of clothing found on streets in a central part of Oslo. The book is part of a larger body of work that includes cartographical material, sculptures and installations. The theme of these works – consumer consumption and decay in a specific geographical area – takes on a somewhat abstract and scientific tone. Jóhannsson’s photographic method follows up ideas he has explored in earlier publications: instrumentality is juxtaposed with temporality yet also infused with consumer aesthetics and technical misunderstandings.
In an essay in the book, the artist and writer Stian Gabrielsen discusses aspects related to shame, intentionality and redundancy:
Sveinn had picked up discarded clothing en route to his studio for about a year. He had been surprisingly ardent about it, considering the many factors that made it cumbersome: the shame of picking what other people considered rubbish up off the street, which I imagined must have instilled a feeling like the one you’d get from foraging public garbage cans for bottles; the sensation of touching the muck-crusted exteriors of said garments; the unavoidable accumulation of filthy clothes on his studio floor—there as a constant reminder—menacing him with the question of why in God’s name he was filling his studio with this refuse. (excerpt from ‘Limb Shave’ by Stian Gabrielsen)
The booklet Eight and a Half Days, which documents what happens to the articles of clothing pictured in A Sudden Drop, is in some respects like a redundant insert; it can also be understood as a completing coda to the photographic book or as an independent work. The found material is archived and rendered unusable by means of a mechanical crusher. It is then returned to the location where it was originally found – now in a ‘zipped’ or compacted version of past and present. The four heavy, cubic sculptures are observed carefully from day to day, exposed to public view and the exigencies of urban life.