In Sophie Tottie’s exhibition AiWHEtL, the past is materialized in the present through recycling. Leftover products like paints and brush cleaner are incorporated and reused in new work and re-workings of previous work and text material.
Based on rules that stipulate the repetition of lines, visual and spatial shifts, or specific color recipes, the work depicts intersections in the middle of changing thought structures.
The paintings, drawings, objects, and videos of the exhibition AiWHEtL revolve around doing and thinking as a process of understanding, in which the result essentially cannot be owned but remains something in constant change.
AiWHEtL is an acronym for “As if We Had Everything to Learn.”* The work’s starting point is a form of learning where the question is not what it’s about but how it works. For instance, the relation between doing and thinking when it comes to recycling and a re-evaluation of what has been said and done. The ink paintings Sense (Universal(s)) (2020) have brush washing as their starting point just as much as abstract life studies. Different parts of the work process, such as news reporting, literature, music, and thoughts on making abstractions accessible, have been ground down to image and ink. Forms and ink-making from scratch do not only involve fabricating but also focus on how ink and image continue transforming – in the case of the ink, as it is exposed to air and takes shape on the paper, and in the case of lines and circles, as they open up to new association patterns.
AiWHEtL is based on the fact that the world is always inevitably changing, at the same time as we humans look for patterns and regularities. For instance, the video Lagtextsång / Law Text Song (2021) and the drawings in the series Möbius Mesh (2017) consist of material in which regulatory frameworks such as grammar or legal texts are transformed in an encounter with image and sound. Together the parts of the different works presented here form a foundation on which everything from more intangible associations (like how circles bring to mind planets and cycles) to concrete images (of documentary photos, printed text, contour images) and physical material (canvas, paper, paint, metal, wood) – builds new constellations of meaning.
The work includes a kind of manifold perspective, in which different sources and methods show that what leads to the “here and now” that people live through today, is not a conglomeration of facts and an endpoint but something that is remodeled not only via actions but also with ongoing contemplation, media reports, changed thought patterns, and by rewriting history, preconditions and dreams.
Paintings and drawings such as White Lines (wubg.tds) (2010-), Single Fare (2016) and Alltet, das All, the All (2017-) try to become aware of their own genesis by incorporating the unplanned images and marks that emerge from the mixing of paint and the use of tools. The works thus function as prisms of sorts that weigh and measure, materializing something that may seem to belong to an inner, intangible reality with an outer more material, physical existence.