Annika von Hausswolff writes about an image by Ola Åstrand
Image: Ola Åstrand,1994, approx. 40×60 cm
A reclined woman, her posture slightly askew. The image is cropped just below one breast. The other breast is not showing, assumingly resting intact just outside the frame. Actually, the perceptible breast is not there either. Not if you consider the place it ought to be in relation to the given anatomy of the body. The breast is hovering elsewhere. If you let your eyes glide along the outline of the body, it can be found to the right of the head. The nipple seems erected and points to the left. The breast looks like a spaceship about to be engulfed by a black hole. There is namely a gaping mouth not far from the breast in the image. The mouth is located on the forehead. The throat echoes darkness and the attraction seems to be immense. The gaze tumbles down, tries to find solace in the emptiness that expands in the jaw area. There is a white field, an open space, a nowhere. I would suggest this is a condition where nothing can force a negative space, a closed system. The gaping mouth in the forehead glances at me like a third eye. An additional eye which in the field of mysticism is regarded as the royal road to existential insight. A place where the ego is merging with the universe. The other eyes in the face sit where they should. They glare at me accusingly; You think you got it, but really, you haven´t. Thus, the mouth-eye appears quite basic in its desires and intentions. The oral stage relates to another symbiotic relation; the one between mother and child. Imagine the breast that lavishly fills the tiny body with meaning and content. Time is transformed into a perpetual ocean in this instant satisfaction of needs. Not unlike the third eye which is said to connect the past with the future, creating an everlasting presence.
Hiroshima melted the skin, enclosed the eye to the pleasure of the night, stretched a sail along all we´ve been through. The children are laughingly rolling their eyes. They bend to pick them up, they lick to make them clean, they throw them off again. Chasing their eyes running, that´s how they keep moving! Much to your surprise they will later tell you; the eyes reflect nothing, they shine with absence, pave a glittering road through the dark. (And your pictures are questions to the answers you ignored in language.) Listen to the echo in the wards of the eye, the child is resting now. With shamelessness we slept that night. And the eyes of the children were roaming at last, around the axis of their age, while the orbit of the world came to a halt, ripped the sail.
She has got both breast and mouth, capable of slaking thirst and demanding satisfaction in one and the same body. Depending on the conditions, she is a creature of harmony dwelling in the world, or a monster. But many people, most of us really, wobble around between the extremes, not particularily satisfied or especially hungry; this insane indifference! Rolling your eyes like the children, you swallow the breast and crawl into whiteness. Your art does not comfort me.