Victoria Durnak, «Maximal Solutions», 2018, embroidered towels, hooks, dimensions variable
Our core muscles keep us upright. Central muscles in our stomachs and backs stabilize the spine and prevent swaying in the lower back (among other things), which in turn counteracts back problems.
I work as an artist and fiction writer. And in this exhibition I have tried to find my artistic core muscles. That which keeps my practice upright and stable.
Since December 2017, I have been working out at Elixia while I have been writing a novel that takes place in a gym. The novel is about a girl that finds out that her fiancé is cheating on her and hires someone to chase away her man’s mistress. “Mistress dispeller” is an occupation in China, and in my novel the mistress dispeller starts working out at a gym to become friends with the mistress there. The plan is to eventually talk the mistress out of the affair. I am thinking that the employer in my novel basically transfers a digital strategy outside the screen. She controls and edits her social circuit to the fullest, with an underlying goal of accomplishing “the optimal”.
The gym gives the impression that the optimal body is within reach. All you have to do is show up.
At the gym we are confronted by other bodies swaddled in synthetic materials that reveal more than they hide. We moan, push, sweat, and shower together with strangers – we are intimate in ways that are unheard of outside of the gym’s automatic sliding doors. At the same time, the gym can be seen as a metaphor for our time’s alone but together existence. Climb the treadmill. Headphones, check. Chose music. Volume up.
The exhibition has been supported by Arts Council Norway and Rogaland Art Center.
Victoria Durnak (b. 1989, Oslo) is an artist and fiction writer living in Oslo. She has two collections of poetry and three novels published by Flamme Forlag, the latest is called “The Mall” (2017). Durnak has participated in group shows like “Image Drain” at Tallinn Art Hall in Tallinn (2017) and most recently Høstutstillingen at Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo (2018). Solo shows include “Secret Friend” at Hordaland Kunstsenter in Bergen (2016) and “The Mistress Dispeller” at Podium in Oslo (2017).