Still in Helsinki I met the multisided artist Carolin Koss.
Suiting her life situation, she lives in a former atelier. Next to her furniture, the room is full of tons of her works, painting, photographies, collages, canvases.
She does practically any kind of art but is mostly focussed on video and film.
Her main occupation is her artistic work and to managing to survive. It’s hard times for art. Even if you’re good and talented, the will or possibility to pay for hard work is low these days.
“I want to afford something to my audience.”
Caro studied art with specialization on “space and time” at Helsinki art university.
To me sound as the most fantastic studies i could imagine. Like inventing time machines or traveling to space. The focus lies on installation, new media and land art, as Caro tells me. In my opinion that is very close to time machines and intergalactic travels. So go for it!
The videos she does are surreal and partly abstract. She keeps them short and laconic because she doesn’t like video art that’s long, boring and impossible to understand. “I want to afford something to my audience.”
She showed me some of her work, f.e. the first part of her long term project “Emerald Green” called “TheFragile”. It is the first episode of a three-piece work. The very aesthetic and well-produced 10 minute video, shows states of a character “The Fragile”, living and wandering through a dark, surreal world.
“In the dream-logic, I feel free.”
The “dream-logic” of Caros work expresses in the mysterious sets and the plot. The character paces through minimalistic, mostly black and white spaces, his steps guided by unknown motivation, entering frames like gates to other worlds. Decent sounds and the consequent and clean designed surroundings create a very emotional, intriguing, almost morbid atmosphere.
The world of Emerald Greens is a dystopia. The characters live in isolation, because the outer world and nature got destroyed. They are depending on medication and are forced to live a life in darkness, without sunlight. For her examination with this topic, Caro also gets labeled as an ecology artist. “The Fragile” will be shown at G11 gallery in Berlin starting on July 10th, in the exhibition “Landscape-Metropolis”
Many of her works are inspired by dreams and surreal images. “In the dream-logic, I feel free.”
That on one hand, and abstraction on the other, seem to be recurrent elements of her work. As Caro told me, she likes to zoom in pictures, to show rather the matter of things and alienate them.
“The beautiful and the ugly are very close to each other.”
The color green also plays a big role for Caro, not only in her video work, but in general. “Green is a punk rock color. It stands for nature and poison.” Caro likes to combine opposites. For one of her video installations “Leerlauf”, she used the aesthetic image of monotonely moving industrial weaving machines. On one hand she is fascinated by the beauty in it, on the other hand she is aware of the mostly terrible conditions for the factory workers. “The beautiful and the ugly are very close to each other.”
When I presented the drafts of Maria Tolvanen, who had reproduced a very specific green tone that her reminded her of the sea, Caro decided to integrate the green in her work for domino.
Her own picture would be created with tape. A technique she discovered at a residency program in Berlin. She got inspired by some tape she found in the working space and the hardware store and started experimenting with it.
She produced a row of large formatted collages with tape and silver isolation styrofoam plates.
“The hard thing with tape is, once it sticks, it sticks.”
She digged out some bags with left over tapes and cut two small pieces of styrofoam that would fit in my suitcase.
As in any work she does, she sees it as the complete thing and doesn’t get lost in details. Whether with video making or painting, she never loses the whole idea.
Very carefully she started putting stripes of black, white and green tape on the silvery background. She created a geometric pattern, minding that she wouldn’t produce big gaps or parallel lines. Everything should be balanced. To add some deepness to the composition, Caro arranged the stripes crossing each other, at some spots overlapping, at others, being covered. “The hard thing with tape is, once it sticks, it sticks.”
When the two foam boards were almost filled, it got harder for Caro to accomplish the work. “Now the riddle begins.” Where to put the last stripes to keep the perfect balance.
Like a net of laser beams, the tape-strips now cut through a silver space. The holographic green lines have their own depth and are parted into tiny triangular forms themselves. The proportions of both pictures are very harmonic and though not the same, they simulate symmetry.
“Maybe I combine both, the German expressionism and the Finnish clarity.”
I wondered how one person could combine so many different styles and be so confident in each one of them, having in mind the well produced videos, seeing large canvases, filled with colorful expressive paintings and now being confronted with constructed, plain geometrical forms.
“Maybe I combine both, the German expressionism and the Finnish clarity.” Caro guessed with a smile.
Den roten Faden nicht zu verlieren (not to lose the red thread) is a typical German thing to say, that Caro often has to explain. The thread is connecting things with each other and functions as a guide line. Even if you get lost a little on side-paths, you’re not lost completely, as long as the red thread is still in reach.
“Grüner Faden” (green thread) as a title, doesn’t only make sense as a title for Caros tape-artwork, but also for me and the domino project. So I continue spinning my threads and head to next city, to Stockholm.