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FAKE BONES – “Flipped-out piece on the search for bones” |Tor Billgren

Flipped-out piece on the search for bones
By Tor Billgren

Translation: Vanim Zetreus
Published September 22nd, 2015

Leif Holmstrand and Olta
”Fake Bones” - Lilith Performance Studio, Malmö - until 9/26

This is a cooperation that feels self-evident in many ways. The Malmö-based artist Leif Holmstrand has, for a long time, worked with horror films, sexuality and the abnormal body, through, among other things, shapeless knitted garments with space for tentacles and mysterious extremities. The exploration of the body and the organic is one of many connecting points between the two artistries meeting at Lilith Performance Studio.
The Tokyo-based performance group Olta was formed in 2009 and currently consists of seven people. In previous works, they have, wearing baggy costumes, moved through abandoned places in cities like Berlin, Chernobyl and Fukushima, as if to occupy them and, aided by art, document.
As a center at Lilith, Holmstrand and Olta have placed a giant baby sculpture, a conjoined twin with heads and arms at both ends. The demon baby at the end of Lars von Trier's "Riget," which grows and grows until arms and legs break by its own weight, comes to mind.
All around, on top of, and inside the sculpture, Olta-members revolve, like sleepwalkers, in their impractical costumes, and perform various tasks. Like Oompa Loompas - not in a chocolate factory, but rather in a Hieronymus Bosch painting Paul McCarthy have stomped to pieces with clown shoes, and attempted to mend with plaster and chicken wire.
In a garbage-bag-suit, Holmstrand lumbers forward. Sometimes, he saws off parts of strollers with an angle grinder so the sparks fly. Parts he then uses to make food. Every now and then, he sings the lyric “Searching for bones inside my ridiculous body" to the same tune Mia Farrow hums hypnotically in the theme of the film "Rosemary's Baby." He has an impressive tenor.
Flipped out? Yes! But at the same time, the work is held work together by a simple and easily comprehended structure. The aesthetic is consistent, and everything going on seem to have a purpose. The question is: What?
The good thing is that there are several readings that seem equally valid. If you want, you can be content with them having staged a mysterious ritual, and play with social norms.
But it can also be about aliens trying to create life - having observed people for a long time, and concluded that strollers are somehow involved, and that food seems to be an important part of the process. But, not knowing how to use the information, they rather fumble their way through desperate experimentation.
Or you can see the participants as cogs in a cyclic machinery. A digestive system perpetually receiving new nutrients - but outlets are seemingly absent. The baby has two mouths. All waste accumulates.
And then we have what Holmstrand sings about: The search for bones. Bones as expression of the human core, the marrow - the real and authentic. But the bone also represents stability and spine, figuratively speaking, the morale and the courage – at the same time as the skeleton is the most common symbol of death as well.
Leif Holmstrand and Olta weave a dense and referentially rich fabric at Lilith Performance Studio. The work will continue for a week, and culminate during the Gallery Night in Malmö on September 26th.