art basel | Statements
Pilar Corrias, booth s11
Reduit (Redoubt) 2014
4k to HD-Video, stereo sound
Following in the tradition of Scandinavian film, cinema greats such as Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller, John Skoog’s poetic use of the Swedish landscape evokes powerful studies of character and emotion. For Art Basel Statements, Skoog will present a new installation comprising the video Reduit (Redoubt) (2014), an archival found photograph, and three photographs.
Set in the flat farmlands of south Sweden, Reduit (Redoubt) present a portrait of local farm-worker Karl-Göran Persson through the decaying residues of his legacy. In the early 1940s Persson, fearing a cold-war Russian invasion into Sweden, sought to turn his family home into a garrison where he and the people in the village could find refuge. Persson reinforced the building, once a traditional Swedish farmhouse, with an array of discarded metal. His fixation on constructing the fortress became his life work – he lived alone in the house and continued its reconstruction until his death in 1975. It now stands as a massive concrete slab in the middle of a field, a half-ruin weathered by neglect.
Fragments of various stories about Persson and the fortress, collected by Skoog, are re-told as the camera circles the fortress, “scanning” its exterior walls in one continuous tracking shot. This action is mirrored in Skoog’s photographs. Using a portable handheld scanner, these close studies of the building’s surface provide a forensic examination of its inherent matter. The scans capture moments of degradation, they expose the layers of history.
Reduit (Redoubt) presents a highly atmospheric but emotionally bare approach to storytelling. The video functions as a sort of minor-history, not only for the preceding two films Sent på Jorden (2011) and Förår (2012), but also of Swedish life in a more general sense.
Born in Kvidinge 1985, John Skoog graduated from the Staedelschule, Frankfurt in 2012. Selected shows and festivals include: Redoubt, Towner Contemporary Art Museum, Eastbourne (2014); A Time for Dreams: 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) (2014), Taming the Narrative, Basis as a part of b3 Biennale, Frankfurt am Main (2013); Echo Release, NKV Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (2013); Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (2014 & -13); Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main (2013); Video_Dumbo, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York (2013); Spectrum Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rotterdam (2013);Sent på Jorden, Art Lab Gnesta, Gnesta (2013); Indielisboa, Lisbon International Film Festival, Lisbon, (2014 & -12), Onde, Torino International Film Festival, (2011), Rencontres Internationales: Paris, Centre Pompidou, Paris, (2014 & -11), En passant (with et al.*), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, (2011), In the absence of Glenn Gould, Ludlow 38, Goethe Institute, New York City, (2008) and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, (2007), Malm1, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2004).
Skoog has been awarded the ’1KM film scholarship’ from Stockholm Film festival (2013), the Hessische Kulturstiftung travel grant (2013), the ARS-VIVA Prize (2013/14), Malmö Art Museum 2013 Art Grant, Aase & Richard Björklund fund, the ARTFILM Prize, Lichter International Film Festival (2013) and a one year working grant from Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn (2014). As part of winning the Ars-Viva Prize 2013/14, Skoog will show at Neues Museum Weimar, MMK Museum für