Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Unknown Woman 2009-34970

Art Press selected fourteen contemporary artists said to have done some of the 21st century masterpieces. Althought the Sopranos have nothing to do on that A-list (????), the other masterpieces deserve their status. Marina Abramovic, Christian Marclay with the Clock without any doubts. I discovered a 27 years old young swedish artist called Anna Odell. Her work titled Unknown Woman 340701 is one of the most one discussed artworks in the last decade.
The artist simulated a mentally ill person in the streets in Stockholm, police was called by passing members of the public and she was taken to the emergency psychiatric unit in Stockholm, where she was admitted, put on medication, and placed in a restraining belt. The following day, Odell told the staff at the hospital that she had simulated the event and that it was part of a future art project that was going to be presented at the Graduation show of her art school. With her work Odell investigates Swedish mental healthcare, of which she has personal experience. The performance is based on an earlier episode in her life in 1995.
There are a number of aspects to the art work of Anna Odell that gives complexity to her work, a number of possible interpretations and ambiguities. The actions of Odell can well be seen as a way to deal with past experiences and also as criticism of an area of which she has knowledge. But it can also be seen as an example of a private individual that fights back against a large institutional apparatus of power in today’s society.  

Whatt is possible within in art ? What is art about? For who is art made? What sort of art is it that we want, really? Who is Anna Odell really ? What really happened on that bridge in 1995 ? We may never know. Anna Odell remains an "Unknown Woman".

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