The intentions of the installation Appliance were to make visible an absent power that imposes order and symmetries – but only as a suggestion. It was an installation about a kind of coercion in an atmosphere of testing and experimentation with obscure goals and target groups.
The installation was composed of sculptures and objects as well as two synchronised video loops. The objects are mainly made of iron plates, iron mesh and vinyl. The form and choice of materials convey a scientifically inspired language in mood, precision, control, vulnerability, protection, exercise of power, order and ambiguity. The objects appear to have a precise function but upon closer inspection, their usefulness is unclear.
The starting point is a concrete reflection on humanity and nature, but it takes shape as a depiction around human limits. Her [Mona Peterson’s] vests are charged with meanings and presence – but have never been worn by anyone. She draws her material from the traditions where human limitations are established and tested: medicine, psychiatry, animal experiments. But what if these forms of care, protection and rescue are also a kind of power, coercion and silence?
The sternly shaped objects are pure – perhaps because they are wrapped around an absence. A story could have unfolded among them, but the stage has been abandoned. The light falls on a glossy surface, the room becomes almost suffocating. The objects thicken and stiffen under the gaze, forming a heavy mass. There is a face mask, a breathing mask. But who is being protected and from what? It is protection against an increasingly toxic environment but also against a world willing to judge and coerce into silence: the face mask becomes an emblem of protection that borders on and merges into vulnerability.
The objects retain a basic function and usability while being scraped bare to the point of becoming sculptural. There is no remythologising, no heroes of either the human or the natural. These objects are very concrete and whole in the way they are made. The light falls sharply, critically. The form shines brightly – Mona Petersson’s works make visible the ambiguity that is inherent in the object: desire, coercion.
Ulf Olsson, Critic and Professor of Literary Studies, Paletten 2001
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