Twilight Zone – Editorial
– Alice Máselníková
As I am writing this editorial one morning in the beginning of April, Stockholm is covered in newly fallen snow. Embraced in its crisp bright reflection it gives a feeling so contrary to the soft dense darkness that soon approaches; too early each afternoon for a good half of the year. Perhaps all this icy glow of the long dark months prepares us for the sudden appearance of light and the white summer nights. Just so that the change is not so abrupt and we do not forget there is always something else than the here and now awaiting.
Steadily recurring, yet always unexpected is how seasons change. I do hope that the Greek god Boreas will have sailed away on his frosty cloud by the art fair’s start in May; that the snow will have finally melted away and we will be left to enjoy this year’s venue Stadsårdsterminalen coated in the sun’s rays rather than frost. It is a wonderful site not only for its central and easily accessible location at Slussen, but above all for its breathtaking view over the water, the old town and the island of Djurgården with its greenery and amusement park (the scent of candyfloss nearly crossing the channel). A former checkpoint for cruise ships, it is easy here to float away into a dreamy reality where the dark swaying waves give such a breathtaking background to the presented artworks.
With such a backdrop, why is this year’s theme the twilight zone and not the marine dream? Have we finally succumbed to the calling of the full moon? Well…not exactly, though I do occasionally get a nostalgic longing for my Emo-goth teenage years. Twilight zone, or to give it its other name the Earth’s terminator, is a moving border between the light and the dark dividing the planet into daytime and nighttime. While one half of the world is shrouded in shadow, the other receives the sun’s blessings. Ever since cosmogony day and night have always existed as counterparts, one unable to exist without the other in a dichotomy highlighted throughout history in myths, religion, art and popular culture. The struggle between those two forces is also understood as that of morality: the good versus the evil, the righteous versus the damned. In Greek mythology we find many personifications representing this scale – yet what is sympathetic and relatable to our daily experience is that all of those characters are ambivalent; gods and humans alike, each one of them fighting their given nature, staggering in the insecurities and contrasts that constitute life.
What I find so fascinating about art is exactly its capacity to contain this eternal division, both in terms of creation, but also in the structural composition of the art world. Time after time, we hear about the good art and the bad art, the commercial and the not-for-profit art sector, the institution and the artist-run gallery. Most often, they are presented as opposing, and not complementing each other. Yet is there really anyone who would actually believe such a simplified view of how the art world functions? The point is, there are numerous grey zones in the arts, so much overlapping of disciplines and skills. If you run an artist-run gallery, should you exhibit your own work, take part in exchange projects and exhibitions or use your contact network to promote yourself as an artist? If you are employed within an institution, how much power do you have to affect its programme course – and should you be able to? Being invited to sit on a panel, to what extent are you voicing your opinion or that of the institution you work for? As an artist, where are you going with your art – should you change the way you express yourself, even just a bit, to please the galleries and buyers?
Not unlike the earth’s terminator, artists, galleries and institutions are always shifting – and growing and transforming, never just remaining static. And that is the whole beauty of it, one of the many allures of art is exactly its combination of transience and ultimacy: something we can always rely on to be there, but never rely on to be the same. As goes the Japanese expression ‘mono no aware’ – a deep sentiment for the impermanence and beauty of things passing.
In this magazine issue you will find articles touching upon the topic of transition, what lies in between and where we go from here.
Alice Máselníková is a Czech visual artist based in Stockholm. Out of the three creative directors of Supermarket she is the one with the most hair and least beard. Also the editor of Supermarket Art Magazine. She is the initiator of the artist-run initiative Flat Octopus and also works as a freelance editor, curator and funding advisor. When she is not working or painting you are likely to find her lost in a book or typing on her Olympia SM4 typewriter.