Painting Today was an exhibition of new paintings by Mårten Spångberg and Sif Ankergård. Their paintings are as true as possible to the medium and suggest landscapes, psychoanalysis, absolute liquid, non-chromatic formalism and alien life. The whole thing was initiated by Anthea Buys.


One night there was a frightening dream that took place in a foreign language, that is, in a language not understood by the dreamer. Not a symbolic or pictorial language, but an actual verbal language that was entirely secret to the brain that cooked it up. One word in particular was given to the dreamer as a talisman, not quite a spell but something powerful and something to use. It was just some sounds and in an alphabet that made no sense, so there was dreamed an effort to transcribe it into familiar letters. The next day the dreamer took the transcribed word to the internet for deciphering and the internet gave the following meaning: hinges. Not one hinge, many. Hinges. Yes, she wrote it down on the back of a doctor’s note. Hinges.

That day the dreamer had another problem, namely that she had to write the promotional text for an exhibition of paintings when there was really nothing to write other than that it would be an exhibition of paintings so come and see. But there always has to be a text. No one gives a shit about the text but it has to be there. Writing these texts is sometimes like praying. You have to go quiet and find some thread in yourself. Or it’s like singing in the way that an old singing teacher once told her to imagine she had a cello inside her. She just needed the right pressure on the strings and then it would flow, very romantic. Anyway, it wasn’t happening, and all that the dreamer had instead of a cello or a god or anything was the dream and the secret word: (Hinges).

Okay, it could be that a painting is like a hinge. It is not this or that, but the fulcrum along which something extremely unknowable oscillates between this and that. A hinge is potential energy. It is not only a hinge when it is being used to move a door or a window, but it is a hinge precisely because it makes the movement possible in the future, and in this making possible, the swinging of the door has both always already happened and will happen always once more. There will never be the last swing of a door with a hinge.

The other important thing about a hinge is that its utility is always immediate, now, present. In spite of its absolute future-orientation, the hinge, when it does its job, is always 100% contemporary. Yet what we notice when we open or close a door is not the hinge itself but the effect it creates, which necessarily comes after. Can you notice a hinge with no door?

The word given was plural though, and like hinges there are always many paintings, never one, even though just one by itself is inexhaustible. Living in New York one time, really low and too fat, I would go to the Met once a week to look at the Manets, and only them, trying each time to look at just one painting and to finish looking, to exhaust the painting. But it was impossible. There was always something on the way out of the picture, something I couldn’t follow. The same little dancer would show up in three or four scenes as if her own painting were both not enough and too much for her.


Mårten Spångberg (b. 1968) is an artist and choreographer living and working in Stockholm and Brussels. His interest concerns choreography in an expanded field, something he has approached through an experimental practice in a multiplicity of formats and expressions. He has been active on stage as a performer and creator since 1994, and since 1999 has been creating his own choreographies, from solos to larger scale works, which have toured internationally. His most recent major piece, Gerhard Richter, une piéce pour le theatre, premiered at Kunstenfstivaldesarts in Brussels in 2017 to high critical acclaim. Spångberg is Associate Artist at Black box teater in Oslo (2017-2018) and professor of Choreography at Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo.

Sif Ankergård (b. 1984) is an artist based in Oslo, Norway. She holds a Master of Fine Art from the Bergen Academy, 2015, and a Bachelor from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, 2013. Her work has been exhibited in Norway and internationally at venues including Hordaland Kunstsenter and Kunsthall 3,14 in Bergen, at Kunsthal Aarhus in Århus, Denmark, at AARK Archipelago Art Residency in Korppoo, Finland, Galleria Grefti in Umbertide, Italy, EEA Residency in Belitz Hailstade, Germany, and at Oude Kerk in Amsterdam.