Gothenburg, June 22, 2017
I don't know if you've ever been to the hinterland in northern Sweden. If you go by car, you can drive for hours without seeing anyone. The vast forests are dominated by pine, birch, and spruce, the loneliest of trees. The trees, rocks and ground are covered by lichens and mosses. In this region, most houses are painted red, and all the roofs are covered with the same kind of corrugated iron sheets that you use in your works.
Corrugated iron reminds me of storms, heavy snowfall, and of our vulnerability, and dependence of nature – the flesh of the world – that we're embedded in. It also reminds me of another time than the Anthropocene, the era of humankind, that they say we have entered. Now that we've fucked up pretty much everything, we can't even go to the mountains or swim in the oceans without meeting ourselves. This is narcissism on a global scale!
Shouldn´t one become a bit weary of one's reflection if one constantly stare at it? Instead, the more we look at our self-images, the more we desire them. We all act as one-dimensional, multi-national brands on social media, trying to appear as successful as possible, with self-realization as our highest goal – in the sense of becoming the perfect self-portrait.
Narcissism is no longer regarded as a personal disorder, but as the most desirable way of being – which not the least, the election of Trump for president indicates.
I don't think psychoanalysis can save us from this grave and widespread narcissism. But I think plants can, and composts, and basic stuff such as corrugated iron.
Maybe also art.
Letter from Jens Soneryd to Hannu Prinz. 22 June–26 June, 2017. Åplus, Berlin.