Graft the Words, Whip My Tongue

Accelerator, Stockholm 15/1 -11/10 2020, curator Therese Kellner

The exhibition dealt with how language intertwine our bodies and societies and the consequences of linguistic violence. The exhibition was divided in two chapters and expanded by a public program and a publication.

Part 1.15/1-20/3 2020

L/anguish–But if the Word Gags, Does Not Nourish, Bite it Off (2019) Bent wood, stone, varying sizes. The installation is composed of 21 sculptures in which parts of bentwood have been synthesised using various grafting methods. The bentwood, which in itself has been elaborated into shapes beyond its organic capacity, has, in the sculpture, been further compressed until cracks and tears appear. Grafting is a method in plant breeding. A foreign part is united with a growing plant by insertion. For example, grafting makes it possible for several types of apples to grow from one tree. Grafting is both enriching and violent. The title is composed of two synthesised fragments from two poems in the collection She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1989) by poet M. NourbeSe Philip: “L/anguish” from the poem Discourse on the Logic of Language and “but if the word gags, does not nourish, bite it off” from Universal Grammar.


The ABC-book (2020) Steel bars, hawser, 550x470x100. The ABC-book is a work that began as an in-depth study of language policies as an instrument for constructing a nation. In 1611, Johannes Bureus created Sweden’s first alphabet book for schools, a primer on national language teaching and a Swedification tool, which has appeared in various versions since then. In the work, steel fence sections have been joined together into a mesh. In a public environment, fence sections constitute a directional structure. 

The Mothertongue (2019) Chair components, burls, 90x260x30. The title The Mothertongue is borrowed from the English mother tongue, one’s native language. The English word points to the assumption that a specific language is related to origin and body. The development of a language is an organic and changeable process of synthesisation with no clear beginning or end. In the sculpture, chair components and burls from Norrbotten have been synthesised. In some sections, the material has been carefully grinded to achieve a seamless body; in other sections, the breaks are clearly visible.


VOX (2019) Reflective fabric, spotlight, hawser, casted aluminium, barrier tape, steel, textile found on the eastcoast of Sweden. The installation comprises various elements that disseminate into all the galleries of the exhibition space. Modelled aluminium poles and distressed barrier tape create obstructions. A piece of fabric found on the shore of the Baltic Sea on the southern tip of the island of Öland has been installed like a flag. A steel rack covered by reflective fabric is illuminated by a spotlight that lights up the reflector and, at the same time, blinds. The work assumes different forms depending on the position of the viewer.

Part 2 20/3-11/10 2020

The Library (2020) Bendt wood, stone, steelbars, casted aluminium, benches, the publication Stridskrift. In part 1, the 21 bentwood sculptures were installed alone in the gallery. In part 2 the installation was densified with benches, the publication Stridsskrift and sections of a fence supported by aluminium and the title changed to The Library. Stridsskrift was edited by literary critic and author Sara Abdollahi and provided space to explore the themes of the exhibition in literary texts and to brought together a group of people who use language as their medium for an expression of the joy of words, the pain of having one’s language restricted and the need for linguistic freedom and difference. In collaboration with Sara Abdollahi the writers and poets Lars Raattamaa, Negar Naseh, Balsam Karam, Ida Börjel and Loretto Villalobos was invited.  Visitors was invited to sit down on the benches and read.




Paroll Parole Parole (2020) Hawser, steelbars, stones. 10×5.5×1 meter. Paroll Parole Parole has a trilingual title: ‘Paroll’ in Swedish means ‘slogan’, In English ‘parole’ means ‘early release of a prisoner’. The French ‘parole’ means ‘everyday speech’.  Rigid fence materials from public space are suspended motionless as an experimental score.

The Wave (2020) parts of chairs and burls, casted aluminium, 95x195x90 cm. The title refer to an unstoppable elemental force, an invisible movement without its own moral or agenda, or a gathering force that brings people together to collaborate towards a common goal.