“The title of the show, Limbus, refers to an intermediate state, such as the nebulous boundary after death and before birth. For me, it is a kind of non-place or a non-time,” says Saara Ekström. Opposites such as beautiful and ugly, alive and dead, conscious and unconscious are simultaneously present in Ekström’s art. The works are often graphic, such as the video installation Dust in which iron filings move, creating changing whirlpools reminiscent of Rorschach inkblots. Ekström is interested in the interface between nature and culture, in how attention is focused in perception, and in situations that create instability. In her works, she instigates a process and allows nature to contribute to the formation of the piece through putrefaction, evaporation or wilting. In the new photographic series, Limbus, floral and fruit arrangements created in natural settings continue the tradition of nature morte still lifes. Ekström’s pictures blend crime-scene photography with the aesthetics of memorial altars erected at accident sites. Using organic as well as artificial materials, Ekström creates worlds where the visible and the invisible, growth and decay, visual attractiveness and formlessness all challenge one another.
Leevi Haapala, 2011
The Latin word limbus has various meanings in different contexts. It can mean the border or edge of an anatomical part, such as the inner border of the brain’s cortex. It also refers to the limbic system, the brain structures involved in regulating emotions, motivation and various autonomous functions.
1 The limbic system also builds connections between emotional responses and physical sensations stored in the long-term memory. The theological meaning of limbo is ‘purgatory’. In the theology of the Catholic Church, it has two meanings. Limbus patrum describes the temporary state of the souls excluded from the beatific vision until Christ’s triumphant ascension into Heaven. Limbus infantium in turn defines the permanent state of unbaptized children.
2 Metaphorically, limbus refers to a state of oblivion or permanent uncertainty—a prison-like state.
documentation: Pirje Mykkänen and Thom Vink