Heidi Edström's artistic work grows out of the idea of a knöl. It is a shapeless muse and a disturbing annoyance that has been nagging at the back of her head for the last thirteen years. This knöl is the irregularity that disrupts our comfortable dreams of predictability and perfection. It is a reminder of everything we cannot control; mistakes, accidents, illness, death, a piece of chewing gum stuck under our chair, or a large threatening asteroid that could collide with Earth at any moment.
Heidi’s work is project based and she uses a wide range of mediums, such as performance, sculpture, text, photography, sound, video, light and found objects that she is connecting together into installations that play with the character of the room or place. Her focus is to create a warped atmosphere that take the viewer into an uncertain borderland between the recognizable and a distorted alternative reality that is lumpy and absurd. Loosening up the barriers between the inside and the outside, the disgusting and the beautiful, the sick and the healthy, the small and the big.
Heidi is born in 1990 Luleå and is based in Stockholm. She has a background in theater, and a deep interest in dance, larp, role-playing, and science fiction literature. In addition to their own artistic practice, she is also a member of the punk/performance band Kulturprofilerna and active in the artist-run associations Fylkingen and Best Before Collective. She is also part of the performance group Knölkollektivet (that is currently dormant).
Sooo . . . do you want to know more about the knöl?
ㄒ卄乇 Ҝ几öㄥ_.·????(a personal story about my lumpy muse)
The Swedish word knöl encompasses all forms of lumps, bumps, tubers, humps, knobs, knots, hunches, rotters and other suspicious or undesirable existences. Working with performance art, sculpture, installations, photography and drawing, I’ve been exploring the concept of the knöl both as an undefined shape and in a wider context for more than a decade. Yes, you could rightly say that I’ve been obsessed with this lumpy thing since 2010, when I started the ongoing project 'The search for the perfect knöl'.
At that time I felt stuck in my in myself and the deep straight furrows which I stubbornly continued to plow. But at the same time desperatly looking for something new to explore. Something to draw my attention away, to get lost in, to twist and turn until there would be nothing more to see. The knöl has since been like a scab that I just can’t help but pick and scratch, with a mixture of fascination and disgust. And it doesn't seem matter how much I poke in this lumpy wound, there is always more to find.
*𝔅𝔲𝔱 𝔴𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔣**𝔨 𝔦𝔰 𝔞 𝔎𝔫ö𝔩?
I usually define a knöl as something that stands out and breaks off what would otherwise have been flat and homogeneous. The word itself describes an irregular, clumsy form without function that often appears like an outgrowth, a misgrowth, as the unexpected, unwanted exception.For many of us, the knöl is closely associated with the body and especially with its diseases. The Knöl can be a cancerous tumour, an abscess, a bump, a sty or perhaps simply a birthmark. But in many ways you can also say that the whole body is lumpy in itself. In its refusal to fit within our efforts to systematize and categorize anything and everything we see.
Others think first of the natural nature, of gnarled tree trunks, rocks, fungi, roots or potatoes. Nature is a context where the knöl actually has a somewhat accepted place. For nature is expected to possess precisely those lumpy, organic and living qualities that we so often deny ourselves. As long as nature stays within its frames and does not interfere with us, it is allowed be as natural as we feel comfortable with.
But if you start looking, you’ll soon notice that the knöl is actually all around us, everywhere, in the middle of everyday life. It could be an old awkward stuffing that has lumped together, a mistake, a blot in the protocol, a really nasty person or that sticky chewing gum under the bus seat. The knöl is present in all that which chafes and disturbs us.
What is it with our longing for flat surfaces and straight lines? What is it about universal templates, clear codes, logical structures and flawless systems that mirage on the horizon? What is it about our desire for pure and streamlined perfection? Is it even possible to achieve such a dream when reality is so full of lumps? The knöl is clinging to us. No matter how we try to get rid of them, more and more are showing up. Even though we try to smooth them out, correct them, detangle and cut off anything that does not fit into our image of how everything should be, there always seems to be something wrong. It seams to glitch.
The knöl is a wordless fear, the looming threat, our worries and your vague undefined anguish. But it is also some kind of hope, a sign of life.