Sleepwalker, Ozean, Berlin 2011

For his exhibition Sleepwalker, Daniel Segerberg has used the slats of wooden bed frames to construct a boat skeleton measuring eleven metres long. It stands in OZEAN’s sheltered workshop like an exotic vehicle, inviting its onlookers on a journey between dream and reality. The sculpture, created especially for OZEAN, dominates the unique, semi-open exhibition space almost entirely. Openly drawing its inspiration from the name of the space, it sets the course for a chain of further associations.

Segerberg is known for constructing his sculptures and installations out of discarded, everyday objects. Reminiscent of a Baudelairean ragpicker, the Swedish-born, Berlin-based artist forages for scraps and debris amidst the streets of the city, usually within the vicinity of the exhibition space itself. His finds most frequently include mass-produced, domestic items – folding chairs, used kitchen appliances, laundry racks, beds – as well as urban leftovers such as broken glass or fragments of asphalt. Segerberg’s ideas and choice of material thus often originate on site, resulting in a mutual interdependency between the location, his artwork and the viewer. Some objects also reappear in later works, in a kind of self-citation. The slats of bed frames used here, for example, also formed part of his 2010 installation Walking Stick.

That a society is perhaps most clearly distinguished by that which it throws away was also acknowledged by the Nouveaux Réalistes of the 1960’s. Segerberg’s collection of used, identical objects are redolent of Arman’s early series of “Accumulations”, consisting of discarded everyday items. Segerberg’s works are, however, further characterised by a strong narrative element. He disassembles the abandoned objects, transforming them into the building blocks of a new narrative structure. With their traces of wear, they draw on the onlookers’ collective as well as personal memory, and simultaneously invite them to enter a world of new associations. Like a fragment of a dream, the sculpture stands in OZEAN as an ark for mental expeditions.

/ by Anne Ethelberg

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