The Lake

Karl Larsson, The Lake, 2009 © Karl Larsson

Karl Larsson

In literary theory, “paratext” is the text that surrounds – that is outside, but relevant to – the literary work: the title, name of the author, foreword, etc. One could say that Karl Larsson, in his work as an artist, explores corresponding phenomena: the “para-artistic”, that which takes place alongside the work of art itself, but is necessary to its potential and function. Under what circumstances can the artistic process be initiated?

How does a work of art begin to signify anything to the beholder? How does its meaning circulate, supported by what narratives? Larsson mixes institutionally critical awareness concerning the material and ideological conditions of the work of art, with poetic reflections on the existential and emotional prerequisites of artistic creation.

In his recent projects, Larsson looks at the artist myth as one such para-artistic narrative. The installation The Lake is based on a story about Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers. In 1944, 20 years before he embarked on his career as an artist, he was allegedly asked by the Belgian resistance to deliver a package to an address in Brussels, on Rue de la Vallée. Eager to carry out the daring assignment, the young poet apparently made a mistake and delivered the package to Rue du Lac. The delivery never got to its destination, the package never served its intended purpose, but the circulation was redirected: the story of the mistake played a fundamental part when Broodthaers later formulated his artistic identity. The Lake suggests that this anecdote is not yet fully concluded or expended: that its elements could be rearranged and circulated once more.

Karl Larsson

Born 1977 in Kristianstad
Lives and works in Stockholm and Brussels [BE]


2004–2005 Konstfack/University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm
1999 Lunds universitet/Lund University, Lund
1998 Stockholms universitet/Stockholm University, Stockholm

Selected solo exhibitions

2010 Parrot, Index Foundation, Stockholm
2010 Form/Force, NAK, Aachen [DE]

Selected group exhibitions

2010 A travers l’histoire, Passerelle FAC, Brest [FR]
2010 Y, Ystad Konstmuseum, Ystad
2009 Maelstrom Editions (Karl Holmqvist), Maelstrom Editions (John Giorno), Komplicariat, Komplot, Bryssel/Brussels [BE], Maastricht [NL]

Selected bibliography

Helena Eriksson, ”Läsa Nightsong,”OEI, 2010: s./pp. 48–50.
Kristofer Folkhammar, ”Dikter från spelvärlden”, Aftonbladet, 2009-12-06.
Jonas Magnusson, ”Nya former, nya format…”, OEI, 2008: s./pp. 37–38.

More about this exhibition