„Negotiating authenticity. In search of an ideal“

In my ongoing conceptual series „Negotiating authenticity. In search of an ideal“ I take different perspectives on a same place, through painting, based on circumstances and philosophical undertones. I examine our need for myths by creating historical hybrids in my works. Local and foreign myths are mixed up; we can no longer separate them. The sublime Swedish landscape surrounding the lake of Siljan, described by H.C. Andersen in 1851 as a poor land rich in beauty, has helped the future generations to ignore the painful, shameful and ugly. Myths have a narrative pattern that gives meaning to our existence. Whether the meaning of life is only that which we through our individual power supply life, as Sartre would argue, or there is a sense in which we must discover, as Kierkegaard would say, the result is the same: the myths are our way to find this meaning and importance.

History is not static or complete. How can we be sure that it is genuine? And how can we measure it? We repeat it and take it for granted. I dismantle the history of a place that is a role model or has an established structure that is hard to question today. From previous generations, we take over the customs, practices and traditions, which live on in our culture. But who owns tradition and who interprets it? Tradition is ambiguous and essential to the cultural identity; it is also politically charged. It is also used to enhance local and national identity in many different ways.

What is history? How precisely our time on earth is portrayed partly due to events in the past and how our ancestors shaped the world we live in today. But writing history can be seen as a science or as a creative literary activity. History creates our identity as individuals and as a nation. But the substance is intended to create the basis for identity and stability or to provide a basis for criticism of consolidating truths?

During my research, I collect folk stories, copy facts from history books and modern interior design magazines and look through the archives to find material. But it is impossible to represent all voices, and I also face a choice. Therefore, transparency is important technique in my work combined with graphite, painting in oil and acrylic.

My work starts by collecting historical material about a place or a person. The starting point is always in a modern story or a place I visit. I reconstruct history by collecting different voices as witnesses. Places I visit and recreate in my paintings are filled with layers of these quiet tenants. I want to give them space to re-tell stories that we forgot or never heard before, to thereby be able to see them from a different perspective, linked to the present.

© Aleksandra Jarosz Laszlo 2020