Mattias Härenstam


Single Channel Video 2001. DV PAL. Color. Duration: 14 min 45 sec.

This video takes on the narrative form of a diary, with one scene for each day of the week. These scenes are connected with shots from inside a shopping cart going through a large discount supermarket.

Watch video here.

(...) "It is the new rooms - the dark back rooms and the autumnal park in front - which works best, free of the history that sits in the walls of Kunstnernes Hus. The studios are dedicated to video installations, and Mattias Härenstam's "Supermarket" is a highlight. The artist goes into everyday processes and events, and daringly uses the film medium's camera angles and soundtracks to create a mood of picturesque as well as the miraculous character. The work is divided by days of the week and use a shopping cart as a structuring and chilling element" (...)

Excerpt from a review by Lotte Sandberg, published in the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten 20.10.2001. The entire review is available as pdf-download at the bottom of the page.

(...) "The video Supermarket shown in Southbound is a diary-like loop of scenes that interrupt everyday life. The routine of daily consumption - symptomatic of an individualized society - is described in all its tristesse. This point of departure - a common and fundamental human necessity - is well known to the spectator.
Härenstam questions the lack of meaning in daily life by breaking the boredom that emerges from predictability. Disturbing sequences of possible, yet unpredictable happenings interfere with the stream of normality. Both dreams and nightmares, depicted in an almost naive science-fictional way, become ways to break out of reality. The artist doesn't judge the need to escape; he simply underscores the fact that needing to escape is a basic human instinct, like the act of living itself. Or as he explains his approach, "It's the inability to accept reality as it is given and the refusal to give up trying to find something else." Dreaming is not the problem, but it might be a symptom of a contemporary social disease: lost utopia."

Excerpt of a text by Alice Goudsmit, published in the catalogue for Southbound, an exhibition of Nordic artists living in Berlin at Spittelmarkt, Berlin in 2003. The entire text (in English and German) is available as pdf-download under "Texts".

Supermarket premiered at the Annual Art Exhibition (Høstutstillingen), Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo in 2001 and has since been shown at many exhibitions and screenings all over Europe.