Through the Lower

The Swedish Art Magazine Paletten. Cover: pinting by Torsten Jurell "The Line Is Busy"

PALETTEN - ART MAGAZINE No: 3-4 2010. Cover: Torsten Jurell, painting on scanner "The Line is Busy". The image is related to the presentation of the series "Ban Zheng". Graphic designe: Ritator. The number was released December. 17.


Backpage of the Swedish Art Magazine Paletten.The scanner were the cover painting was made on

The back cover page, shows the scanner as the painting to the front page was made on. Painting materials, acrylic paint brushes, etc.

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Through the Lower World to China

PALETTEN - Nr: 3-4 2010. (Swedish Art magazine)

by Torsten Jurell

 In the summer of 2007 I spent a month and a half by renting a studio in Beijing. Back in my home studio in Stockholm, I made a small figure in walnut with a hairstyle I've seen on a theater puppet at Liulichang, the famous street for art and antiques in Beijing. The Sculpture I made was unlike anything I had previously done. It is mysterious, as a kind of beings - a mouse-girl-devil.
  On the news I hear that scientists have discovered a community of bacteria deep below the surface of the Earth The newsreader rounded off the item about the subterranean bacteria with the words: ‘So, that’s today’s good news from the World Below!’” Everything was suddenly obvious.
  The sculpture in walnut was of course the Messenger from the underworld and it was the beginning of a new theme. The following year I did a show in Beijing titled "Calling The Lower World!"
  On walls, lamp-posts and frontages – everywhere you look in Beijing – you’ll see phone numbers to ring. Often they’ve been painted over. The more I have thought about these painted-over numbers, the more they have attracted me. Various combinations of numbers have crept into my paintings. This year I got round to asking my friends what the phone numbers were. ‘Ban Zhen,’ they said. They’re part of the illegal license business. Marriage certificates, drivers’ licenses, Ph.D. degrees. You can buy whatever kind of papers you need. Everything’s for sale. Just make a call to the Lower World.
  A wall of beautiful gray-blue color has discrete squares in almost same color as the base. In its fight against the illegal trade license dealers  and in their over-painting-zeal finds authority rarely the exact shade. I can find a wall that is covered with white squares, much like a typed A4 sheets with text covered by Tippex. I am really attracted!
  I look at my motives as landscape paintings from the street, but wanted them also as made in a pilot perspective or the feeling when the village meets village, block face block.
  Last fall I exhibited my ”Messages Ban Zheng-paintings” on Pickled Art - Unit One Gallery, an artist-run scene in the Arts District, 798 in Beijing. In my exhibition ”A Brief Report from The Lower World" was also a digitally controlled installation which consisted a theater with two puppets and a loudspeaker tower in front of a camouflage background.
  "Is it you who pulls the strings?" Asked one visitor.
"No," I replied. "But who pulls the strings?" became the next question.
"It is a machine." I replied.
"A machine? Aha! "" But who controls the machine?”
”Yes, it is an important issue," I could answer, pointing to the yellow unstable loudspeaker tower; unreliable and shaky information. The Theatre Puppets had Adidas brand stamped in bronze on the hands and shoulders, together with the traditional dragon. Are the actors and artists authority marionettes and megaphones or is it the that reveal the authorities?
Last year I made the musee show "Good News the Lower World" at The Musee of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm and I am planning to return to China this spring to prepare an upcoming show this fall in the Asian collections of The Röhsska Museum of Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts, Gothenburg Sweden.