TO BE RIGHT — TO GET RIGHT

Mr K - A Story of Passion, The Dialysis Case, Ossietzky, The Temptation, etc ...

After a reading experience of Franz Kafka´s The Trial, Torsten Jurell created his own story in four narrative reliefs.

Caretakers, woodcut print, 1989 (approx.)
Caretakers, woodcut print, 1989 (approx.)

Mr K — A Story of Passion


"

Mr K - A Story of Passion
a, a suite of four oak reliefs produced over a period of four years and exhibited in Paris in March 1989, can today be found in Göteborg. In the new version, 'The Accusation 1-4' from 1999, the victim is under attack from mechanical and masked judges who protect themselves with shields in the shape of paragraphs.

These works tell the story of a man who was fined for a parking offence even though he did not own a car. Trapped in a mixture of red tape and judicial harassment, the man has to fight alone to prove his good faith - yet he ends up a victim, convicted and sentenced.

A tribute to Kafka, this story is an allegory of the indiscriminate workings of the administrative and judicial systems, and is illustrated in the bas-reliefs which take the classic form of a Descent from the Cross with the main character as the centrepiece.

But to understand their message fully, they have to be looked at both as a whole and in their myriad details, reminding us of the ceaseless bustle typical of the surrealist paintings of Hieronymus Bosch."

By Laure Barbizet-Namer

(Mr K - A Story of Passion was shown in several exhibitions in France as "La Passion de Monsieur K".)



Detail from "Like A Dog!", relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm
Detail from "Like A Dog!", relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm

"Like a dog, he said. It was as if the shame would survive him".

(From The Trial of Franz Kafka)


The Accusation relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999
The Accusation relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999
The Appeal relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm
The Appeal relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm
An Exemplary Action relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm
An Exemplary Action relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm
Like A Dog! relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm
Like A Dog! relief in oak, oil paint, kaolin 1999 144x91 cm

The Dialysis Case

The Dialysis Case relief in oak 1991-92 132x200 cm collection of The Swedish Association of Health Professionals SAHP
The Dialysis Case relief in oak 1991-92 132x200 cm collection of The Swedish Association of Health Professionals SAHP

A nurse was made to take blame for an accident which occurred during dialysis in a hospital in Linköping, Sweden.

In 1983 a new dialysis system was introduced. As it turned out this system was a failure. Three patients died, others were put in danger.

The Hospital Board, the doctors and the technicians, those who are paid to take responsibility, did not take any responsibility at all for what happened.


"In Sweden Jurell's triptych about 'The Dialysis Case' aroused even greater interest and tells the story of a nurse who was made to take all the blame for an accident which occurred during dialysis in a hospital.

Bought by the Swedish Nurses' Union, the bas-relief was exhibited to the public, commented on and shown on television. This story turned out to be a milestone in popular opinion, and the law concerning hospital responsibilities has since been modified.

That pictures like this have such a profound effect owes much to the fact that they appeal to our imagination by exploiting classical and religious references to point out the absurdities and shortcomings of our society.

The triptych composition of 'The Dialysis Case' calls to mind Christ's Road to Calvary in a medieval church painting, but, in contrast to that bygone era's 'picture book for believers', Torsten Jurell's pictures seek to encourage reflection in the observer, inspiring a stubborn refusal to be subjugated. In the ultimate analysis, his pictures affect us because they are beautiful and because they arouse our emotions."

Laure Barbizet-Namer

November 1999

In 1999 Laure Barbizet-Namer was assistant curator in charge of the painting and print department at Musée d'histoire Contemporaine, (the Museum of Contemporary History), Paris)

(Draft for catalogue text to "Fire!" (Det Brinner!), 2000.)





Germany and Ossietzky

Tyskland och Ossietzky, relief i ek, 140x115 cm, 1992-93, ägs av Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, hänger i Carl von Ossietzkysalen,, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg
Tyskland och Ossietzky, relief i ek, 140x115 cm, 1992-93, ägs av Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, hänger i Carl von Ossietzkysalen,, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg

The relief Germany and Ossietzky was carved for an exhibition at Notre Dame des Monts in France in 1993. The work was accompanied by a brief text. News reports along the Atlantic coast spread information about the relief's existence. Word reached as far as Hamburg, Carl von Ossietzky's home town. Money was raised, and the relief was purchased and donated to the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte (Museum for Hamburg History). The Mayor of Hamburg presented it to the city library, where it now hangs in the Carl von Ossietzky Room.

The relief was lent to the Kulturhuset cultural centre in Stockholm in 2000, where it was exhibited as part of "Fire!" (Det Brinner!).




Confidence or Betrayal

Confidence or Betrayal, painted reliefs in oak wood (diptyk), 164x67 cm, 164x75 cm, 1995
Confidence or Betrayal, painted reliefs in oak wood (diptyk), 164x67 cm, 164x75 cm, 1995


The Temptation


The Temptation, relief in painted oak, kaolin, neon. 200x140 cm 1999
The Temptation, relief in painted oak, kaolin, neon. 200x140 cm 1999

Read the text The Temptation by Lars Andrée. Published in "Fire!"; published to the exhibition at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Sweden 2000.

Changing Stars

Changing Stars, painted relief in oakwood, (triptyk), 1990 - 1994, 200x152 cm
Changing Stars, painted relief in oakwood, (triptyk), 1990 - 1994, 200x152 cm

 

"The radio was on.

I was carving.

The Berlin Wall had fallen...

Lots of people were waxing lyrical about 'the Market' and 'Europe'.

First the Ebbe Carlsson affair,

then Changing Stars.

A kind of market picture - a picture of the Market...

Two men exchanging stars.

Maybe one of them was a STASI informer...

Who knows?..."


Catalogue text for "Ladies and Gentlemen..." 141:an, Gothenburg 1996

The relief was carved for the EU-critical exhibition "Bara Brysselkål", Frölunda Kulturhus, Sweden, 1980

The Trick

Find more about The Trick

3 Lost Conquistadors meet Maya