There is something primitive and difficult to locate, temporally or geographically, in Emelie Sandström’s sculptures. Forged like talismans or amulets, sacred—looking like artefacts from an unknown religion — they emanate a mysterious and fascinating aura. The cultural and historical references that the viewer can find in these works are broad and eclectically fuse together medieval iconography and science fiction, religion and magic, primitive art and virtual reality. These sculptures are distilling contemporary aesthetics and trends, yet upon further analysis they yield a richer nexus of political and idiosyncratic interests.
Deeply connoted historically, stained glass is an element which mankind connected recursively with religion, as a metaphoric portal and mean of communication to the spiritual realm and the otherworldly. The Swedish artist uses stained glass as a symbol and a way to not only represent, but instead numinously evoke the subjects dear to her and at the core of Spirit Farm. These sculptures stem conceptually from the anxiety empathically felt by the artist in connection to the spiritual aspects of animal—slaughtering, from the fear she feels for the spirits of these beings killed only in function of mankind. These concerns profoundly inform the works included in the exhibition and it is a deep care — which borders religiosity — that is evoked and reified by the Swedish artist.
Hanging from the ceiling with beautifully worked chains as giant pendants, or balancing on the ground with thin metal legs, these stained glass sculptures cast their colours in the gallery space, creating an atmosphere which is oneiric and spiritual at once. Symbolically evoking the spirits of these animals to which she is so sympathetic, the bronze and stained glass sculptures with which Emelie Sandström composed Spirit Farm put the viewer in contact with an otherworldly realm which is poetic and evanescent, yet reminding of poignant ethical questions of nowadays’ world.