Who am I? What defines me and how am I defined? Is it up to me to decide for myself who I am or is it in the eyes of the viewer? Do I have more identities? Are there any restrictions and in such cases, how are they imposed? Erik Erikson asked these questions in his research on psychosocial development in the 1970’s. Through self-portraits in terracotta, stoneware and porcelain, Swedish artist, Lisa Rytterlund comes back to the famous psychoanalyst’s concern with personal identity.

Rytterlund’s work is not just about the artist, but rather is exceptionally attuned to the moment of identity crisis that we in the West are in. With any number of existential threats to the Earth, and the recent revelations by Facebook whistleblowers, we must ask ourselves who we are, and to what extent is the authenticity of our ‘selves’ real? And furthermore, how many identities will we make as we navigate from online representation to other forms of post or transhuman existence? Erik Erikson coined the term ‘identity crisis’, but he also said, “Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired." Each of Rytterlund’s weighted ceramic installations are heavy in the questions they ask, yet remind us that humour is a good part of hope. Each of the works in the exhibition represents an important part of the development of a self, or multiple selves, through episodes of rise, fall and resurrection.

The theme of rising and falling is pragmatically sought out in the accentuated hanging of the exhibition demanding rising and falling perspectives from the public. With winged-portraits hanging five-meters above the gallery floor, the ascension of the show’s protagonist becomes a question of technical feasibility and gravity. During the mounting of the exhibition, a steel drill bit fell from the top injuring a friend who dared to lend a hand holding a ladder.

With inspiration from ceramic designs in the Stockholm metro, Rytterlund’s skilled approach to ceramics and glazing look for new identities in a playful application of motif and colour. There is not one Lisa to find in the show. Rytterlund takes shape in animal bodies. In addition to Rytterlund’s own face, contemporary icons such as the Adidas warm-up suits along with references to alchemy and mythology place Rytterlund’s individuality within an assemblage of referencescapes. 

MLAG is supported by the City of Bergen.

Mikey Laundry Art Garden
from 2.02.2024 Halfdan Kjerulfs Gate 4 and Kong Oscars Gate,  
Bergen (since 2019 until April 28, 2024)

+47 95 47 71 84



MLAG is curated by Michael Laundry and supported by the City of Bergen, Norway. ‬