With a practice that transgresses disciplinary borders, Olof Marsja exhibits works of various scales, assemblages and inventories at different locations within the Luleå Biennial. Each meeting with the sculptures invites us to look very closely and make visual connections– but ultimately look somewhere else.
During a studio visit, Olof Marsja shares the following lines from the hip-hop track ‘Shadows of Tomorrow’ by Madvillain:
Today is the shadow of tomorrow,
Today is the present future of yesterday.
The song was co-authored by MF Doom, one of several stage characters and alter egos devised by the rapper and producer Daniel Dumile. Always hidden behind his signature metal mask on stage, MF Doom was known for his crafted wordplay, esoteric production, and free-associative lyricism that saw him reference anything from socks with holes to dentistry, beef, and human arteries within a single track. Through this kaleidoscopic approach, Dumile observed, listened and learned widely with references ranging from comic book villains to musical jingles from TV adverts for his alter-ego MF Doom.
Like Dumile, Marsja draws free associations across the many boundaries of craft, design and art practices in his works. He has the ability and dexterity to combine multiple techniques, materials, and sources to make assemblages that come together lyrically. To form faces, masks, feet, characters and alter-egos that compress tomorrow, the present future, and yesterday.
Olof Marsja, born in Gällivare, Sweden, works with sculptural expressions that place an emphasis on materials and the use of figures as a critical approach to the era of digitisation and dematerialisation. Drawing on history and traditions connected to his Sámi heritage and duodji (Sámi craft), the process of making holds a prominent position in his practice, and the trace of the hand is always visible, regardless of whether it is found in the chiselled wood, the blown glass, or the roughly sawn wood of his sculptural works.