In the paintings and sculptures that make up her installations, Jenny Lindblom offers a subtle and humorous critique of the culture of the self-promoting images that pervades today’s society. Think of the holiday snaps that people share in social media, often retouched with a filter and accompanied by a one-liner or a popular quote. The building bricks of the artificial story of success, happiness and the good life which we want the world to believe.
Fascinated by all this self-promotion, Lindblom started collecting snapshots that were not quite right, of misspelled tattoos, for example, or awkward tan lines. This brought her to the travel website TripAdvisor and their unfortunate linguistic gaff which provided the title for her on-going series: Very peasant [sic!] stay. On one level the concept is about personal branding, yet significantly on another it is about success versus failure, public versus private, intimacy versus ignorance and class distinctions. The work that Lindblom created for GET LOST is also taken from this series and toys with the associative power of the quotes and tag lines. Gerrit Rietveld Academie invited Lindblom to investigate the archive of the abolished art institution SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain. SKOR was an organisation that commissioned art projects for public spaces, but due to financial cuts in the cultural sector had to stop its activities in 2012. In line with the organisation’s focal point on the public domain, they based their visual identity on an open source letter font; un-copyrighted fonts that can be used as freely as the public space which everyone is at liberty to use. Lindblom connected the two principles – the open source font and interest in public domain – to a simple, physical proposition: a park bench, situated by the water behind the Gerrit Rietveld Academie building, a quiet place which for some reason hardly anyone ever uses.
The park bench, made of classic marble, is a place where a person can relax and chill, where kids can hang out, snog and secretly smoke joints. It is a meeting point a place for quiet encounter and interaction. Lindblom decided to build in marble, a precious material that reminds us of the grandeur of archetypical sculpture and architecture of the Antiquity and Renaissance but thereby also reflects on the development of art in public space today. In the back of the bench, she engraved the words ‘Existence Light’ in a bright colour. It is the name of an open source font, and may also lead to associations of more existential character.
‘Hamna på parkbänken’ - loosely meaning to end up on a park bench - is a Swedish term for someone who has fallen through society’s safety net and no longer has anywhere to go. In fact people who sleep on park benches are victims of defensive architecture - nails and fences - and are increasingly excluded from public spaces where society has labelled them unwelcome and useless. In a sense, Lindblom’s park bench is a protest and offers a light, quiet place for anyone looking for somewhere to rest.
Jenny Lindblom (b. 1981, Eskilstuna) lives and works in Amsterdam. She studied at Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut.