Gunilla Klingberg Wheel of Everyday Life 31 January - 17 March 2013
In her work, Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg explores her interests in everyday consumerism and forms of Eastern spirituality. To do this she covers architectural spaces with ornate, repetitive patterns that she creates by transforming supermarket, fast food, big box store, and common household product logos. She incorporates these into large-scale, circular patterns that resemble sacred mandalas. Mandalas are cosmological diagrams that symbolically represent the universe and its cycles of life, death, and rebirth. As with a mandala, Klingberg’s Wheel of Everyday Life begins at a central point and expands outward as if it could continue to infinity.
Klingberg asks whether it is possible to turn even our mundane habits into something spiritual. She takes a fresh look at the graphic symbols that are the visual equivalent of white noise pervading our daily routines of shopping and eating. She identifies those logos that stand out either for their graphic qualities or because their names imply a heightened mental state. For instance, the rainbow-topped word TODAY that is the logo for NBC’s TODAY Show hints at an uplifting present. Life, Mother’s, and Fiesta, each convey a greater feeling beyond their function. A ring of Fiesta grocery store logos, known well to Houstonians, looks surprisingly like Arabic calligraphy, while interconnected Whataburger logos become a band of vibrating lines. Through Klingberg’s subtle adjustments, re-combinations, and repetition, the familiar takes on new meaning.
Gallery visitors can walk along the concentric paths to view familiar details or stand back to observe the image as a whole. As Klingberg explains, “My intention is to make a work for Rice Gallery that invades the space in an almost viral way. The symbols and patterns in this mandala transform into an image of how our daily rhythm of commonplace doings blends with advertising and enters deep into our lives, homes, and minds. The logos are a link between our public and private spheres, maybe even to the collective unconscious.”