Varieté Métamorphose - 2023
Solo exhibition 3:e Våningen, Göteborg

In the exhibition Varieté Métamorphose Åsa Norberg and Jennie Sundén approach the history of energy from different perspectives in a series of paintings, sculptures and textile works. A central idea is the "hybrid", which in the exhibition meets a local history of ”Sockerbruket”, which in the early 19th century housed one of Gothenburg's largest industrial companies, Klippan as Gothenburg's first port for larger ships and references to design history.
The exhibition gathers thoughts about energy and metabolism, how material and energy flows are transformed and move across the world in an ongoing unequal exchange. The works contain stories about how global convergence, adaptation, consumption and effectivization affect and shape our world and our ideas about it.

Tint and Shade
Cardboard, textile, carbon, glass 128 x 90 cm
The Tint and Shade sculptures consist of leaf shapes in corrugated cardboard that form night owl-like patterns. The leaf shape is borrowed from IKEA's coffee table Lövet designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1956. Lövet was the first product with removable legs delivered in a flat package and thus could be shipped around the world. This was the start of IKEA's success story.
The work is also inspired by the Björkmätare moth (The Peppered Moth), a common moth moth in England and the clearest example of industrial melanism. During the industrial revolution, soot from the industries dyed the tree trunks in the cities black. This meant that the lighter moths became easy prey for birds and therefore decreased in number. The darker moths, on the other hand, were well camouflaged against the soot-colored tree trunks and thus increased in number.
The sculptures are placed on glass podiums shaped like digital screens.
Like many other nesting insects, the moth is drawn to artificial light in the belief that it is the moonlight it is seeing

Varieté Métamorphose (Mauvein)
Velvet drapery and paintings, oil on linen 65 x 55 cm
In the Varieté Métamorphose (Mauvein) painting series, the hybrid takes center stage. The paintings depict encounters between forms linked to different energy sources and red-listed species which together form new metamorphic forms. An oil drill core is paired with an endangered critter and fragments from James Watt's steam engine are joined with the endangered naver maple.
The color scale of the paintings is based on the first synthetic dye Mauvein; a purple substance first produced in 1856 from coal tar, an industrial by-product. The discovery revolutionized fashion and the clothing industry as the process of dyeing silk and other textiles was made easier.

Fern Fever and Sugar Rush
Sculptures cast in sugar 13 x 21 cm
In the work Fern Fever and Sugar Rush, a local industrial history and the production of fast energy meets a more global story of trade and industrialization, metabolism, exploitation and the emergence of fossil fuels.
Fern Fever and Sugar Rush consists of a series of fern leaves cast in sugar paste. The shape is a cast of a fragment from the classic "fern sofa” introduced at the World's Fair in London in 1851. The sofa was the first industrially mass-produced park bench and was made of cast iron. Its ornamentation was made possible by the high temperatures that could be achieved with the help of coke, and it was coke that would lay the foundation for the industrial revolution.

Sea and Shell
Tin castings 2.5 cm
The cultural concept or idea (about the exchangeability of everything) that has its symbolic form in what we call money has historically had different appearances and characteristics. Shells, grain, salt and cocoa beans have served as means of payment in various periods.
In 1833, the antique dealer Marcus Samuel decided to expand his business in London. At this time, oriental shells were popular in interior design and Samuel decided to try to sell these as well. The demand was great and he began to import the shells from the Far East, thus laying the foundation for import and export operations that would ultimately become one of the world's leading energy companies in the form of Shell Transport and Trading Company. Shell (plc) is today the world's largest petroleum company and the company's Swedish refinery was established in 1912 and was located on the other side of the river opposite Klippan (Göteborg) until 2010 when it was sold to new owners.

Trade Winds and Calima Fog
Digital print on polyester silk 195 x 145 cm x 3 pcs
The textile work Trade Winds and Calima Fog refers to the sail and its relationship to a history of transport, consumption and unequal exchange. The sail-like shapes on the textiles are taken from maps of the Triangle Trade, whose story includes both the utilization of the energy of human bodies and the processing of raw materials. The harbor Klippan (Göteborg) could form one of the corners of such a triangle as it was here that the first American voyagers to New Sweden were equipped in the 17th century and loads of sugar cane were handled.

Emit and Merge
Mirror glass and laminated glass 25 x 25 cm
In the work Emit and Merge, the viewer encounters her own reflection combined with illustrations of electromagnetic fields. Electromagnetic fields arise around all electrical devices, cables, mobile phones and other wireless communication. The electromagnetic force gives rise to the most everyday phenomena such as induction, friction and the force that prevents objects from touching each other. The Earth also has a magnetic field that is important for the ability of birds, amphibians and insects to navigate. Research has shown that electronics can disrupt birds' migration patterns and internal natural compass.
The earliest mirror-like objects were made of obsidian. Obsidian is a rock that forms from lava. The substance has an amorphous structure and is an opaque, usually dark green, dark brown or black glass. In addition to capturing the sun's radiating to create heat, start a fire or send light signals over long distances, the mirror was long considered a divine and magical object that could capture the soul, reveal our emotions and foretell the future. The mirror is also used to create light, space, illusion, festive mood and has historically been a common tool in magic shows.