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Magnus Bartas

The Disappointed and Offended No. 2, Sweden, 2007-2008

Candle wax, needles, thread, text,
12X2.5 meters

Courtesy of the artist and Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm

"The Disappointed and Offended" is an ongoing project based upon the personal archive of Magnus Bartas. Following the display of the work at the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art, curator Suzana Milevska offered a description of the work process extended over several years. Bartas collated stories of distress and media confessions from the daily press, perused the newspaper complaints columns, cutting out the features and reducing stories into a one-line format. Going on from there, he attached to each of these stories a wax “pageant”, dripping wax from a lighted candle on newspaper photographs, and when it hardened, carefully removed it along with the imprint left by the faces. Even if the stories occasionally sound ludicrous and unbelievable, the accumulation of faces and texts grants a voice to powerful feelings of discomfort, sadness, pain, human despair and a sense of victimhood.

Bartas offers a public stage to personal disappointments and by the very act of shaping and uniting extends a performance potency to the complaints, even imbuing them with dimensions of rebellion and protest. We may be considering a substitute to a confessor priest or a parallel to the Western Wall, to the notes introduced in between its stones, to the apprehensions, hopes, difficulties and complaints, whose accumulation together conveys uncertainty in relation to our lives.