Earlier this week a summer storm passed through the Danish Jetland. All day the air was heavy and dark in anticipation. Around 5 o'clock it began to pour, not for long, but long enough to release the energy that was building up in the sky.
Lummert is a Norwegian word, referring to the specific building of pressure in the sky that comes before a storm. Unlike humidity, lummert speaks to a building tension that has not yet, but will soon burst. It is something that hangs heavily in the sky, reminding you that soon a storm will crack.
I have been thinking about this powerful energy in relationship to my time here. Every day starts off good; I run, explore, cook, paint and write. But as the day grows to a close, I can feel the anxiety building up inside me. It bubbles up, wanting to come out, to crack the facade of a productive day, reminding me that I have been alone for a week, two weeks, one more week to go. I feel lummert every day, riding on the very edge of explosion. Usually a phone call will start the storm. One moment I am okay, and the next, the weight of the day folds over me. Not allowing me to combat fear with productivity.
Day 10: I found the woods.
As I sat outside in the storm, watching the rain pour out onto the flat, dry landscape, I recognized lummert. It has been building every day since I arrived here, combined with the anxiety of post-grad and the fear of leaving the city that I have made my home- the capital of the art world- for a remote and empty place that I do not know or like. I have been hovering right at the edge of break down every day.
I feel exposed in this flat land, I am disconnected, I am drifting around with a long list of things I could do but no incentive to work. Rather, I have spent my days trying to find something that will interest me. But now that I have recognized the lummert, I can channel inspiration from it-- from the storm of anxiety, fear and loneliness that is building up inside me; that I feel the weight of right now. A heavy energy that drags me down, exhausting me from the weight I am carrying.
The storm broke and it poured for a few hours. The sky was dark. After, the evening felt light again. The thirsty land drank up the water and before long, it was as if nothing had happened.
I spent the night sketching and remembering. I filled a sketchbook with my brave Anna, who I have watched grow up and into an adult from a distance, opposed to lummert. She is going into the darkness, challenging it, and confronting it.
The painting was fast, a manifestation of the storm I felt riding on my shoulders.
My storm of furious painting came and went in a few short days. On Wednesday I traveled to Aarhus to clear my mind and see a dear friend from New York. The change of pace was much needed. It felt so good to be back in a city. At the end of the day, I was already feeling the lummert building up inside me, I was going to go home in the morning, I would be isolated again, accompanied by the fear of inactivity and the lack of creativity. I felt pathetic; afraid to go back.
Install shots from the museum
As hard as it was to come back to the country side, things have gotten much better. I came home, installed my show, and left again for a weekend trip to Aalborg. I saw two amazing shows in the city that reignited some of my ambitions that had been dulled by the hot sun and quiet days. I had no idea how critical it is for me to be near a city, to be surrounded by other people producing work.
Kaarina Kaikkonen- toilet paper installation (hung), found household items and T shirts from the community. Note: landscape and figure.
Now that I am back I don't feel as much panic or fear about being alone and far away from everything I know. It has opened up my day in many ways. I don't feel the need to familiarize myself with the community around me or to spend time with other people, all of which was a misguided assumption I made when I arrived. I have accepted what this place is, it is a place to reflect and to pause. If I know what it is I won't try to change it. I can accept the discomfort. I came into the residency hungry to learn from this new place, but that was my mistake. Now that I have no expectations I can adjust to where I am; my time here is less about place and more about my identity as an artist when everything familiar is stripped away.