The ring beyond the mat at Konsthall 16 / Riksidrottmuseum / Stockholm

The Ring Beyond the Mat - an exhibition in three chapters

Oct 7 2022 – Jan 1 2023

Curated by Ashik & Koshik Zaman (C-print)

Artists: Clément Courgeon, Jasmin Daryani, Dev Dhunsi, Ditte Ejlerskov, Constantin Hartenstein, Theodor Johansson, KOR’SIA, Josefina Malmegård

Konsthall 16 / Riksidrottsmuseum
Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen 26
115 27

The Ring Beyond the Mat, installation view, Konsthall 16/Riksidrottsmuseum, Stockholm. Curated by Ashik & Koshik Zaman (C-print)

The Ring Beyond the Mat, installation view, Konsthall 16/Riksidrottsmuseum, Stockholm. Curated by Ashik & Koshik Zaman (C-print)

Ditte Ejlerskov The Altorilievo Fight, 2021 3D printed relief sculpture in HP MJF PA12 spray painted white, 37.3 x 35.4 x 8.4 cm

Dev Dhunsi Akhada temporarily closed due to fog, 2022, Mixed media sculpture, 150 x  200 x 150 cm (detail view)

KOR’SIA HUMAN, 2018, choreography by Mattia Russo and Antonio de Rosa, inspired by a play by Umberto Ciceri, 15 min and Theodor Johansson Inherited Repetition, 2022, crochet, 250 x 250 cm

Jasmin Daryani, Headlocked, 2022, Stereo litography, 14.5 x 14.5 x 18.5 cm

Constantin Hartenstein, FEIT, 2011, Super 8 transferred to HD video, 2:11 min

Clément Courgeon, Wrestling Society/Part one, 2022, Wood, acrylic, metal, rope, 41 x 34,5 x 14 cm

Josefina Malmegård, Heavenly Bodies II, 2019, Ultra HD video. 4:43 min loop

Why wrestling? What makes wrestling interesting in a way not always considered by a larger public?

Ashik & Koshik Zaman: Wrestling is a fascinating sport in so far centuries old and one that has such geographic reach around the world, with regional variations found. It’s the OG (original) sport. There are so many aspects inherent in wrestling, from the athleticism to eroticism, that make it an interesting study. Perhaps for some pain and violence comes to mind with combat sports in general but we’ve often linked wrestling to dancing, if yet with a whiff of controlled violence. With this exhibition we wanted to broaden the audience view on wrestling beyond the stock image of muscular white bodies in singlets and bring thought to this close connection to dance and choreography. Moreover, for instance we also want to serve a reminder of wrestling as something that historically has been practiced also between women even though that often gets edited out of history the way it’s conveyed. Every artwork in the exhibition speaks to one or several interests and/or realities found in wrestling; some of which are more novel and surprising than others. With this exhibition it was also important to steer away only from a Western world image of wrestling, without for that matter resorting to a very documentary approach. At the core it’s a very conceptual art exhibition inspired by wrestling.

What can be said about the theme and form of your work Akhada temporarily closed due to fog (2022) in the exhibition?

Dev Dunshi: The theme of the work is directly connected to Kabaddi and the “akhada” which is the name of the arena where most of the practices and performances take place within the sport. It is treated like a temple where you are not allowed to bring in tobacco or other substances and indeed have to follow certain rules. Since it’s a team wrestling sport and based on the connectivity and movement within chaos and order, I felt the desire to translate this “holy playground for wrestling”-sphere to the exhibition, without only bringing direct documentation from my on-site research.

In simple terms, the installation is a sandbox containing elements from an akhada. The sand is red just like a classic akhada, and it can also resemble the north indian sunsets glaring red light because of fog or pollution, often called smog. Four glasses of milk resembling how the wrestlers drink milk directly from the cow kept near the akhada. Speed boxing bags chained together as one big bunch of grapes. With lastly the projection on shaped sand and its soundscape. The film (Temporarily, HD-video 40:00 min) is a birds-eye view of the movements of 8 dancers following and breaking the rules of Kabaddi. One of the rules for instance is when an attacker from the one team tries to touch or tackle the opponent team, they have to hold their breath. For referees to keep track they are forced to repeat the word kabaddi. Creating visual evidence of how the breath is slowly burning out, sometimes one can hear their next moves by the tonalities and rhythm combined with their bodily movements.
What are the gender connotations of the presented work The Altorilievo Fight (2021) and in what context was it originally made?

Ditte Ejlerskov: My general work with this sculpture of the wrestlers in different media is part of a millennia-long Eurocentric tradition. The oldest male version of the wrestlers is to be found at the Ufizzi - but it is itself a marble copy of the now-lost Greek original in bronze.

With this “original” in mind my aim was to create a piece that could visualise an inner struggle like the one I had experienced at the birth of my first child and subsequently wished to process and change in preparation for the birth of my second child.

For me the two wrestling bodies came to symbolise this inner struggle. When I was pregnant with my second child, I began working on this female version of the wrestlers as a way of processing two conflicting emotions: anxiety and love. My first birthing situation had been dramatic and dominated by fear. An overproduction of the hormone adrenaline will typically prevent the body from releasing oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, necessary during childbirth and breastfeeding. Seeking to take control of my own body in order to make my upcoming childbirth calm and loving, I created the sculpture of the two wrestling women as a meditation object capable of accommodating conflicting physical states.

In the studio, when re-drawing the males into females, for me, the two bodies became avatars of oxytocin and adrenaline. I would view them from all angles in the hope of manifesting a calm home birth far away from hospitals and medical procedures. I live and work in the same building, so I was able to work right up until the moment I had to give birth. For me, art is not just work, it’s a way of surviving. I take all important personal issues with me and bring them to bear in my work.



Konsthall 16 (Riksidrottsmuseum)