Ulrika Gomm: Building Nation and Bodies

December 7 – 29, 2013
(Curated by Bergman & Salinas)
INCA, Seattle
1900 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA, 98134
ULRIKA GOMM — BUILDING NATION AND BODIES (Consisting of three texts in the space: a poem, fragments of political speeches and a flag.)


The state and the nation: we as citizens, can be creators and upholders. Gomm’s work takes form as a hybrid of text: printed matter, readings, animation and documentary video. Gomm scrutinizes applications and comprehensions of power structures, language systems and mental concepts. Language works to establish and maintain dominating order by perpetrating violence. However, there remains the possibility to use language as a liberating tool. Gomm is interested in the constant shifts of naming in ongoing variability. Stopping aggressive re-definition at the service of power structures is impossible, however, ideas and visions to persuade and discuss, destabilize and resist the violence of language is necessary. By reworking language, a shift of meaning might occur, in the reader and listener, resulting in potential new dreams and visions.

BUILDING NATION AND BODIES. Text, 2013 Gathered fragments from 100 years (1913-2013) of government inaugural speeches in Sweden. A body of text that through the years has been recited by men. What ideas, visions, actions and rhetorics, uttered over time, do we have inherent in our social and physical bodies? This work is a result of Gomm’s research in the Swedish parliament in Stockholm during summer 2013. In order to find these speeches Gomm went through thousands of books in the archive, she climbed ladders to reach books and documents, copying about 500 pages. Gomm transcribed, compiled and translated the final 100 speeches from Swedish to English.


WE HAVE COME TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY. Flag, 2013 The statement was originally made by the US military forces invading the island of Grenada in 1983, under “Operation Urgent Fury”. Then, the words were printed on paper and distributed around the island, to inform the citizens of Grenada on what was going on. Here the words are handwritten and printed on a flag.

I AM POEM. Video with sound, 2:20min, 2012 Connecting the “i am poem” template with nouns, performed and documented outside the Dow Chemical plant in Midland, Michigan, USA, December 2012. An “i am poem” is a simple framework to use in order to write a poem: a method that is often applied in schools for younger children to learn how to write a first poem.


Ulrika Gomm (SE/DE) works as a visual artist based in Sweden. She was born in Stockholm in 1978. Gomm has an MFA from Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, 2008. In 2009-2010 she participated in the postgraduate program Documentalities/Art and Architecture at The Royal Institute of Arts, both in Stockholm. In November 2013 she was part of the project Flag NYC, part of Performa 2013 in NYC. Other venues where her work has been presented include Konsthall C in Hökarängen, Sweden, 2013, KHM gallery in Malmö, Sweden, 2013, Trinosophes, Detroit, 2012, INCA, Detroit, 2012, Detroit Contemporary, Detroit USA, 2012, 0047, Oslo, Norway, 2011, Art Copenhagen, Denmark, 2011, Gallery Niklas Belenius, Haninge Konsthall, Botkyrka Konsthall, 2010, Fylkingen, 2010 and 2011, all in Stockholm. In 2010 she participated in a six-months studio program at IASPIS in Stockholm and in a residence at Ohio State University’s Pulse Laser Studio in summer 2012, organized by the Center for the Holographic Arts in New York. During three months, 2012-2013, she worked as an artist in residence at INCA Detroit, USA.


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