By Golly!

Sometimes nothing turns out the way you think. This might be exciting, but it may also be horrible. Art life sometimes thrives on the conception that everything that is unforeseen is vital and good. But how does it work in real life, when unpredictable things really happen? When we planned and prepared our work ”By Golly!” we were quite meek. Maybe even well-intentioned. Elisabet Haglund, newly appointed head of The Museum of Sketches in Lund, had asked us to make a summer exhibition in the sculpture park. We wanted to do something that could be used freely by everyone, an outdoor stage, half model, half finished piece of work.  ”Freely” –that´s what we thought and totally blacked out on the graffiti mob. We didn´t think of ”Tectyl” - resisting all detergents.  The night before the opening, the work of art was attacked and totally destroyed by spray paint scrawlers. Instead of playing in the sculpture parkwe were analyzinggraffiti together with police, security guards, museum staff and security officials fromthe University of Lund. So much for art! We who had wished everybody to be a part of it!  There definitively is an uncomfortable cleavage in the scene of art, inviting the public to participate onthe one hand, and pushing them away who really do with the other. The art critic Tor Billgren wrote in Sydsvenska Dagbladet (2006-06-19) that our decision to tear down ”By Golly!” was too hasty. It should have stayed in place for others to react on.  But we decided to take the same path as the danish BZ-movement did in the eighties –to avoid unforescen confrontations with the police by fleeing through tunnels they have dug – we “chose our fights”.   Reflecting upon ”By Golly!”, we can observe a much more cautious art audience, behaving nicely normal and ”suitable”. An audience participating according to the artist’s intentions, and appreciating the work of art in words just as impeccable. Onlookers, desiring to do the right thing and only the right thing -  maybe thats why art life consists of only ”the happy few”.

”By Golly” - oh dear! ”Golly!” an interjection. (Used especially by Negroes, meaning for God, by God and also a deformation of God/ Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English). ”Golly” a black doll, very popular during the 19th century. A motive painted in big size on the wings.