Soft Spirituality: Camilla Steinum at Soy Capitán

by Alice Connolly O’Brien // Nov. 26, 2021

Soy Capitán is currently presenting an exhibition by Camilla Steinum, a Norwegian-born, Berlin-based artist whose practice spans a variety of media. In her most recent show at the gallery, ‘Farewell Information,’ Steinum has carefully created an active dialogue between her silkscreen prints, upholstery and hanging sculptural works. In it, she plays with the themes of spatial awareness and accessibility of information, two topics frequently revisited in her repertoire.

Camilla Steinum: ‘Farewell Information,’ 2021, exhibition view at Soy Capitán Berlin // Photo by Roman März

In the gallery, we’re asked to remove our shoes or wear protective sheaths over them. Steinum has embellished every surface in the space for ‘Farewell Information.’ Her intervention begins at floor level: the ground is covered in a fleecy orange carpet, which feels thick and fluffy to touch. The ceiling is aglow with orange and white LED lights, while large motionless silver drops are fastened to it. These drops hang at varying heights, reflecting the warm, sunny hue projected in the space and framing various large-format silkscreen prints on the gallery’s walls. The prints depict oversized playing cards, which have been turned upside-down, concealing their suits and numbers from the viewer.

Steinum’s complete utilization of Soy Capitán immerses us in a holistic experience. The journey begins as soon as our shoes are removed or covered. In this way, we can leave the outside world behind and enter the sensory scope of ‘Farewell Information.’ This transition is emphasized by the layout of Soy Capitán: there is no lobby or substantial buffer punctuating the outdoors and the inside of the gallery itself. We move straight from the unpleasant gloominess of Berlin winter into the toasty embrace of the exhibition. This contrast serves Steinum well. It means that our attention is redirected before we are even able to take in the physical objects. We’re wholly enveloped by her narratives and themes.

Camilla Steinum: ‘Farewell Information,’ 2021, exhibition view at Soy Capitán Berlin // Photo by Roman März

‘Farewell Information’ feels like a moment that has been frozen in time. This theme of time is reflected in the silver drops, which resemble pendulums. The droplets—hand-molded in clay and cast in nickel silver—are playfully positioned so that they interrupt the visual and spatial experience. It is unclear whether the droplets are silently guiding us on a journey through a looking glass or if they are actually awake and mischievous, meddling with our movement at every turn. However, what is clear, is how they shape the experience of the exhibition. Without them, the prints would feel lonely and the downy carpet would be futile. Their presence encourages us to consider what else influences our movement, capacity and progression.

Camilla Steinum: ‘Farewell Information,’ 2021, exhibition view at Soy Capitán Berlin // Photo by Roman März

The silkscreen prints are mounted on the walls and cast in a similarly warm palette. Each card is decorated with a colorful line pattern, however, their designs have been interfered with and disrupted, each one in a different way. This, in addition to the face of the card being concealed, leaves us wondering about their actual function. Why are they turned faced down? What happened to their patterns? What information are they trying to hide or relay? It feels slightly hypnotizing. Through this exercise, Steinum is nodding to the human relationship with the unknown, our obsession with spirituality, superstition and numerical mysticism. She uses the other features—the carpet, the droplets, the glowing lights—to create an environment that puts us at ease, so we’re lulled into a trance by the prints.

‘Farewell Information’ cleverly explores themes of spatial navigation and the accessibility of information in a smooth and all-encompassing way. Steinum encourages us to contemplate the processes, interruptions and guides we use to navigate each moment. She does this by inviting us inside a tangible moment of pause, allowing us to walk around its contours and contemplate its meanings from the inside out.

Exhibition Info

Soy Capitán

Camilla Steinum: ‘Farewell Information’
Exhibition: Nov. 6 – Jan. 29, 2022
Prinzessinnenstraße 29, 10969 Berlin, click here for map

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