A conversation with Éva Mag

The title of the exhibition is There Is a Plan for This. Why did you choose that title and what does it mean?

Éva Mag (ÉM): What appeals to me is the emptiness in what is apparently a very convincing promise. And it suits the exhibition, because I have taken on a responsibility, yet I don’t know if I can keep going to the end.

You have been interested in clay for a long time, but in this exhibition you also allow another material to come into play, namely metal. What can you tell us about this?

ÉM: I see the objects in this exhibition more as a whole that I am using, not so much as metal specifically. In the exhibition, we see video, bricks, a canoe, a mortuary freezer, cables, pipes, screws, nails, tools and all sorts of things that in a material way complement the clay and textiles. I can tell you that clay, textiles and metal make a fine match. I view the accumulated objects as an expression of the time that has gone into making them. In all these objects, I see centuries of knowledge, innovation, industry, consumption, but above all human physical work. An ongoing and eternal work. The objects in the art hall do have real value, you just have to know how to sort them. My knowledge covers the different categories of the metals, as well as their price per kilo, but wouldn’t everything turn to gold in the right hands? I believe the knowledge you have about a system determines how you find your place in it, and thereafter how you will make your way in the world.

During your exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall, you will be turning the space into a studio or workshop, and you’ll occasionally come here to work. What kind of things are you planning of doing?

ÉM: I want to come here and look and feel and select items, and then combine them on my specially made podiums. This will become sculptural work that I can keep, however I cannot keep all the objects. I’m also thinking of sorting out a lot of the stuff that Dad doesn’t want back and take them to the recycling depot. I will sort the various metals using a magnet. That is all I know right now. That’s the extent of the plan. My plan is to trust that it will all work out. Trust that it will reveal itself, how I react, when I’m physically in front of the objects.
Your work often oscillates between the individual and the collective. What can you say about this fluctuation in your art and the interplay of these notions in this space?

ÉM: It was important to do all the heavy work with the clay by myself, so that I could learn how I operated. To figure out where my physical limit was and what I could learn from working with clay. I felt good while working so hard and meeting that resistance. But then you also have to learn how to function as a part of society, too. Working with other people involves psychological resistance instead. But now I have collaborated several times with people who are new to me, where we have solved a task together. Even though it involves more risk than working by yourself, it also feels like the reward is exponentially greater.