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1973, Jönköping. Lives in Stockholm.

Billing’s new film shows a simple activity in slow methodical detail. It marks a passage of time when a group of people gather in an apartment in Amsterdam for one day to pack and move the belongings of another unknown person. The work is monotonous and repetitive but also carefully organised, reflecting the strangeness of northern European culture, with its certain movements and structured action. It is never made clear why the house is being abandoned or how it fits into the cycle of real estate sale, purchase and rent. Instead, the work evokes feelings of distance and loss in the face of the uninspiring activity at hand. In common with much of Billing’s work, the piece has a reference to pop music, in this case the album Magic & Loss by Lou Reed, recorded at a time when he was dealing with the loss of several people around him. In the Biennial, it becomes both a critique and a tribute to a set of cultural behaviours and how they are instilled in our bodily actions.

Charles Esche

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