Mathias Josefson | That’s because we don’t trust nature that is inside us

a site-specific audio-visual installation by Mathias Josefson

curated by Stefanie Hessler

“A city man knows nothing about life, he doesn’t feel how time passes, he doesn’t know its natural flow.”[1]


smallworldsproject is proud to present its second site-specific exhibition in a small and art remote context. Mathias Josefson’s sound sculpture at the architecture office Blå Eken in central Stockholm addresses our relation to nature and time in an urban environment. The title of the work That’s because we don’t trust nature that is inside us is derived from the movie The Mirror (1975) by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. The phrase is expressed by the figure of the doctor in the film, whose character represents Tarkovsky’s own conviction and position towards the world.


Mathias Josefson, “That’s because we don’t trust nature that is inside us”, 2011


That’s because we don’t trust nature that is inside us is active only during randomly programmed intervals at night time. The work is visible through the office window of Blå Eken on street-level. At night, passer-bys can see shadows dancing in the showcase, reminiscent of a gust of wind streaking through a cornfield. The imagery originates from the entrance scene of The Mirror, in which a young woman – the protagonist’s mother – sitting on a fence observes how a sudden blast caresses the field. The sequence signifies both a foreboding of the coming events and a reflection backwards over the director’s childhood experiences. Wind is employed as cinematic element rather than natural phenomenon, visualising an inner world that cannot be expressed by the spoken word, but only through a sensorial and poetic device. With The Mirror, Tarkovsky discusses the immediate physical impact contemporary history has on us, how it disrupts constructions of knowledge and shapes collective experience and memory.




In this sense, Mathias Josefson deals with our alienation from nature, and the belief in cognition and control over our environment rather than embracing wilderness as part of our existence. Nature is not to be understood as threat but a comfort zone in which inner peace could be obtained. The installation in an architecture office concerned with mediating between an environment’s original condition and built structures suspends common narrative expectations. The work is an experiment of sculpting in time – as Tarkovsky refers to his film making in a same-titled book. Following an own inherent logic, its activity swells just to drop away again, creating a dream-like imagery that resists the viewer’s confirmation or disproval by means of logic. The estranged flickering of the image accompanied by an audible transformation of the movement into sound can be read as attempt to uncover a concealed meaning of the physical world. The thin tissue dividing the material representational side from dreams, imagination and nature that resides in our subconscious is penetrated through an affectionate approach of oscillating light, movement and sound.



That’s because we don’t trust nature that is inside us addresses the disparity between consciousness and feelings and is a call for confiding our instincts and endorsing the incomprehensible. It is an attempt to rethink our understanding of time and circumstantiality in urban life.



[1] Claire Devarrieux, “The Artist Lives Off His Childhood like a Parasite: An Interview with the Author of The Mirror”, p. 45 (originally from Le Monde, 20 January 1978, p. 18). In: “Andrei Tarkovsky Interviews”, 2006, edited by John Gianvito, University Press of Mississippi.




Mathias Josefson’s work spans digital and analogue media, often with a focus on sound as part of spatial installations. Time, repetition and mythologies are central to his practice. Josefson is educated at the Royal Institute of Art Stockholm and holds a degree in Computer Science from the Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm. He has exhibited at Fylkingen and Tegen 2, Stockholm; Kalmar konstmuseum, Kalmar; Wonderland, San Francisco and participated in festivals such as Eternal Tour, Jerusalem and Loop, Barcelona.



Opening: Thursday, 8 December 2011, 17.00 – 20.00

Blå Eken, Linnégatan 17, Stockholm, T-bana Östermalmstorg

Exhibition period: 9 December 2011 – 8 January 2012, daily 21.00 – 7.00






Mingle during the opening

Mingle during the opening


Name (required)

Mail (will not be published) (required)