Leif Elggren is one of the most highly-esteemed international artists in Avanto's programme. He started as a visual artist in the 1970's, but soon expanded into sound art. This year he participated in the Venice biennale, as well as in the Micronations conference in Helsinki, representing the "virtual" nation of Elgaland-Vargaland as the king of Elgaland. According to Elggren, his latest CD Virulent Images/Virulent Sound is made up of sounds of deadly viruses like HIV and Ebola ("These micro-recordings were made in a government medical laboratory in Tripoli, Libya and brought to Sweden on minidisc by a courier in January 2002"). Two of his previous releases were compiled from sounds he had recorded in his mother's womb before he was born, and from sounds of toilet-flushing. All his projects, both visual and aural, are characterized by a refined craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Elggren's live performance is based on his dream diary and the recordings he has made of his own somniloquies. "I have always hated the nights, but I have written down my dreams since I was fourteen. My father was a sleep-walker and took down the paintings from the walls. Aunt Astrid was suffering from Narcolepsia and could fall asleep anywhere and anytime. Since I was fourteen I have written down my dreams. I often wake up in the middle of the night after a dream and write down what I've just experienced. In the morning I just put these notes in my dream archive and forget them. But now and then I sit down and read through what I have dreamt, and it is like reading something that somebody else has written or experienced. Often I totally forgot the dreams, which makes the notes extremely valuable for me, naturally. It's as though I've captured something that accidentally touched me, just came up to the surface for a glimpse, and I succeeded in catching it. I regularly use dreams for my work, as a starting point for something to be completed, like text fragments."
Elggren's installation As If I Was My Father will be on show at the Huuto Gallery. Elggren decribes it like this: "My father dies 1996, he becomes 90 years old, he is not my real biological father, I was adopted when I was two years old, anyway I have always considered him my father. He dies and I have a vivid image of his appearance the last days in the home for old people. I dress up in the same sort of underwear and take several photos of myself sitting in one of his favourite chairs, I am him and he is me."
M. Monroe: Leif Elggren interview