Live performance (Lars Arrhenius, SE, and Olav Westphalen, DE/US)
"Lars and Olav" is a collaboration by Stockholm-based artists Lars Arrhenius and Olav Westphalen.
In their individual practices both artists have been testing the boundaries of entertainment and art for years. Westphalen has been a successful cartoonist (as a member of "Rattelschneck"), a satirist for print media and an occasional comedy writer for TV, while simultaneously and with a straight face deploying identical strategies on the contemporary art world. Lars Arrhenius has authored numerous films which exist, both, in the film- and TV-world as well as in the arena of contemporary art. He has been a co-author of widely celebrated, anarchic children’s programs on Swedish Television (i.e. "Showtime" and "Bon"). He has also written music for film and TV as well as for his own, Kraftwerk-inspired concept album ("Songs from Society").
In 2013 Arrhenius and Westphalen created "Bomb", a stand-up comedy performance to techno music. After the success of "Bomb" they decided to expand their collaboration. "Lars and Olav" is something between Gilbert and George, the 80’s electro band Trio and an endurance performance. It is a music show, a spoken word show, a piece of comedy, a parody of all the above. It is dead serious. It mixes techno, house music, and cartoon soundtracks, often in surprising and seemingly non-sensical instrumentations. It is kind of well done, even though Westphalen cannot sing. "Lars and Olav" sing (Lars) and shout (Olav) about the smug and cozy hypocrisy of academic liberalism, about progressive comedy as a reactionary release, they even deliver a hymn titled "Schwedenstahl" for the ascendant Swedish right wing movement, which has been lacking a convincing hymn. Their performances are painful and embarrassing, but still they make people dance. They are actually entertaining. Which may make them the opposite of entertainment.