INTERWIEV WITH FUKT MAGAZINE
You are entitling your installations “Paper Drawings”. In what way do you see them as drawings?
“Paper Drawings” are an extension of my previous classical drawing practice and through them I am exploring and challenging the concept of drawing. From previously having a traditional approach to the field, I now work with drawing as a concept and way of thinking versus a specific technique. By creating a displacement of the paper in the act of drawing, I consider my work to be abstract, site-specific, procedural sculptural drawings. I am drawing with the paper instead of on it.
Why did you change your approach to drawing?
During my final year as a master student at the Art Academy, I was desperate to break out from my classical figurative way of working and I experimented with big scale abstract and performative drawings.
And the paper installations, what was the starting point?
While de-mounting a huge sheet of paper I had pinned to my studio wall during one of my experiments, I removed one pin at a time which made the paper slowly fall to the ground. Finally when only one pin held the entire paper sheet, I suddenly saw how the paper itself created a line on the huge empty wall. My drawing had suddenly transformed itself from a two-dimensional format and brought itself into a three-dimensional shape. The material that I had previously considered as a practical necessity was suddenly given its own intrinsic value. This was a drawing to me taking on its own form.
Tell me a bit about your last installation at Østlandsutstillingen Buskerud Kunstsenter, where the viewer actually can step into the artwork.
“Paper Drawing # 9” was mounted inside an old silo. The installation consisted of 1300 hanging paper cones. You were able to step into the work and be surrounded by the paper. I allowed only five spectators to enter at the time. A short while after stepping into the “Paper Drawing” the entrance door was closed by one of the guards. This created a huge change in the lighting of the room. I decided to only use the natural light which the silo provided and by closing the door a small window in the ceiling created a soft skylight changing the shape of the work. Closing the door not only changed the light, it shut out the surrounding noise, creating a silent environment making the “Paper Drawings” impact on the room’s acoustics even more noticeable.
What are your thoughts about the experience for the spectator?
What the spectators experienced when they entered the silo I believe to be very individual, some told me that they felt a sense of calmness and others got emotional. The work shown at Buskerud Kunstsenter was very different from “Paper Drawing # 8” shown at Prosjektrom Normanns Stavanger. That work made people dizzy creating the illusion of the entire room being sucked into a socket, but they kept coming back though. I think they were intrigued by the optical illusion that the work created and how they were affected physically, just as we can be fascinated by how classical drawings play tricks with our minds.
What do you do with the work after the exhibition ends?
That is a question often asked. Because of the character of my “Paper Drawings” they are always created on the location in which they are shown and destroyed after exhibited. The paper is then recycled. For me there is an ambivalence in this, on the one hand I have to let go of something that has required much time, energy and dedication with only a photo as a memory. But on the other hand it produces an enormous sense of freedom and I experience great joy that something as simple as a paper roll can be valuable, then left to be almost negligible. What I didn’t expect was how strongly a lot of the audience feels about the impermanence of the process.
For the moment you are at an artist-in-residency in Linz, Austria. It seems you are not so dependent on a permanent studio situation with your site-specific installations. Is it easy for you to travel and work on different places, being flexible, or do you prefer to have your perfect studio set-up?
I am very flexible in the way that I work. My equipment is minimal and easily accessible which means that I can work pretty much everywhere. By working in different studios and locations, I constantly keep getting challenged on how to create my drawings. I find it valuable being exposed to twist and turns I couldn’t have foreseen and I really have to be site sensitive to make the installations function. In not occupying a huge and expensive studio, I have more resources to travel and when I need a bigger space for experimenting I`ll always find something.
Which paper quality and texture is your favorite?
That would have to be the white rolls of industrial paper which I’ve used in all my large scale installations the past couple of years. It is slightly shiny on one side and matte on the other and is 90 cm wide x 110 meters long and 100 grams. This is the kind of paper that is often used when you start to learn life-drawing and the one I was using doing my experiments in my studio as an art student.