Nature Morte. A still life. Flowers and insects. Made in may 2012.
The title connect the work to the traditions of Still life paintings which particularly before 1700, often contained hidden meanings. Religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. I have noticed when exhibiting in China that my work when placed in that context is interpreted through symbols – this was extremely apparent with the work Within. Many chinese artist I have met work with stories that are part of their eastern culture and use symbols with a readable meaning for those in this culture. My impression of western painting is that in many cases it references more to itself and therfore rely on that the viewer are familiar and educated in the history of art. Maybe because the older knowledge of symbols and myths have not been transfered to my generation.
Visually the piece is related to the botanical drawings made as recordings of the discoveries of the New World and Asia in the 16th century. At that time natural objects became appriciated as objects in itself. Flowers, insects, shells and fruits were collected and traded. Detailed scientific illustrations of the nature was made, often as part of classification of specimens. A few explorers far from home took the possiblilty to improve reality to make their findings even more remarkable, but most of the thousands of illustrations from that time are very scientific. I feel connected to this very decorative work of art wich embodies the attention put in the details.
My flowers are not scientific recordings, although they more or less resembles something you have seen. I do study nature. The construction of things interest me. How the bud slowly evolves and becomes a leaf. I drop by everyday to see what have happened. I want to be part of that process. The transforming of things. I am of the LEGO generation = we who want to take small pieces and build something new. I take the sewing thread, a completely ordinary material, and play with it – I make a drawing in the air.
I live in the 2100th century. The world is falling apart. Pollution, wars, violence, etc. and I spend my time in my studio drawing flowers. How did I come to this point?
I don´t know.
If you want to I can construct a story for you, a mythology about myself. Simple easy-to-tell without contradiction. Maybe like this:
Step one. The first years of being arist I questioned everything, constantly. When you are very critical it is a hard to work. It´s easy to limit things that has not yet evolved. Why make art pieces that go into an art market? What is the use of this? Most of all I questioned myself. Is this good enough? What do I want to express? Why? Questions totally impossible to answer. So I didn´t answer. I just worked and tried to see what happened. I wanted to tell stories but didn´t know what story to tell. I tried but was not satisfied with the result. Returned to abstract work, diving into pleasure of colour, composition, rythm. At the same time reading a lot of texts by artist and theorist like Butler and Kristeva. Travelling to see exhibitions. Studying the mechanisms of the art world. I wondered – is there space for me in this world of art? Where?
Step two. I grew up. Maybe. I lived and the stories started to come. Spent most of the time with my own work, not taking time off to study someone elses. The question ¨What is the use of this?¨ left me as I started to question if things need to be useful at all. My work turned more figurative. I used my own life as startingpoint to say something about being. It worked. Others could relate to my selfportraits. I found space. When exhibiting I could see a response, in the bodies that walked into an exhibition. I noticed that my work often focused on complex and not so easy situations in life as in Breaking Up?. Why wasn´t all the joy in my life visible in my art? My threedimesional work started to move, physically in the exhibition space creating a landscape which was sensuous. If art has power what can I use it for? Is there a possibility to be political here? if so which issues do I want to draw attention to? As a very lightskinned 30+ woman living in a priviliged part of the world…
Step three. I looked around and realized that political and gender issues have become more visible in the artworld. But if I want to be political is the artworld really the place to be? I Suddenly I found myself in demonstrations again. Meeting feminists and others who was really searching for other ways to organize their life. Today most of us are aware of the backsides of our overconsumption but where do we find the tools and power to change it? Tell me if you know. In my studio I continue to build worlds of my own, landscapes you can walk into, Hypertrophy, physical experiences. At the same time objects for a market, a consumer product (evil!) or something to enjoy (good!). Just joking – who knows what is evil and what´s good – and for who? It is all connected. We are all connected. I think about this while I work refining a feeling of stillness in the pieces I do. A meditative stillness that connects to emotion. Recently found out that the word emotion is based on the Latin emovere, where e- (variant of ex-) means "without" and movere means "move." A friend from India helped me unchain from the thoughs spinning in my head and accept what is coming/ growing in my studio. She simply stated that artworks have soul and " when you make art you let the energy come through you and into the piece which has a life of its own". This totally resonated with me and my experience of a creative process as something that often surprise me although it at the same time build on my earlier experiences. I decided to instantly take this position because it is empowering. I fuel energy into the world.
This story is an illusion. I´ve given you a description of a linear evolutinary process – without mentioning its irregularity. At the same time it points to some questions that I am confronted with in my practice. But let´s go back to the "Nature Morte" which led to this story. Are there hidden meanings in a piece like this?
When I look at the work now when it has left me. I see beauty. For me beauty is a kind of emotional response that absorb me. I hear voices buzzing in my ears. Two bees have a crisis in their relationship. A yellow flower try to fit in by finding space between some others without disturbing anyone. Three flies play tag. A dragonfly has a conversation with a flower. For me nature is very much alive. A place to get energy and connect to. I try to take that energy and build it into a piece of art. Can you feel it?
This work and text evolved as a response to spending time in the corridors of an Art Academy again. Taking more part of the Contemporary Art World and spending less time in the forest. I take some positions here – but as my life transforms so will all positions.
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