Artwork’s Title: Fading Out
Materials Used: Ink, Acrylic, Natural Pigment
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
My work began as a search for the convergence of the outer and inner landscapes. I wanted to explore the boundaries and transitions between them. Over the years I have become more attracted to specific places where the change in the landscape seems particularly significant, places that go beyond my rational understanding.
While I visit these places, my canvases travel with me and are stretched and painted in several spots. Most of the canvases are in constant discourse with the changing surroundings. Often over many years. Only a few of them are later stretched on frames in the studio and “finished”.
How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
What is your project named Planetary Intimacies?
Planetary Intimacies is an artistic field research project. It explores new ways of accessing the Anthropocene with installative landscape painting, experimental cartography and sensory research. Thereby it is guided by the following questions: What if we acknowledge our inner interconnectedness and vulnerability as organisms? What if we use our privileges and powers to break through inherited structures and reposition ourselves to the planet? With what view do I look at the world? And what does this perspective do to me, to society and to the planet?
Could you share with us some insights on your installative landscape painting ‘Fading-Out’? Is there any particular story or meaning behind this artwork?
My idea behind this series was to visit different disappearing glaciers and to paint in their presence. I wanted to think about the phenomenon of disappearance with the means of painting. So, I was backpacking in Norway for several weeks and had to carry all the canvases and equipment, therefore I had experimented beforehand with different fabrics that were as thin as possible in order to save weight. While painting this piece in different places I noticed how the extremely thin fabric became transparent and began to merge with the landscape. This corresponded very well with the theme of the disappearing glaciers. Here I asked myself for the first time: What is the focus of my actual work? Is it the painted fabric or the photograph in the landscape? The search for an answer has turned into an ongoing formal investigation from different angles.
Firstly I would like to ask you what a landscape painting is and then what a landscape painting can do in 2021? It sounds like an uncommon practice/technique as well as a term in particular.
I don’t know what landscape painting is. I do know what certain directions in landscape painting were in the past. And, of course, I inevitably follow their tradition because I paint in Landscape, but for me it is more about questioning my artistic practice in nature.
During my hikes I often put up my canvases without painting on them. Many times, the most obvious landscapes are not the best to paint in. For me, it is always an attempt to create cracks between nature and the canvas, where I am exposed to myself, where nothing is durable. From which I can start to rethink and reconnect.
For me, this type of landscape painting can help me reposition myself and create an access point to the Anthropocene.
Anthropocene; how does this intellectual and multi-dimensional earth system term is related to your art?
Some scientists say that with the Manhattan Project’s nuclear weapons test in 1945, a new era in geological history began, because since then we have been able to measure human influence through radiation in all the surfaces and soils of the earth. Different levels have started to shift. My point is not so much to define the exact era we are living in now. Whether we should call it Anthropocene, Capitalocene or Chthulucene. I’m interested in the shift itself. Over the next hundred years we will see fundamental changes in nature: Increasing temperatures will lead to droughts and floods. The glaciers will melt away, ocean levels will rise and much more… Changes that previously took hundreds of thousands of years will now happen in one hundred years.1 Geological time is now shifting on a human scale. Are we able to comprehend that? I don’t know, but I am interested in the state of implicit anticipation. A state in which an all-encompassing connectedness and vulnerability enters our consciousness. It passes through us, changes us, takes hold of us, while we are never able to understand it as a whole.
1Compare: Andri Snær Magnason: On Time and Water
Where do you draw inspiration in order to create your artworks? Are they related to personal memories or are they closer to your imagination as an artist?
The starting point for my works lies in a specific landscape or phenomenon and in the various attempts to encounter it. The view of the frozen glaciers for example became more and more like a huge information network. Countless layers of new snow above old snow. In between compressed atmospheres with all its particles and molecules enclosed over thousands of years. Friction and pressure, so abstract that I imagine the contained information as a space with infinite landscapes of algorithms.
Satellites provide us with abstractions of those icefields in the form of images, computational models, and data visualisations. They capture information beyond our human sensitivity and provide us with a technological viewpoint. All of this I somehow overlay in my paintings.
Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
Most of the time, it is actually the philosophers who inspire me. For example: Bruno Latour, Timothy Morton or Lukáš Likavčan.
How does landscape painting look like when satellite images of melting glaciers drift through the back of our mind?
This is exactly the question I try to answer with my means of painting 😉
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?
I prefer to paint outside under a white sky in places that interest me. The physical act of travelling and walking to those places clears my mind and prepares me for painting. This has become a part of my artistic practice, just like the rain and the wind.
Apart from that, I also have a small studio where everything is full of unstretched canvases. This is where I sew my canvases and prepare everything, but I hardly paint in it.
What do your parents think about your art?
My father was very doubtful until he passed away, my mother always supported me. Now she is afraid that I will fall into a glacier crack.
Which are your plans for the near future?
During the summer I will paint near the glaciers on Iceland.
All images courtesy of the artist