The story of the journey
It all started when Sonja Fabian curation from the Stadtmuseum in Hall asked me to make souvenirs and things to sell in the museum, made from recycled material from the museum. In the beginning it did not catch my interest… plastic… bags… it was not something that I wanted to work with. But I am always open for new opportunities and challanges.
I went home with some pieces to see if this material would speak to me……
At the time I was actually deep in my new textile work. For two years I had had no interest in doing an exhibition, but I soon found that I wanted to make an exhibition with new work.
I started to cut and play with the material. Very soon I got a feeling for the material, it had qualities from paper and textiles at the same time… it is more permanent than paper but not so soft as textile… and I felt that I had started to mix paperwork and textilework together and I was in love…….
For one week I cut, stapled, sew, and drew and I forgot about time and space……
I started with what I would later call the Happy Balls. The material had different motivs, typography, illustrations and pictures. I wanted to use the letters on the material and with the small letters I could make words so every ball had a meaning… Happiness is different from one person to another and I decided to ask people what happiness is for them
And I got very different answers…
I decided to make the Happy Balls from 12 pieces one for every month of the year, showing that happyness is constant. It exists all year round, in different forms.
The idea for the staple work originated in my textiles, from hats I had made for some years ago… I found that this interesting form created shadows and interesting texture… It is a little crazy because I realized that to make one picture I needed a lot of round forms. In the first picture I used about 3000 round forms and it takes about one hour to make 100 forms, and only when I am focused on nothing else….
I decided that this was a journey of patience and perseverance… Rome was not built in one day and good things take time… One of my thought these days is why do we do all things so fast… we forget to enjoy…
After I started the staple work I took photos to document my process and when I saw the photo I started to see new ways to work with the material.
I found the form so interesting that I wanted to draw it and not in a small scale but a big drawing. I started drawing the details and the pieces grew as I worked. It took a while to do but I did enjoy the work and I really liked the results.
My mind had been take over by this new material and all the ideas that had sprung from working and playing with it. But now I had a problem. I was a long way from where I was supposed to go with what Sonja and I had discussed about souvenirs and small gift items for the museum… This was far away and totally different and instead of small souvenirs I saw an exhibition and it had to be in the Statsmuseum…
Does she like it or does she not… I do have patience when doing my work, like cutting 3000 round shapes for one artwork, but waiting for an answer is always difficult for me… And then she said Yes….
When Sonja asked me if I was interested in making some souvenirs for the museum, recycling from this material, I did not think that I would have this material between my hands for more than 4 months, almost every day. Actually I didn´t think at all, the material just took over. I had found some fire, and in this fire I forgot everything. I don´t know how many hours I have been cutting and preparing my work… preparation that requires no thinking and while my hands work, my mind can wander and create and travel the world.
After Sonja had said yes to the exhibition, we had a meeting and I got more of the material and now it started for real… I needed at least 6000 pieces for my works, so I had to make a plan… I wanted to make this by myself, it would be a challenge and an exercise in discipline.
One of the material was transparent with golden print… the colour was so nice and I thought maybe I could cut some holes in it and make a lamp. Not only could I cut holes into the material, but with a knife I could both draw and take the print away… It was Magic…
I really like the Magic light… scratches… scratches …
I think there is a reason for everything and in this process I have had a lot of time to think and I also used this time to listening to documentaries and to learn about life. One of the thing I have been thinking of is what motivates us, what make us spend our time working on some projects that we don’t know if they will take us further in life… when we are doing something because we have to do it, we can’t not do it… In my case I see the artists and writers, with the need for creativity but there are others who search for answers or physical triumphs, that are motivated by other things… What is it that drives us forward…
Form or content
Most of the material I got was with text but one I got was a Portrait of an Writer. With the that portrait I decided to weave together with his text foils of his career.
Sometimes when I think of us, what we are and how we behave… How everything is different today than it was just 100 years ago… and 100 years is a very short time in the history but the changes have been very fast. But I don´t think we are so different… Our needs and hopes and wishes I think are still the same.
I also think that in our fast world we start to loose our ability to connect with ourselves. We start to see the form more than the content. And what is most important for us is to understand what we need, not what we can have and what should do.
I can work on my art for 14 hours a day without being tired. Of corse sometimes my back hurts but that is just normal, physical tiredness. It just flows and sometimes it is like the work is almost there already.
I start to ask myself why I connected with this material and why did I lose myself in this project? I have no idea if this is going to be successful. I have no idea if others like this form as I do… and is it good? I have no idea… The only thing I knew was that I wanted to do this. And after I had that thought, I realized that I do have something to say with this work. I am worried about the world, worried about how we live, and that we have so much waste…
I like to make things from nothing. When my senses observe something interesting, whether it is something I hold in my hands, sounds or words that I hear or something I see, my imagination flies.
And I started to paint the material and cut ….
I am grateful that I had a blank canvas for my imagination…
We decided that making some smaller pictures would work well with the other pieces in the exhibition. I had a specific vision for frames that would have to be crafted specially for the small pictures. I do not have the right tools for carpentry but I thought that I don’t like to have it perfect. I like to have this original and raw. So I decided to make them by myself…
One day one of my small artworks was in my living room and the sun was shining. When the sun shone on the artwork, it was magical how the shadow and the light were playing together. It created new shapes that was so interesting to look at, that I had to take some photos. From those pictures came the need play with my watercolors and explore the form through that medium.
I wanted to have three big pencil drawings… Realistic drawings take a long time but you get a good feeling for the form. I wanted to make smaller pictures, just with my feeling from the form… With coal you can work fast and free and after a long time drawing detailed pencil drawing, it is relaxing to change medium. I found it interesting to work with the form just from my head.
From the drawing with coal I found new form for the small work.
It is like everything goes in a circle. One idea forms another, going forward and back and forward again… From a small idea it has grown and I am really in love with this project
I have found that a round spiral form often appears in my work and lately I have been working with and been inspired by Mandala symbols.
In Iceland we have traditional round bread that is made for Christmas, that we decorate with carvings made with a knife. I drew inspiration both from the form of the bread and the technique of cutting and folding the decorations.
I decided to use a little bit of gold paint to symbolise the light… Round form is for me the life, the hour, the day, the year…
I like to think of life like the growth rings of trees, we start in the middle and as time passes, we collect information and experiences that we can use to grow and learn from an collect more information and new experiences, adding new layers to ourselves, adding growth rings.
It was hard work about 7000 cut round with scissors, scratches, staple, painting and so on, but I did enjoy every minutes of it.
And I managed to finish for the opening. And we got many visitors on the opening night. I am grateful for this opportunity…….Thanks Sonja Fabian…. Thanks Stadtmuseum ……Thanks Hall in Tirol.
And my favorite talented musicians Flo Ryan and Kenneth Gasser made the event perfect ….