Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ane Graff : International Guest Artist Interview

I found Ane Graff on VVORK and have been corresponding with the artist recently, discussing her show with Josefine Lyche called "Remake." I love the minimalist form and aesthetic of the current show - elements of which remind me of other great minimalists like Anne Truitt and the glass works of Gerhard Richter:

Gerhard Richter

There's a beautiful elegance to "Remake" (see below) - each object placement and surface treatment has been taken into consideration. Some objects are transparent, others are semi-transparent - they have even gone as far as to include the grid of the celing into their aesthetic. The artists also appear to be utlizing differences in gloss and matte surface treatments to further the subtle variety of the exhibition. The diagonal organization of the objects in the room gives movement to such stable and solid-looking forms. She's also working with some of my favorite colors (slate blue/gray). I would love to see the exhibition in person.

From the press release for Ane's most recent exhibition:

"In the skylight room at Kunstnerforbundet, Ane Graff and Josefine Lyche show their new project called 'Remake'. This project’s starting point was 'Fragments of Fear', an exhibition the duo showed at gallery 21:24 in 2003. 'Fragments of Fear' was made as an installation, consisting of wall paintings and sculpture. Nets and shadows were elements shown in an atmosphere of physical and metaphorical darkness. The works were held in a scale of black and white, the surfaces being both dead and glossy. “Remake” is, as the title implies, a remake of this exhibition. The new installation consists of monumental sculptures and the work shows evident references to minimalist art. The shapes from “Fragments of Fear” are no longer amorphous, but have found their 'gestalt'."

Installation view of “Fragments of Fear”

I asked Ane her thoughts on using multiple media, she wrote,

"After I graduated the Art Academy, I only worked with drawings to specialize and better my technique . After a while, I just wanted to feel free to express my ideas in other medias and not be limited by only one media. This was a process, but I wanted to extend my work and express myself in a wider range. An inspiration for this was Rosalid Krauss` text "Sculpture in the Expanded Field" from 1979 [pdf here]. I felt there were possibilities and issues in my work that weren`t properly adressed solely by working with pencil on paper. I wanted to work with scale, abstraction, and structure in other medias.

One critic here in Norway wrote that my sculptures and photographies are a clear part of my drawing practice. I was very happy about that, because that is the way I feel too. I feel I am working with 'drawing in an expanded field'."

Tell me about how your art career has evolved...

"I graduated in 2004 from the Art Academy in Bergen, Norway. I was working solely with drawings then. Luckily for me, drawings were having a great revival in Europe and I was one of very few young artists who had specialized in this technique here in Norway. In school, I was always told to work with photography, video or new media, and I was very much on my own working with drawings. I guess maybe I was the nerdy girl in a world filled with new media-people! It just goes to show that you should always do what you believe.

I was picked up by the gallery STANDARD (Oslo) right after school because they saw a market for drawings in Europe. This was a great opportunity for me. I was completely clueless as how the business worked and being in a gallery has taught me so much. I would recommend it to others if they get the opportunity. My gallerist is very interested and gives me a great deal of freedom. He has encouraged the process which lead me to work with other medias as well, even though my sculptural works and installations does not generate as much money as the drawings.

Living as an artist in Norway is easier than abroad. We have a lot of government funding and I do have a 3 year working grant. From Dec 1 I will go to Berlin for a year, as I received a residency at Bethanien Kunstlerhaus.

I make sure I have a solo show every year, and at least 4-6 group shows. I have mostly shown my work in Norway, but I do participate in art fairs with STANDARD, such as NADA and Frieze. I guess for next year I will focus more on showing abroad."


Installation view: "Generation by Division or Separation I and II"

How has the landscape of Norway influenced your work?

"I grew up in the countryside, actually next to the Oslo Fjord. We had a large garden and I always spent lots of time there. So it must have influenced me somehow. I guess the Norwegian scenery is known for its neutral grey/ bluish hues and its serenity. The "soul" of the Norwegian people is said to be quite melancholic and reserved. So I guess that would describe a lot of the art as well. I think Scandinavian art in general is known for its simplicity, its neutral colour-scheme and its willingness to work in a theoretical manner. Ideas before expression, reserve before feeling."

What do you have coming up?

"I will be a resident at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin for a year."

Check out more of Ane's fascinating work here. Thanks to Ane Graf for taking some time to share with minutiae and the readers.

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