The project is a continuation of Visita. The theme revolves around change through time and the various phases of development and decline in the building material. Form and material are influenced by climatic conditions and coloured by the images of my memories. The motif has been inspired by old houses and barns in Nord Østerdal and old Norwegian building tradition.
MEMORY OF A RHYTHM, THE DREAM OF A FORM
It began with Cuba. A trip in exotic, luxuriant scenery. An island in the sun with a living culture, colourful, musical rhythms – and with a dark socio-political side to it.
The decay, the poverty, the despair were visible in buildings and houses in which people lived. It was the worn-out building masses, the absence of any maintenance and repair that caught my interest.
After my trip to Cuba, I have been busy on a project that has to do with houses (and that has developed in three phases, like a trilogy). The theme is form and expression in the everyday and familiar. I am fascinated by the beauty that exists in old, worn shells of buildings – form and physical condition after many years of use. In a larger perspective, this raises the question not only about the aesthetic aspect but also about ethical values in the much-used and long-lasting.
The house as form and motif has to do with human beings. A place for human existence. The house has been built by someone, for someone at a location that has significance for its users. This is a well-known object that everyone relates to. Gradually, the project has also come to involve different cultures, like some kind of travel account in various housing and building traditions in various parts of the world. The project began with Cuba and the series Visita, continued in Nord Østerdal with the series My sledge is loaded with… and will end in urban Paris.
The underlying idea of the project revolves around change through time and the various phases of development and decline in the building material. In the series My sledge is loaded with… it is the transformation of wood from an organic tree to a building material as a defence and protection for humans and animals, until it eventually decays and enters into a symbiosis with nature. The motif has been inspired by old houses and barns in Nord Østerdal, with input from childhood memories and love of the old Norwegian building tradition.
My sledge is loaded with… is a continuation of Visita. The theme of the series referred to the physical environment where people live, in various social and political relations on an island in the Caribbean. The intention was – and still is – to convey the aesthetics of the everyday, where weather and wind and lived lives have left their mark. Visita showed details of buildings, especially doors as a metaphor for humanity’s relation to the outside world: in communication with, or at a distance from other people. In My sledge is loaded with… the aesthetics of the old and worn is still important, but now the shell of the building and the form and rhythm of the house are more prominent. Form and material are influenced by climatic conditions and coloured by the images of my memories.
The title My sledge is loaded with… refers to the German artist Joseph Beuys and his work das Rudel/The Pack (1969). Meeting this work gave me an ‘aha!’ experience and contributed to my understanding of and interest in his work as an artist. It was Beuys’ power of thought, his sense of the soft material that caught my interest. Beuys worked with everyday or recycled material: the organic and naturally unstable. He was preoccupied by the energy which the material brought to the work.
All my works are of animal wool. Recirculation of old military woollen blankets provides a reference to the theme and motif. Use has been made of such diverse fabric printing techniques as dyeing, drawing and etching on wool and handsewing.
A DOOR THAT WANTS TO OPEN
Three poems to textiles by Runa Boger
HOUSE WITH TWO WINDOWS
Windows woven of light and wool call for
a look that does not go right through,
but stands stock-still like an alert deer
at the forest’s edge A window is a transition between
inside and outside, the critical moment when we can open
or close ourselves to the world. We can see, we can touch a house
that has woven itself into the woollen threads, rain and trees,
the groundsill sinks ever deeper into history. We can hear
the logs give and sag, and the colours fade, not keeping time,
a house does not march, it leans against yesterday
and becomes part of its surroundings while
relentlessly advancing towards the next day,
in camouflage colours, blotchy, plagued by wind and weather,
and far too strong sunlight. Bright windows tell a story,
not because we look in and out, but because we seem to grasp
the material and the senses of which memory is made.
We take a step backwards and see a form
of walls, eaves, angles,
surfaces rise up illogically to the eye,
lines disappear in an old point of departure
it lies in the nature of a look to call this
a house even though it lacks doors and windows,
and the colours slough their skin as they turn the corner.
So we must follow the thread that links the touch
to the wall, the bright colours that intercept
the shady sides, and the blue background
with the finger imprints. It is us who will have to invent
the scythe hanging on a nail way up on the wall,
the brown jug and ladle inside on the kitchen unit,
or the milk pail on the doorstep. The story is
a collector of bloodstained blankets abandoned
on the field of battle, a recycler of the colours of the
last sunset, a narrator who shows us that what we were
in the process of forgetting. Even in an enclosed space there is
something that calls for our presence.
HOUSE WITH DOOR
And sooner or later we arrive
at a house between light-green and mourning-green
edges, a door with violet dreams, and if we
unthinkingly grope with a hand behind the gableboard
to find a key, we will discover that on the gable are
pictures of soldiers, parachutists and bomber planes.
Dark ornaments that approach menacingly
with nervous counted steps, a house cannot age without
clashing with the forces that replace the peace
in the framework and roofbeams, a house never turns
with the wind. Here someone has sought refuge from the murderer’s shower of bullets,
here someone has experienced moments of happiness in sun-drenched darkness,
and we stand on the threshold of a new insight,
not because we have found the key, which could just as well
be on the inside of the lock, or woven into
the attempt by the maker of the picture to hold on to something. It is
the ornaments that are the key to the narrative
we are to listen to, of swords that are turned into ploughshares,
bullets melted down and made into candlesticks and the soldier’s blanket
rewoven into a door that opens
when we have looked long enough.
Kunstbanken Hedmark art centre, Hamar (2012) Lørenskog art union (2013)