This year’s summer exhibition at Kunsthall Trondheim presents drawings and sculptures by Norwegian artist Lotte Konow Lund. In her work, she confronts us with the stories of today’s collective experiences, what we can also call the political, and connects those stories with undercurrents, fragments and close-ups from the everyday that forms those experiences on a personal and individual level. Lotte Konow Lund’s art often involves a kind of dialogue between the artist and others, as in her on going work The Konow Lund Collection (2008 –) in which she has created her own art history, or Hommage à Dagny Tande Lid / Flower Exercises (2006) in which she honours the artist and her botanical drawings. Some works have also been created as a part of collective processes, as her series Why do I draw? Images from the Inside (2007 – 2017) that originates from projects at Bredtveit women’s prison.
In the workshops she organizes once a year at the prison, Lotte Konow Lund discusses questions with the inmates such as: What is love? What is power? What do you miss? A woman answers: “I miss to wash my own bathroom”. What is freedom? “Freedom is to hold my sleeping daughter”. Her works point to the common ground we share but also to the deep gaps that run through society.
In the drawing that has given its title to this exhibition two bodies lie on a beach. They are so still. Are they sunbathing or are they dead? We don’t really know and maybe we don’t really care. We deserve a sunny day on the beach. We are surrounded by grim news, everyday. We have developed an ability to turn it off. The media language and the media images are white noise that passes by.
What fade in the sun is us. Our capacity for feeling empathy, for seeing each other, for listening to the stories that are uncomfortable, that disturb our lives. This image disturbs us, it hurts.
Lotte Konow Lund’s drawings have a quality of directness and of something not quite finished, as if the hand has recently left the paper and is still close by. It gives the viewer a feeling of being part of an ongoing process. With the collection of diary notes, which is part of the exhibition, the artist allows us to come close not only to her working process but to her personal life as well. It’s a confidence given to us, like the beginning of a conversation.
In an interview in the magazine Kunstkritikk in 2016, Lotte Konow Lund comments on the book she has published with a selection from the diaries. She says that she wants the reader to almost feel too close, as if her body were somehow still connected to the images. The body is thus always present in her oeuvre. Sometimes it is at the very core of the work, as in the sculpture 66 minutes (2014), which she did together with her daughter after the terror attack on the Norwegian island Utøya in 2011. It’s a small shelter, which from the outside looks like a minimalist art work, but filled with all that is needed to keep a hiding child still and comfortable for 66 minutes, the amount of time that passed by before the police was able to stop the armed terrorist. As is often the case in Lotte Konow Lund’s work, contrasts meet in this work that expresses both violence and tenderness at the same time.
Sculpture, drawing and life blend together in the work Hold Everything Dear (2016). In this work drawings cover the complete surface of a table and a chair, ultimately taking on a three-dimensional form that grows out from the original objects into big lumps. Lotte Konow Lund says it’s an article of daily use – it is a coffee and working table, a chair to sit on as well as a drawing/sculpture with some almost bodily features. It embraces all.
Thanks to KORO – Public Art Norway, Buskerud and Vestfold’s Youth Center, Bredtveit prison, Halden prison, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and to the private collectors who has kindly lent their artworks to the exhibition.
Lotte Konow Lund (b. 1967) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. She studied fine art at the Oslo National Academy of Arts, where she currently is Professor at the Art and Crafts Department. Konow Lund founded and ran Galleri GI and has completed several extensive curator assignments. She is also known for her series of Artist Portraits in the weekly newspaper Morgenbladet in recent years. Working in a range of media, from drawing to video-performance, sculpture and text, she is investigating questions related to identity, gender, the artist’s role in society as well as power structures.