Here I will try and give you an insight into my various projects through the years, as well as my thoughts and methods
Things that have happened or are around the bend
My projects tend to overlap each other and take great lengths of time. So here goes..
I got tired of everything being applied on to the outside of glass, decoration, handles, coloured applications etc. and wanted to investigate and focus on the inner room, the inside. In the mid '70s when still a student, I felt a strong connection with the works of british sculptress Barbara Hepworth and even the then unknown Barbro Bäckström. I think this probably explains my use of straight lines to create a curved surface or at least the impression of one. I liked the play of one line over another and the way they changed according to the angle from which they were seen. The motives used were nearly always very personal and given the right code (which I didn't offer) could be read almost like the events in a diary. They were a kind of secret therapy. I was very happy with the results even if they took ages to fathom out and finalise. I haven't made a thread piece since the beginning of the '90s but I have not abandoned them, other things got in the way... they'll be back
- Just as in the '70s with Barbara Hepworth and sculpture, so it was in the early '90s that I got emotionally overwhelmed by the works of Mark Rothko, I just stood there at the Tate and was hit by a bolt of lightning. Normally I'm the type that wants an explanation fot everything; the hows, the whys, the whens, you know a bit of a nerd. Not this time though, no way José, the dialogue and interaction between the colours just hit me. When I caught my breath a fair while later I couldn't get the concept of "the power of colour" out of my mind. If it affected me, then it most certainly touched others. I wanted in. Hmm how should I go about it? I felt really frustrated since the methods of colouring glass gave a result that was way too crude and unsophisticated. Get me right, they have fantastic qualities, but not the right ones. In my search for the right expression, I tried my hand at painting, a medium that has always scared me (because I wasn't any good at Art school). I had seen some of Peter Fries paintings and even here felt atune with his expression through colour. Since he lives in the same town I paid him a visit in my desperation, and he very graciously tried to help me by setting me down in front of paper and paint. Even if the result was okayish, it would still take too long to express myself satisfactorily, so it was just to retreat back my the glass studio. I was now intent on creating a technique that could do justice to my idea of "the power of colour ". What seemed like a straightforward idea has taken me 20 years, so far. It has required inventing or modifying a number of techniques. An example of this can be seen in my own "Graal-alla prima" technique, which I have developed in order to give a dynamic watercolour-like feel to the glass.
The "Graal" technique existed already and is commonly used to create layer upon layer of coloured glass, which, once cooled can be cut or engraved in order to build up patterns in different colours. The result nowadays, I feel, is often lacking in emotion and although it is precise, often feels dead.
The "alla prima" part comes from the painting world and refers to a painting that is finished in one sitting without being allowed to dry in between. In my case, the coloured layers of glass are painstakingly applied and manipulated while they are still hot and fluid. It is decidedly more risky but when successful results in a piece that is alive and dynamic.
- One of the main reasons the colour project was so important was that it would give me the necessary tools with which to express my new line of thought based on observations (echoes) from the desert. I was born in Kenya and spent a lot of my childhood years in tropical countries, something that had now called my attention. I set out with the idea documenting the adventures of scuba diving in the Red Sea. The clear water would be like swimming in glass and the corals and multi-coloured fish were to be the decoration. This was realatively easy to portray in glass but on returning to a grey, bleak Sweden I felt that a lot of the idea had been lost. I have still used the experience to create a number of pieces, especially those base on shells or spanish dancers.
However, it was the desert that called. There was something in this awe-inspiring place that beckoned to be retold with my words, through my eyes. How, for example, this beautiful place could be so treacherous, it was a paradox and I was challenged. Sometimes it is the simpest things that bewitch you, the enigma of the hot desert lead me in 2000, to apply (and consequently be accepted) to go on The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat's (Polarforskningssekreteriatets) exhibition to the North Pole and the Arctic. This was an incredible experience and one which still to this day adds a depth and complexity to my life and cosequently my work.
This is about the duality/complexity of things, the inside and the outside. Is what you see the same as what there is? When I look at an egg I might see a blue shell but know that the inhabitant could be of a different colour, and in fact of a different species than I might have presumed. We think we know so much about people and things but there is nearly always another side that is more interesting, given the chance. I have chosen to use the egg as a format and vessel for this thought. What happens when it hatches from its slumber. What happens when it encounters society or when its new environment starts to shape the hatchling? A rhetorical question indeed- and in fact one I asked myself wase; would Zlatan have been as good as say a stoke-broker if he'd been born into that class. Was it just his talent for football that made him what he is, or did his environment colour him?
Pods and Seeds
This is a continuation of the "Unborn Dreams" project. The focus though has moved from colour and surface to form and context. Again we think we know what we've got but can be surprised sometimes. (The idea came to me when one autumn I had ordered 900 tulip bulbs from Holland and stupidly in my fervour to get them planted, mixed them up in my Barbour's pockets. The following Spring was full of surprises)
18-27/4 Konstrundan NVSkåne
Sommar utställning Eldoluft
4-19/10 Kraften, Lomma
8-23/11 Saabs galleri, Linköping