några försök att förlänga livet

Mitt examensarbete. En serie objekt påminnande om halsband, alla mer eller mindre trasiga – jag har försökt laga alla, på olika sätt. De huvudsakliga materialen är trä, porslin och tvål. Nedan ett sammandrag av min uppsats och tankar kring projektet, saxat från klimt02 – selected graduates 2015.// My thesis work. A series of object reminiscent of necklaces, all more or less broken – I’ve tried to mend them all, in different ways. Main materials are wood, porcelain and soap. Below a short abstract of my thesis, taken from klimt02 – selected graduates 2015.

Attempts to extend life
When watching life and humans, I have usually seen sweet, sad and silly. These days I’ve been seeing a lot of fragile, too. We break, bodies break, lives break. I have now tried to fix these poor parts, putting the broken pieces together. I have made a series of pieces reminiscent of necklaces, mainly made of porcelain, wood and soap. Each object was broken, by chance or by force, after which attempts to mend the broken items were performed with a range of different materials and techniques.

The aim of the work was to awaken the thought and feeling that someone has tried to take care of these necklaces. Sometimes in panic, sometimes with care, sometimes in really stupid and clumsy ways and sometimes neat and long-lasting. I wish that the viewer would feel a bit sad for my objects, while at the same time maybe smile a little from the most naive attempts.

I chose to work with porcelain, wood and soap, since they are all materials we touch every day. They are close to us and we know what they feel like. They are kind, familiar and helpful materials: the soap is made to take care of your hygiene and health, the wood we can rest our bodies on and the porcelain contains our food. For me, these three materials also build up the body: the porcelain reminds me of brittle bones, the soap is like fat and the wood like strong and stretchy muscles.
What does fragile mean? What makes something or someone seem fragile? How does it feel when something break, and what does it mean to mend something? These questions are central in my work, as are the concepts of empathy and care-taking. In the written part of my thesis, I also handled the concepts of passive interaction and the memory of the body. These themes are somehow connecting this work and my previous works that often have been interactive or social. I still think of interaction, but now let it happen inside the viewer, passively. What happens there is depending on the person’s physical memory, the memory of his/her body.

Fragility is the thought of, fear of and possibility that something would break. When something breaks it hurts, and the happening can never be reversed. It can of course also come with a feeling of relief, as there’s no going back. No more need of tension or fear – it’s already broken.

When something has broken we often try to mend it. We want it to be functional for some more time, the person to live a bit longer. Mending means the intention to extend the life of the broken. Something mended is something changed. It has hopefully gotten its’ original function back, but it has also been marked with a care-taking stamp in shape of a mending. It’s different, emotionally or physically. However tight, neat or even invisible the fixing point, there is always a memory of the breaking, a reminder that you are not unbreakable.

The body of work by Annie Wahlén invites you to take a closer look on pieces that form a delicate collection. A group of similar, friendly forms joined together offers a trace of familiarity and closeness. These sensitive pieces of art were created with an awareness of vulnerability, but also a way to deal with the issue of fragility was found during the process. From slightly funny to a bit of sad and serious, these necklaces offer it all with a strong touch of humanity. / Jenni Sokura, lecturer Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Culture June 2015