Mystery and dream / the self in constant resolution / the words and the colors / cries out who she is / deathly tired / lies ahead / explains / dismisses / elastic envelope / poetic documentation / the red paper like a knot on the wall / traces of clothing / its own orbit / open sculptures / a play / ritual / glittering and painful / a longing to understand
Swedish visual artist Astrid Svangren creates a total installation in Gammel Holtegaard’s meticulous architecture and symmetrically landscaped garden combining surprising materials in a decadent and sensuous dialogue with the body and its surroundings.
In Gammel Holtegaard’s Baroque architecture and garden Swedish artist Astrid Svangren (b. 1972) has created a total installation in her largest solo exhibition in Denmark to date. Svangren’s artwork at Gammel Holtegaard takes the form of a perpetually changing landscape. The materials cascade from the ceiling, landing on the floor as formations that bend and billow as if flowing in and out of the building.
The artist transforms Gammel Holtegaard into a vast, three-dimensional painting. Svangren dissolves the traditional painted canvas hanging on a wall, occupying and transforming the galleries and garden into a total installation – a painting we can step inside and be physically enveloped by.
Astrid Svangren combines natural elements such as dried flowers, feathers and wood with synthetic materials like plastic, tulle and cellophane in a swirling current. The materials are unassuming, but in Svangren’s art they merge in surprising ways to form expressive constellations where the sensory and poetic are in focus. A borderless terrain of colour, materials and form emerges, the transitory nature of which creates the sense of coming into being or being on the edge of disintegration.
An encounter with Svangren’s perfumed, insistent yet gossamer universe activates the senses and evokes memories. As reflected in the long, poetic title of her installation at Gammel Holtegaard, her works are never unequivocal. Svangren’s title represents yet another realm of association, creating a linguistic picture for the viewer to sense in the enclosing exhibition.
At first glance Svangren’s artwork is a stark contrast to Gammel Holtegaard’s symmetrical Baroque complex. Whilst her installation is as meticulous and elegant as the topiary in the Baroque parterre garden, it is also more raw, more random, and more transient. In the garden at Gammel Holtegaard, on the other hand, nothing has been left to chance. Spending the time it takes to let mind and body wander in and out of Svangren’s landscape can however, open the senses to the relationship between the Baroque and the work of the artist. Both are a cornucopia of sensual detail and decadence, yet both also demonstrate restraint and control. A fruitful interaction between the contemporary and the Baroque unfolds as they challenge and enrich each other across centuries of history and aesthetic styles.
About the Artist
Astrid Svangren (b. 1972 in Gothenburg) lives and works in Copenhagen. She graduated from Malmö Art Academy in 1998, and has previously exhibited at Moderna Museet, Bonniers Konsthall, Nordic Watercolour Museum and KUNSTHALLE São Paulo. Svangren’s works are represented in numerous major collections in Scandinavia, including SMK (National Gallery of Denmark), Moderna Museet, the Danish Arts Foundation, and the New Carlsberg Foundation. In 2014 Svangren was awarded the Danish Arts Foundation’s three-year working grant. Her solo exhibition In original violet / influenced transparent / feeling emerald / affected by honey yellow / worker bee / under influence of chestnut red / singing pastel dust at Christian Andersen’s gallery in 2017 also received an award from the Danish Art Council.
Curated by Marie Oxholm Zigler