Serina Erfjord, Ragnhild Johansen, Sandra Vaka Olsen, Nina Torp
Curated by Gunhild Moe
Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger
Installations, videos, photos
At first glance this exhibition looks rather boring. Plywood plates leaned against the wall, a large blue glass plate hanging on the wall, a grainy picture of a beach, and video of a waterfall. But things are not what they seem. Every object contain a surprise. I like surprises.
In this fourth exhibition curated by Gunhild Moe four female artists present their quite diffent works. They all have in common a fascination for nature and natural materials. And they all seem to enjoy surprising the viewers.
Arcadia opening at Rogaland Kunstsenter
Ragnhild Johansen: Leaning 3-ply
On three locations plywood plates are leaned against the wall. They seem like perfectly ordinary plywood. But at second glance, the pattern of the wood seems rather extraordinary. It would truly be a sensation if plywood with this pattern were found in the material shop. The wood lines are dancing, blending into each other and on the whole acting quite unusual. With a close examination I see that the extraordinary pattern is painted onto the real plywood pattern, with such a skill that it looks very natural.
Ragnhild Johansen: Class A EUR-pallet
Ragnhild Johansen's fourth object is also about painting wood on wood, but in a different way. The reflection of the pallet is painted on the plywood piece it is standing on, like if the plywood has become a mirror.
Nina Torp: But outside, everything is immeasurable
A postcard shows some kind of restaurant interiour. The decorations are a nature scene in the indoor location. It seems like some scene from the old days. But seen through the adjoining mirror the scene seems to change character. The scene comes alive, it becomes three-dimensional, and drags you into it. You are drawn into the fairytale land of the postcard.
Nina Torp: Memoirs of A Tourist. Waterfall #1. Cascade de Barberin
In a dark room and on a pedestal videos of two different waterfalls are shown. But something seems to be unnatural about the movies. The water is moving, but the surroundings and the rocks in the river seems to be isolated from the water. In fact these are collages of video and photo, where the water is shot in one location and the surroundings in another. The location of the waterfall is where the water is not flowing anymore. The photo of the site would just show a dry waterfall. The video of running water is cut into the picture. She is bringing life back to the waterfall, even if it feels slightly unnatural.
Sandra Vaka Olsen: Pixel drops (Stromboli)
A print of a blurry scene, decorated with some colourful dots. This it what this seems like at first glance. This is actually a photo of a monitor showing a scene from the movie "Stromboli", and the dots are water drops that magnify the color units on the screen.
Sandra Vaka Olsen: Grain Picture Sand Place
The Italian island Stromboli is the motive of all Sandra Vaka Olsen's work in the exhibition. Her giant printout show a picture from a beach at real life Stromboli. The picture is coarse and grainy, like it had been shot with high ISO on a dark day. But this is also the grain structure of the sand. Here the grains of the sand have affected also the sky, the sea and the rock. All surroundings has got the sandy structure, just like all your clothes and things are filled with sand after a day on the beach.
Serina Erfjord: Headache
On a pedestal is a green lump of something undefinable. It seems like some jelly, slime or something else disgusting. But if you dare to look closer, there is a movement. The lump is silently, constantly trembling. The title is "headache", like it could be a visualisation of a headache, or it may give you a headache if you stare at it too long.
Serina Erfjord: Normal. Blue
A large, shiny blue plate is hanging on the wall. At first it seem like some giant glazed salad bowl. But the plate is moving, it is slowly turning. And looking closer, the surface on the plate is floating, the rotation keeps the liquid from dripping down to the floor.
This is an exhibition that I really enjoyed, because it was surprising and challenged me. The works fit well together, creating a whole of a collection of quite different works and expressions.
Some of the artworks have visible surprises, if you really look for it. This is the case for the works of Serina Erfjord and Ragnhild Johansen. Still, some viewers did not notice the surprise until it was pointed out. Other surprises are more subtle, and will pass unnoticed if you do not happen to get a guided tour in the exhibition. This is the case for the works of Nina Torp and Sandra Vaka Olsen. I believe this exhibition will not give its full potential without a guide. If you do not know how and why the waterfall videos are made, they will just seem like videos of waterfalls. Without knowing the connection to the movie "Stromboli", the works by Sandra Vaka Olsen will just seem like some coarse nature photos.