2 February, Ane Graff opened an exhibition at Sørlandets Kunstmuseum. KUNSTforum asked her some questions about her art and what inspires her.
What are you currently working on?
On February 2., my solo exhibition ‘Your Groundwater’, opened at Sørlandets Kunstmuseum. Currently I am working on a group of new sculptures for Erlend Hammer’s part of the 7th Momentum biennale, which is opened on June 22.
Can you describe your work process from idea to work?
I usually spend a considerable amount of time doing research and clarifying my intentions when it comes to what the work is about etc. But once that’s clear to me, I work very intuitively and process-based. To me, it feels like having a solid structure within on which I can improvise. I enjoy working freely and to discover what happens throughout the process of making an art piece. I’m very ‘hands-on’, and my working process is quite messy. At the moment, my studio looks like a flooded old textile factory. There is textile color, ink, paint, and fabric everywhere, dripping wet or drying next to the gas oven (sometimes even catching fire). I usually look like I’ve been dipped in paint when the working day is over.
What are your main influences when creating a work of art?
My main influences have obviously changed in time, as far as my production has taken a turn from drawing to sculptures to painting and textile work (and back again). My thematic interests in materiality and decay have stayed the same, albeit with a more personal tone, but my visual influences change regularly. Right now I am head-over-heels infatuated with abstract expressionist painters such as Mark Rothko and Ad Reinhardt, and I adore how artists like Thea Djordjadze works with space. How to work a space is incredibly important to me.
Can you name an artist/artwork or exhibition that has inspired you?
Félix González-Torres has been a great inspiration because of the way he was able to combine a minimalist visual expression, personal pain, and a political stance in complex, interesting artworks that were very original in their time. My favorite artwork of his must be the very well known ‘Untitled’ (1991), where several billboards with a monochrome photograph of an unoccupied bed were placed around NY, made after the death of his long-time partner. This work hits me as silent, yet so loud.
Can you name a writer or book, fiction or theory that has inspired your works?
I am a fan of Samuel Beckett’s short texts. I never seem to be done with his poems or short texts, like ‘Imagination Dead Imagine’. ‘This text has such an abstract, dense quality to it, and it deals with issues such as death, the body, space, and more, in such an elegant and distinct way. Beckett’s pursuit of clarity within language is always a great inspiration.
Why is art important?
Art gives me the opportunity to express myself, reflect, and to connect with others. I wouldn’t have it any other way. For society, art is important because it provides a space where issues can be reflected upon in a deeper manner. Art is the outlet!
Ane Graff Your Groundwater can be seen at Sørlandets Kunstmuseum until 28 April.