On May 30th Kenneth Alme opens a solo exhibition at Bräuning Contemporary in Hamburg. KUNSTforum asked him some questions about his art and what inspires him.
Can you tell us about your current exhibition?
At the moment I am working on a solo show that will open at Bräuning Contemporary in Hamburg on May 30th. It will consist of new paintings and a couple of sculptures.
What is your next project?
My next projects are two shows in Oslo, one at Noplace and one at Grünerløkka Kunsthall, both will take place in late summer/fall.
How would you describe your work process from idea to work?
Usually a new series of work is a continuation or reaction to the former one, so it will have its starting point from there. Then there is a process where the work evolves from one thing to another. I work a lot with the materials that the painting consists of; cotton canvas and oil paint, and some printing techniques as well, so there is a lot of work in stretching the canvas on and off etc. For me an artwork is not conceived in the studio, but it is made there.
What are your main influences when creating a work of art?
Everything and nothing I would say. But the last year I have worked a lot with plants and trees as a theme, so nature influences me. Science and mythology also fascinates me. And I tend to be very picky with the selection of music when I work since this can also influence my work. But overall, when I am making the work I try not to get influenced by too much stuff.
Can you name an artist/artwork or exhibition that has inspired you?
Matthew Barney’s exhibition The Cremaster Cycle at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo still sticks to mind. I believe it was in 2003. The complexity and sheer amount of work was impressive. Another artwork that I have always liked, ever since childhood is Soria Moria Slott by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen. It is a painting that I still find interesting and look at from time to time. The same goes for Caspar David Friedrich The wanderer above the sea of fog, which is similar in many ways. Of contemporary artists I really like the work of Oscar Tuazon. Some artists put pieces and elements together and make it look obvious, and he is one of them.
Can you name a writer or book, fiction or theory that has inspired your works?
Arthur Conan Doyles books about Sherlock Holmes, Tom Wolfes Bonfire of the Vanities, and Köhlers Medizinal Pflansen, a botanical encyclopedia from 1899. The last one is the foundation of my series of paintings called how to recognize different trees from a distance quite far away.
Why is art important?
40 000 years ago someone thought that, for some reason, leaving their mark on a cave wall in Spain was important. In some way or another we have been doing it since.