Through the Woods opened at Stavanger Kunstmuseum March 6th. This is Marit Victoria Wulff Andreassens first museum exhibition. Encompassing a wide selection of older works, as well as new works, it is fair to call it a retrospective. KUNSTforum asked her some questions about her work and inspirations.
Can you tell us about your current exhibition?
– Through the Woods is my first solo museum exhibition. Retrospective sounds strange and a little bit scary, but I guess you could call it that. I am beginning to feel like a grown up. The exhibition presents a selection of what has been my project since I started drawing back in 2002: “To say something about something unsaid…,in a better way than before”. It includes close to a hundred pieces, framed drawings, large scale works, site spesific drawings, collages and a few paintings.
The press release states that your work deals with identity, gender and sexuality. Why are these topics important to you?
– I grew up with intelligent, hardworking women and men around me. I was newer pushed into a role, and for the most of my childhood everything felt open. I am a feminist, but I am also a product of a society that no longer exists. Both girls and boys are now told how to look and behave their sexes from an early age. I was not. I don’t believe in 100% feminine or masculine. I believe in potential and possibilities. And I think a lot of psychological pain could be avoided if open discussions about these topics became more common.
I find your drawings fascinating and enthralling, but also somewhat uncomfortable, probably due to the somewhat indefinable forms that may appear. How do you see your own work?
– In the process of making something, the feeling of ambivalence is a good sign. Uncomfortable is good. I find my work confronting in a silent way. Passive aggressive. There is a lot of beauty in it, even humour, but there is also a numb darkness present. White Metal.
How would you describe your work process from idea to finished result?
– My head keeps giving me pictures, or more correctly visions. This has been my way of processing experience for as long as I can remember. I spend a lot of time editing inside my head. In a way I’m always working. Sometimes I’m unable to finish ideas, because I’m not yet technically fit to do what I see inside. I keep a bank of unfinished ideas. After a year or two, I usually know how to make them work. To me, knowing when a work is finished and operative is all about feelings.
What are your main influences when drawing and creating a work of art?
– My interests are everything that has to do with the body, gender, psychology and sexuality. Everything I observe; the magic of everyday-life, nature, internet, watching a lot of films, music and books.
Can you name an artist, artwork or exhibition that has inspired you?
– The artist Swoon and her exhibition Submerged Motherlands at Brooklyn Museum last summer, and the recent installations of artist Per Kristian Nygård. Art that transforms the way you think and feel. The books of writer Sara Stridsberg, and all the Ingmar Bergmans films. Art that makes me go “OoooH..!”
I assume the preparations for this museum exhibition have been quite immersive. Do you have a next project in mind?
– I’m in the process of making new work for a future solo exhibition, but a group exhibition at Teckningsmuseet i Laholm, Sweden will be next stop.
Why is art important?
– Art at it’s best can open our minds to a greater understanding of ourselves and others .