December 9, 2014

Unravelled

I passed the art gallery in the Culture House last week and looked at the latest exhibitions. There was one thing that stuck with me more than the others, and that was Kari Steihaug´s installation "Det rummet du s├Ąger vi inte har" (= the room you say we don´t have). She also exhibits part of an ongoing project called "De Ofullbordade" (= the uncompleted), which is a number of photos of unfinished textile craft projects that she has asked people to send to her, with a note on who, where, and why. She started it in 1998 and now has 150 unfinished objects in her collection. (I could certainly have contributed one or ten in the past, but I have come to the point where such objects are unravelled and re-designed or sent to a thrift shop.)

But it´s the installation is what really caught my eye, and my heart. She has taken a number of knitted objects and unravelled, knit together, positioned them in relation to each other, and has made this poignant weave of hand-made clothes and yarns that you would associate perhaps with your grandmother, mother or sister spending hours and hours making things for you and other loved ones. Yes, the materials invoke feelings of family, kinship, solicitude and love.

I also find myself reminded of the transience of the objects, their wearers, and the relationships that exist between them. Perhaps these days it doesn´t take much to remind me of death, to enjoy each day and make the most of it. And what of the title? "The room you say we don´t have"? Is it a call for hospitality? To "open our hearts", as the retiring leader of the conservative party (and our former Prime Minister) keep saying (regarding sheltering refugees from Syria and other places)? I´m not sure, but it is something to consider.

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