Marie Lund “LEGUMES” at Holstebro Kunstmuseum, Holstebro
The artistic practice of Marie Lund (DK, b. 1976) is characterised by a refined sense of form and the use of materials, encompassing, inter alia, wood, soapstone, marble, travertine, cement and copper. Often, found objects are used, with a sometimes uncertain origin – such as portrait busts, which are hewed until their recognisable facial features completely disappear and they assume the character of fossilised silhouettes. It is characteristic of Lund that she processes the works in several stages and with different materials. This occurs in a slow revelation of the potential of the sculptural form.
On the one hand, Lund simplifies the forms to the point where all personal characteristics are erased from the sculpture. But only apparently – because through the incisions and the incorporation of, for example, imprints from items of clothing, there are at the same time indications of the traces of the body in the material. The works thereby also testify to remembrance and to life lived. This is emphasised by the occasional use of recognisable items from the domestic sphere, such as light bulbs, door handles and other utensils. The figurative and familiar world of objects may still be present, but it appears transformed and displaced.
Nonetheless, we experience that Marie Lund’s processing of these things is almost life-giving – that the exhibition space is quite simply populated by her artistic intercession. The alternation between the present and the absent, between the worked and the authentic form, belongs in any case to the great qualities of the artistic work.
The overall project could be described as a quest for the origin of sculpture and the whole form-shaping process. Besides referring to the contemporary culture of things, the works also incorporate style traits from earlier periods of art. Marie Lund’s works often have an exploratory character in their insistent emphasis on the fundamental issues of sculpture – particularly with regard to surface tension, the interplay between concave and convex, casting and working, gravity and lightness, abstraction and figuration, representation and materiality, and tradition and renewal.
The exhibition LEGUMES at Holstebro Kunstmuseum includes a number of new sculptures and object installations. At first sight, the works may be read as abstract, material-investigating volumes in space. But on closer inspection, we find figurative processing of previously-existing elements of nature; including mussel shells, scaled up to human body size. This type of work evokes connotations with shields or cases, while they are at the same time given a usage dimension, as a kind of container; just as when we form our hands into a cup to collect water and bring it up to the mouth to quench our thirst. In other words, Marie Lund’s sculptural art is an image of the overlays between the elementary forms of the body and nature.
The exhibition also includes a number of woven rugs, scarecrow-like mobiles made of reflecting CDs and corresponding mother-of-pearl-shining abalone shells, and a series of cement sculptures. The spatial expression of the works is thus expanded both horizontally and vertically. Through repetitions of motifs and transitional forms, the relationship between the bearer and the borne is at the same time reversed. For Marie Lund, in other words, the works are not autonomously placed on a traditional plinth. This means, in particular, that they present themselves in a way that is different to what we normally experience; less hierarchically, and with a more direct presence. They incorporate, in brief, the duration of the experience and the spatial surroundings as fundamental conditions.
LEGUMES occupies several areas in the building. As a whole, the exhibition relates directly to the architecture and collections of Holstebro Kunstmuseum, such as through a number of items from the studio archive of the sculptor Astrid Noack (1888-1954). The outdoor areas, where Lund has placed a selection of her own works, are also activated. During the exhibition period these will begin to decay, depending on the weather conditions.
The exhibition is also accompanied by this artist book, SCOUT, published by MIDI/Mousse Publishing in collaboration with Holstebro Kunstmuseum. The publication represents an independent approach to Lund’s artistic work, particularly emphasising the processual nature of the works by pointing back to an earlier exhibition in Merida, Mexico. Here, Lund installed a number of sculptures in an outdoor space, where they were left at the mercy of the tropical climate for the six months of the rainy season.
For the book, the artist and writer Jesper List Thomsen has contributed the text “Avoiding the Genius”, based on a group of sculptures of historical origin in Villa Giulia, Palermo. The text thus deals only indirectly with Marie Lund’s art, but via the extensive descriptions of the wandering of the gaze over the individual parts and lines of the sculptural bodies, we nonetheless acquire, indirectly, a greater understanding of this – and especially of the ways in which the focus on the individual body fragments initiates a sensory dialogue with the contemplating subject: a dialogue that extends over time, and in harmony with the surrounding space and other figurative forms. The text thereby also confirms the vitality and creative movement that is inherent in Marie Lund’s works.
Together, the exhibition, the staging of the art museum’s collections, and the accompanying publication unite different spaces and times. All of this contributes to the establishment of a relationship between inner and outer, nature and culture, and before and now, at an overall level.
at Holstebro Kunstmuseum, Holstebro
until 24 September 2017