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I'm interested in the act of doing art.
The finished artwork isn't my main concern.
Both are equally important.

Artist Statement


I want my art to be intriguing or confusing rather than impressive and convincing. It is minimalist and tactile to create intimacy with the viewer, and though often political, its primary concern is the human condition.

My practice is at the intersection of painting and conceptual art. Working from ideas, the works are equally executed with a focus on materiality. They are not painted but ’cast’ in oak panels with a 5mm deep ridge using standard wall filler. I first build up a three-dimensional land­scape and then smooth it out. Protrusions are sanded away, and voids are filled. What remains is a two-­dimensional cross-section that describes its former depth. A graphic image where all gradients have been simplified into sharp edges. In this way, the works activate the typical painterly theme of pictorial depth versus material surface.

I use only two colours, white and grey. Cavities are activated the same way as in printmaking. The cracks that appear as it dries are accentuated, reminiscent of kintsugi, the Japanese technique of repairing ceramics with gold lacquer. They become a metaphor for time.  

Influenced by Richard Serra’s famous list of verbs, I apply my material using select methods such as Spread, Roll, and Press. Sometimes, I shape the filler before it dries. I call this compilation of works Res Ipsa, after the legal term res ipsa loquitur. Making art breaks the causal chain by expressing something new and unexpected. Art is committed, and the work is residue or evidence.
In my work, I allow for temporary and random processes. Participatory art is a substantial part of my practice, where I also utilise elements beyond my control by inviting the audience to shape my work under general directives.

My artistic project is fundamentally about the relationship between language and materiality. Every image is a semantic expression insofar as it can be transferred to different media. Still, it must be manifested in matter to communicate. This dialectic is also essential to the human perception of itself as a subject—a sentient individual capable of reflection and free choice. Becoming a subject is a linguistic process consolidated through bodily and physical actions.

My art also reflects my interest in political struggles about issues of distribution and equality, such as privilege, class and xenophobia.


Me talking about my work i relation to group exhibition "Tegning og tekst" at Tegnerforbundet, Oslo

Questions from Marion


For the occasion of the Affordable Art Fair in Stockholm, where I am invited to participate in the Singulart booth, Marion Sailhen asked me these questions to understand my work and to better promote it.


Could you explain your artistic process?

I usually get intuitive ideas for work in an entirely random manner. I then make a small sketch which I put on the wall of my studio. I have a lot of them there. For some time, I think about them and let the ideas grow, merge and change. At some point, I decide to produce one of these small sketches into real work. Creating the work often changes it from the original plan because of the qualities of the material I use. This change is something I usually welcome. I want the matter of the work to add something extra to it.


I start with one colour, white or grey and apply the next one after drying. When it dries, it often cracks up a bit, and I fill the cracks with different coloured filler to enhance them. Finally, I sand the whole work off. It is not until this last operation that I see how the piece looks. This process makes it very interesting to me. It's almost like developing an old black and white photograph. Or maybe like an archaeologist freeing the buried" image" from the topsoil.

Have you always worked with filler?

Not always, but for the last 17 years.

How did you discover this material? What can you express with it that you can't express with paint?
I was unsatisfied with how, when using regular paint, you cover the surface beneath and work with layers. I wanted everything to be equally visual in my paintings, so the different parts of the image fitted into each other like a jigsaw puzzle or intarsia. That way, I felt that the work could be genuinely two-dimensional and also as a physical object. So I started mixing different kinds of mediums in the paint to make it thicker and ended up using filler. After a while, I began to like how the filler cracked up when drying and thus showed an ageing process. It introduced both time and contingency into my work, which I loved — visual elements beyond my control.

As you are not properly using paint, do you define yourself as a painter or more as a sculptor/craftsman?

I am very much a painter. I'm interested in the fundamental problem of painting, which is the relation between depth and surface, which means the illusionary pictorial depth and the physical matter of the work. More profoundly, this equals the relationship between language and matter, how immaterial linguistic information always has to be manifested in the physical world to communicate. And also how that physical representation of the linguistic "idea" inevitably taints it and transforms it. There is less and more information in any language expression than the sender of the message intended. Be it a spoken word, a printed or painted image, or whatever media that is used.

But as I also put a lot of emphasis on the physical matter - my works are as much objects as images; this also relates to sculpture and craft, I guess.


Your work is mostly grey and white, do these colours (or lack of colours) represent something for you?
Not really. The point is that it is two different colours so that you can differentiate two surfaces from each other. It could have been other colours, but it is the natural colour of the two different kinds of filler I use, smooth and coarse. That said, I kind of like the sharpness of the whites, and I also like that the works are a bit low in contrast. Together with the dry, greyish brown of the oak wood, it gives a crisp, sober look. A bit Scandinavian, I think.

Is there some kind of hazard in your work, something provoked by the material/process itself more than by the hand of the artist?
Definitely. As I mentioned, I need there to be a contingency in my work. That there is something added that is beyond any cognitive or calculated process. But I also want the ideas behind the work to be somehow intuitive and incomprehensible to me. There has to be some risk involved that I don't entirely know what I'm doing. So there is something I can learn from doing them. It's a continuous investigation.

What do you like the most in your creative process?

I like that I don’t know how they will turn out when I start doing them and that it is a relatively fast process. I’m a bit impatient and couldn’t spend months on the same work. There has to be progress. I only use a few visual means in my work, so I enjoy how the different paintings can function together and bring new meanings when I combine them in exhibitions. Of course, making exhibitions and showing my work to the public is an essential motivation.

Would you define different periods in your work? If yes, which ones?

I graduated from school at the same time as I got children, and I did a lot of work dealing with family life for some years. I based these works on photographs. They were about documenting and the meaning of photos on a personal level. So this could be perceived as a first ”period”, I guess. By the time of my divorce, my images also disintegrated, and I started to do abstract striped works. I wanted to leave photos as a base for my work but still keep a sort of matrix or underlying system. You could call it a second period even if I didn’t produce so much during this time. Six years ago, I started to do work from scratch with no model or system, only a vague formal idea, investigating the visual possibilities in the properties of the filler. To focus even more on this, I stopped using pigments to colour the filler and began working only with grey and white. So this constitutes my third and current period, you might say.


You say you "primarily explore the theme of human alienation" could you tell me more about it?

I believe that because we as humans are self-conscious, we are always a bit detached from the reality of our situation. We observe and reflect more than engage. So we unconsciously and primordial feel alienated from both ourselves and our surroundings. This alienation creates a desire to transcend the boundaries of our subjectivity and "step out" of ourselves. That desire is the driving force behind almost all human endeavours.

Even though it may not be evident in any particular work, I think my understanding of this is the fundamental reason I do art in the first place. I investigate different angles of this dilemma, and perception is at the heart of it, and as painting to me primarily deals with that, I use it as a tool for this.

Where does your inspiration come from? Is there any topic/art movement/experience that inspires you?

As I’m as a person is interested in political issues and philosophical/psychological theories, I also find my biggest inspiration, or motivation, in this. In art, I think Informalism and artists like Antoni Tapies are very important to me right now. Also, movements like Arte Povera. When I started as an artist, I was very inspired by conceptual artists like Bruce Naumann, Sophie Calle and Sol Le Witt, among others.


Is there an artwork (painting/photograph/sculpture) that inspires(d) you the most?

I recently saw a video installation by Richard Mosse called Incoming in Copenhagen that was very powerful. I think I consume art, meaning it has to be fresh. I need to see art concerning the present. But as older encounters, I also had intense experiences with Henri Matisse Rosary Chapel in Vence and Picassos Guernica in Madrid.


If you could meet an artist from the past, who would it be?

I have not ever considered that. I don't think there is anyone in particular. I'm more interested in art than the artists, I believe.


If you have to describe your work in 3 words, which ones would it be?

Minimal, material and graphic.

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