Elements of Passion
The rooms on the second floor in Kunstnerforbundet
2015 WENCHE VOLLE
Ingunn Skogholt is one of our foremost textile artists with a significant position within the field of tapestry. In the rooms on the second floor of Kunstnerforbundet the artist is currently showing seven new tapestries executed in the last three years. The title Elements of Passion refers to a common point of departure in collages. The collages consist of details and fragments from earlier works and photos, together with clippings from magazines and newspapers. This tentative and experimental phase forms the thematic foundation for the woven works. The main objective is to create spatial depth in the surface, movement in the picture and a strong colour composition. This applies to the seven works currently on view in Kunstnerforbundet. A predominant feature is the colour blue and how the elements in the picture seem to actually hover in the room. Ingunn Skogholt’s works have obvious painterly qualities and reflect a number of painting styles in art history, such as abstract expressionism, cubism and surrealism. The artist indeed even views the yarn used in the weft as a canvas where everything is possible.
Ingunn Skogholt’s relationship to colour is of overriding importance: “That is why I weave. The yarn gives the colour an intensity I cannot manage to express in any other medium.” She uses a mixture of different yarn types, such as glossy synthetic thread, wool, linen thread and mercerized cotton yarn. The combination of the various materials contributes to the distinctive expression of the tapestries. Dyeing the yarn is an important part of the working process, and the choosing of colours provides inspiration to begin the work of weaving.
The weaving technique that Ingunn Skogholt employs is based on a very specific method. Her “loom” has a totally different design than the traditional upright loom, which is normally used in weaving tapestries. Ingunn Skogholt weaves on a vertical iron frame on wheels that can be positioned both vertically and horizontally. She works in an upward direction, beginning by sitting on a low stool and ending larger works by standing on a stool placed on top of a table, or occasionally on a ladder. In this way she can maintain a complete overview and control of the composition and colours, from start to finish.
“Weaving feels like constructing a picture. The materiality that the threads incrementally build up, the fact of holding everything in my hands produces a feeling of intimacy and yearning, as though the entire work has passed through me.” (Ingunn Skogholt)
Ingunn Skogholt was educated at the National College of Art and Design (today incorporated in the National Academy) in Oslo with a degree from the textile department. She has also studied in Czechoslovakia, France and England, where she sought out schools that focused on weaving as an artistic form of expression: The Art Academy in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, Atelie des Gobelins in Paris, Edinburgh College of Art, Tapestry Department and the Royal College of Art, Textile Department, where she earned a Master of Art degree in 1979. Ingunn Skogholt has had numerous exhibitions in Norway and abroad and is included in a number of public art collections. She has also executed prestigious public art commissions, among them in the R 5 Government Building in Oslo, the Oslo Courthouse, Sogn og Fjordane County Hospital and the Norwegian Air Force College, Stavern.
Translated by: Francesca M. Nichols
TWO POWERFUL WORKS
Ingunn Skogholt Fragile Energy I and II Soft Galleri
Ingunn Skogholt’s exhibition appears to be a noteworthy event on the Norwegian textile art scene. At the opening, the gallery was filled to the breaking point, and the queue continued into the street. Fragile Energy consists of two textile works in a monumental format.
17. November 2011 BARBRO ROSS VIALLATTE
The effect of Skogholt’s rectangular textile works against the wall is such that they become readable as visual art. Flawlessly woven in a one-dimensional process, it is not primarily the texture that first confronts the eye, but the pictures’ clear, strong colour schemes and the structuring of the foreground, middle ground and background. The compositions lead one to think of collages, symbols and constructions, so that one can perceive cubist references in Fragile Energy II, for example, while a lush organic topography characterises Fragile Energy I. In a conversation with Skogholt she verifies influences from Norwegian colourists, the British Painting School, and not least Kurt Schwitter’s outstanding collages.
Skogholt’s motifs are positioned somewhere between figuration and abstraction. They express no specific action. The artist nevertheless claims that she wishes to tell stories; she seeks meaning in movement, and strives to imbue the colours with light. The title Fragile Energy refers to a tenuous narrative idea that can easily be lost, a mental energy that gains sustenance from the artist’s desire for a clear, powerful colour scheme.
The colours achieve their intense expression through the meticulous combining of materials in wool, cotton, linen and synthetic fibres, depending on how sated or glossy the desired appearance shall be. Skogholt primarily dyes the yarn herself. The challenge is to attain continuity in the hand-coloured fibres, an extremely time-consuming process.
The play of colours cannot be too vague, in which case they would tell us nothing, but neither can they be too blatant, as this would cause the picture to be overly harsh.
Fragile Energy I
Fragile Energy I (265 cm x 210 cm) can be perceived as an abstract internal and external landscape. The universe is not static, but rather a dynamic collage-like presentation of something mystical and constant that is reminiscent of the symbols and rites of primitive cultures. The structuring of the motif alternates between austere—variations between stringent horizontal and vertical planes in an almost monochromatic black—and softer, polychromatic convex shapes, which undulate sensually through the picture. The contrast between the black and red is broken up by areas of luminous orange, with traces of lighter nuances. A prominent light grey and pink rectangle, like a window into a dream, frames shapes that represent animals in a flock, perhaps, and provides a soft clearing in the tapestry’s composition. The atmosphere is underscored by the tension in the colour composition. In order to achieve this effect, Ingunn Skogholt is a perfectionist when working with nuances in the yarn used for the weft, like a painter who mixes colours on the palette. This results in the fantastic array of shades that without a doubt can be perceived as the artist’s main project. It is this colour exuberance and feel for nuances that imbues the picture with a singular pulsating vitality.
Fragile Energy II
The slightly smaller Fragile Energy II (235 cm x 210 cm) has an idiom that is quite different from the first piece. The motif is more static, with references to neatly folded paper and architecture. The picture is vertically divided into three sections. Skogholt achieves this precise expression based on her own collages, which she enlarges with the help of a projector and a system of dots, and thus transfers them onto the warp of the loom. The artist then uses the original sketch (40 x 40 cm) as a guideline while she works.
The textile works are largely sewn together in sections, as with Gobelin tapestries, a technique that produces a more uniform appearance than traditional Norwegian tapestry. In the line that indicates a cut in Fragile Energy II, Skogholt has employed the notch technique, however, which underscores the structure of the white line, and the impression of torn paper. To the left in the picture we see a monumental red vertical section—an intensely warm colour. An orange zigzag marks the middle section, where a weightless black concave shape penetrates behind the torn edge of the white cut, while the vertical on the right depicts a landscape with an almost geological character. While Fragile Energy I
has an organic, rolling topography, Fragile Energy II is marked by perspective and various layers of depth that imbue the motif with an almost architectonic cubism. Like beacons in a dark ocean, dispersed with ovals that are reminiscent of rings in water, or can it be the eyes of Kittelsen’s water nymph?
A mon seul desir – that which is not worldly
Through her labour-intensive and slow medium, the artist captures the inner landscape one recognises from the world of the subconscious, or of myths. An encounter with her art provides aesthetic insight into the delicate convergence between the subjective dreamworld’s archetypes and symbols, and an acknowledgement of the physical world—in the form of figurative fragments. Thanks to Ingunn Skogholdt’s expertise, the beauty of the materials and the wealth of nuances create a synergy that is greater than the sum of its parts, imbuing the works with a vitality and depth that I became enormously captivated by.
Translated by: Francesca M. Nichols
Born 1952, Oslo
Royal College of Art, London 1977 – 1979
Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland 1975 – 1976
Art Academy, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia 1973 – 1974
Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Oslo 1969 – 1973
Awarded guaranteed income by the state for artists 1999
Remuneration Fund Stipend 1998
Ingrid Lindback Langaard Stipend 1997
The State Travel and Study Stipend 1993
Remuneration Fund Stipend 1992
The City of Oslo Culture Stipend 1990
Three-year working Stipend (The Norwegian State) 1988
The State Travel and Study Stipend 1983
BKH Stipend 1981
Establishing Stipend 1980
Royal College of Art Drawing Price, London 1979
The Foreign Dept. Scholarship Stipend, Czechoslovakia 1973
Eva Bull Holtes Museum, Åmotsdal (24.06 - 13.08) 2017
Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo 2015
Soft Gallery, Oslo 2011
Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo 2006
Gallery K, Skillebekk 1995
Craft Council Gallery, London 1987
Gallery K, Skillebekk 1984
Commissions - a selection
International Corporate Art A/S, Oslo 2012
Hapag-Lloyd International Corporate Art A/S, Oslo 2009
Royal Caribbean International “Independence of the Seas” 2007 - 2008
“Liberty of the Seas” 2006
Vindern nursing home 2001
Hamar Courthouse 2001
R 5 Government Building, Oslo 1998
Oslo Courthouse 1995
Sogn and Fjordane regional hospital 1993
The Royal Norwegian Air Force Collage, Stavern 1992
Vinmonopolet A/S 1988
Follo Police District 1988
Østfold County, Sarpsborg 1985
PIECES OF ENERGY
From the StatoilHydro art collection 2008
Art Textiles of the World SCANDINAVIA, Volume 2
Telos Art Publishing 2005
Ny norsk billedvev - et gjennombrudd
(New Norwegian Tapestry - a breakthrough) 1992
Group exhibitions - a selection
N.T.K Jubileumsutstilling Stavanger Kunsthall, Stavanger 2018
N.T.K Jubileumsutstilling Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo 2017
Trondheim Kunstmuseum 2010
Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo 2007
Art Textiles: Norway, Sofia/Bulgaria 2007
Riga/Latvia, Kaunas/Litauen 2006
“Den nordiske tråd”, Nykjøbing, Skjælland, Danmark 2001
Royal Scottish Academy, Skottland 1997
Nordiske Tekstilttriennale, Tournai 1997
Woven Image, Contemporary British Tapestry,
Barbican Centre, London 1992
N.T.K.`s Jubileumsutstilling: “Ny norsk billedvev” 1992
Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim 1992
Den 7 Tekstilttriennale Lodz Polen 1992
“Influential Europeans in British Craft & Design”
CC Gallery exhibition, London 1992
Norsk Tekstilkunst, Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum 1989
Tekstilttriennale, Kunstnernes Hus 1988
Skedsmo Kommune, Kjerulfsgate Omsorgsboliger 2018
The University of Oslo, Domus media 2014
Akershus county, 2013
Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum Trondheim 2011
National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design 2006
S. Stenersen`s Collection 1990, 1995, 2003
Telemobil, Oslo 1993
National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design 1992
Oslo Kommunes Art Collection 1982, 1987
Industribanken 1981, 1984
Kloster rederiet 1984
NRK, Oslo 1984
Sheraton Hotel (Rica) 1984
Ny Kunstformidling A/S 1984
Crafts Council, London 1981
Arts Council Norway 1979