Interview by Sara Arvidsson
In connection to the show Notes on Things of Great Importance
Nextart Gallery, Gothenburg
13th Oct - 4th Nov 2012

SA: Nature is a recurrent theme in your work. What sort of relationship do you have with nature – is it unproblematic or is it a fearful and ambiguous one?

LFC: I do not see nature as a theme in my practise, but more as a tool I can use to investigate questions of meaning and fragility. Having grown up in the countryside my relationship to nature is fundamentally connected to a feeling of home. For me nature is evident; is not something that is in opposition to something urban or civilized, it is simply there. The world. When that is said nature, to me, also represents feelings of loss, longing and uncertainty and is thereby something I have an ambivalent relationship to. This might be the reason for nature having such a presence in my work.

SA: Would you describe your art as romantic?

LFC: In the sense that Romanticism in some aspects deals with an individual search for meaning in a world where meaning is not given, my work can certainly be seen as Romantic. I am very interested in the search for understanding and meaning that seems to be a deeply rooted human drive.

SA: Nature seems to be a popular subject in art right now. Have you had any thoughts about this, and if yes – what do they look like?

LFC: Artists have always dealt – and worked with nature, but it might be true that there has been an increase in nature-related work over recent years. I have previously not really considered this fact. Maybe because I find it quite natural that nature is present in contemporary art. I think that because the technologies, we surround ourselves with, have developed much faster than our brains, we are often stressed and feel detached and alienated towards the lives we live. I have read quite a lot of research dealing with nature’s healing and calming affect on people. I think that nature is somehow connected to something meaningful and is therefore a great tool to talk about meaning. This might be one of the reasons why artists increasingly deal with nature.

SA: In your work photographs get mixed up with objects. You pull branches and leaves out of the photographs and place them in new, three-dimensional formations. What happens in these encounters and why haven’t you decided to work with either photography or sculpture/installations?

LFC: I am not sure I can explain what happens in the space between the photographs and the objects/installations. But something happens. I see my work as examinations of different issues of creation of meaning. To approach these quite abstract issues I have in recent years felt the need to step outside the two-dimensionality of the photographs; to use more examination-methods to get closer to the subject. I think somehow the objects and the photographs are doing the same thing in different ways.

SA: What inspires you?

LFC: Literature inspires me. And books as objects. Conversations with people. Random research I come across. Exhibitions. Thoughts of material. The gap between two images. Maybe nature.

SA: You’re interested in the manifestations and acts that come out of the search for meaning. Are you never tempted to reach a target; to find a final answer? Is it possible? And what would happen in this case?

LFC: I do not think there is a definitive answer. So luckily the search can continue.

SA: What are you exhibiting at Nextart Gallery?

LFC: The exhibition consists of photographs and small resin sculptures on podiums. The photographs deal with the idea of support and fragility, signs and action and corresponds with the cubes of resin holding semi-cast twigs and paper.

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Interview by Kirstine Autzen
Kunsten.nu 8th May 2012
(In Danish)

Taktile tegn og fotograferede handlinger

8. maj. 2012 [Interview] Den danske billedkunstner Lotte Fløe Christensen har et mellemværende med grene, planter og sten. Men det handler faktisk ikke om naturen, siger hun. Netop nu udstiller hun i Göteborg og Stockholm som en del af sin afgang på masteruddannelsen fra Högskolan för fotografi i Göteborg.

Af Kirstine Autzen

I montrer midt i rummet ligger fotografier af papir, hvorpå der ubehændigt er klæbet blade på – med klisterbånd. Op af væggen står lænet en stor gren, og hvor spidsen rammer den hvide kube, bøjer et stort ark papir sig ud fra væggen.

Udstillingen ’Node’ undersøger, hvordan ting får betydning, som taktile objekter, som tegn og som handlinger.

Natur – kultur
Du placerer ofte dig selv i naturen eller isolerer naturobjekter i et renset (kunst)rum. Hvad betyder de to modsatrettede bevægelser? At kaste sig selv ind i naturen og omvendt trække dele af naturrummet ind i kunstrummet?

Det handler ikke om modsætningen mellem natur og kultur, men om en modstand, en ambivalens. En kamp, hvor jeg er med og imod på samme tid. Om kontrol og mangel på kontrol. Det er som en påstand om, eller en accept af, at der ikke er nogen grænse mellem mig og verden. Det er en indre kamp. Jeg er ikke interesseret i naturen som sådan, men bruger den som et redskab til at tale om modstand og mening.

Objekt og handling
Titlen på dit projekt 'Node' sammenfatter vidt forskellige betydninger; både punktet som et krydsfelt og som et udspringssted for vækst. I værkerne krydser naturobjekter, skulptur, krop og fotografi hinanden igen og igen med et performativt udgangspunkt. En stor gren, som holder et stykke papir fast mod væggen, og blade, tapet fast på papir og affotograferet. Hvordan ser du forholdet mellem billede, handling og objekt i dette projekt?

Det var vigtigt at trække flere af værkerne væk fra at være objekter og i stedet gøre dem til billeder. Objekter kan ofte, med deres stoflighed og rumlige kvaliteter, fylde for meget i oplevelsen. De tager for meget opmærksomhed. Jeg vil bag om objektet og vise tankerne bag tingen. I Sculpture Document var jeg i udstillingsrummet ikke interesseret i skulpturen som noget, jeg kunne gå rundt om. Det var et vigtigt værk at lave i værkstedet pga. handlingen og processen; det var det at gøre, jeg var interesseret i.

Værket A Sheet of Paper Supported by a Stick Leaning Against the Wall er dog ikke blevet et fotografi. Fotografiets fastfrysning ville have ødelagt muligheden for at tale om et punkt i rummet. Punktet måtte være fysisk tilstede.


Før værket

Hvilken betydning har de handlinger, som ligger forud for billederne?

Jeg er primært interesseret i de handlinger og forsøg, der ligger forud for værket. Der er en udveksling mellem værker og proces. Mine værker er delelementer i en større undersøgelse, der beskæftiger sig med meningsdannelse eller nogle gange manglen på samme. Det at handle, forsøge og konstruere ser jeg som meningsbærende. Fotografiets rolle i værkerne er at pege på handling, snarere end på objektet i sig selv. For mig har fotografiet en evne til at vise det, der befinder sig bag objektet. Nogle gange ændrer et værk sig undervejs fra at være objekt til at blive et fotografi. Og et fotografi kan blive et slags objekt, når det kommer på udstilling.

Da jeg så billederne, kom jeg til at tænke på performanceværker om handling, krop og dokumentation. Jeg tænker på værker af Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman og Charles Ray. Hvordan forholder du dig til det?

Uden at være bevidst influeret af dem, ser jeg selv tydelige referencer. Naumans Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square dukkede faktisk op i en samtale omkring Sculpture Document. Det performative har altid været en del af min praksis med fotografiet som en dokumenterende funktion. Og kroppen er meget tydelig i værkerne, fordi fotografiet peger tilbage på krop og handling i rum.

Hvad skal du arbejde videre med nu?
En udstilling er for mig ikke afslutningen på et arbejde, og jeg kommer til at arbejde videre med mine undersøgelser af skrøbelighed og meningsdannelse. Det er muligt at undersøgelserne antager nye former, men min fornemmelse er, at de på en eller anden måde stadig vil befinde sig et sted mellem handling, objekt og billede.

Kirstine Autzen

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Text by Simen Helsvig for the publication

Lotte Fløe Christensen (I.(P.)#6)
ISBN 978-87-994373-4-4
by Vandret

One of Dürer’s watercolours, the aptly titled ”Large Turf”, depicts precisely that: three youthful dandelions stretching out from a modest patch of jade-couloured grass and weeds, behind which lies the infinite nothing of the paper slightly dyed by the passing five centuries. The motif could not possibly be less significant, and yet it is one of the painter’s most memorable works.

Dürer’s ”Turf” brings to mind the peculiar nature of botanical classification and the insurmountable distance between species and specimen. The particular, the ”eternal stumbling block of thinking”, had long been a philosophical problem when medieval scholars, who had enough time to ponder these questions, came up with the term haeccitas, the ”thisness” of a thing, as opposed to its quidditas, the ”whatness”. The ”what” of taxonomy, the breaking down into common characteristics, – the shape of leaves, the colour of petals – is scientific generalization, and as such it strives for an everywhere, which is essentially a nowhere. But the illustrated example, no matter the blankness of a drawing’s background, no matter the nowhere of the herbarium’s white sheet, is always a ”this” and a ”here”.

The avid botanist Jean-Jacques Rousseau understood this. He considered botany the perfect accompaniment to his pastoral promenades. His herbarium was not the pastime of an amateur scientist, but merely the recollection – the re-collection – of pastures, woodlands and riversides once encountered. Each individual plant was a ”this”, a ”there” and a ”here”.

In the photograph (and isn’t the photographer also something of a collector?) there is a double haecceity, a twofold ”this”. There is the thisness of the depicted object and the thisness of the print.
The peculiarity of the photograph – which shouldn’t be less ghostly for us than for our ancestors – is that what we see in the print is an object or a person in the real world. And yet.
In this twofold of the photograph, in the very fluctuation between the states of ”this”, or perhaps: like an intangible crevice in the surface, there is something that binds the nowhere of thinking and the there of the world.

Simen Helsvig