Sep 27, 2010

In Kjell Varvin’s installations, drawings and sculptures, geometry and anarchy combine to take on an astonishing life of their own: the compositions grow out of the wall, or into it, it’s hard to tell. The components, some two-dimensional drawings and some built in three dimensions, consist mostly of clear, straight lines. But this alone is no guarantee of stability. Varvin loves to push architectural structure and logic to absurd lenghths. In spite of his evident respect for and affinity with the heroes of constructive and concrete abstraction, he makes them quake on their pedestals. Instead of the unapproachable aura of the classics, his constructions always come across a little like amateur experiments that anyone could try out for themselves in the garden shed. This gives them a positively democratic and slightly self-ironic tone. His “drawinstalls” are thus not so close to the great purists of modernism as to the balancing act with everyday objects in Fischli & Weiss’s Quiet Afternoon (1984). In both cases, viewers involuntarily hold their breaths: one move too many and the planned order dissolves into a chaos of worthless material.
Susanne Altmann, curator of “Lines On The Move”, The Drawing Biennial of Norway 2010

I have been doing my series of UNSTABLE VARIABLES installations for some time now. I realized that the best way to get to understand something about space, structures and temporality was to practice it as often as possible. And why did I think all this is important? As an individual you are a part of something huge, enormously large and complicated. Not only that you have your own psyche to keep in order, but also your body is moving about and changing directions and positions all the time, even when you are sick in bed. There are all the little movements, the ticking of your heart, your eyes moving, small unconscious finger-reactions, even your ears move at a sudden sound. Well, all is moving, all is changing. But where are you? What is your position? I mean; everything on the globe can be located by trigonometry. Sailors used a sextant and the positions of the sun and stars to navigate; they knew their position and could measure the time it would take to cross over to the next harbour, depending on winds and waves. How much are we as moderns aware of our position without using a GPS? What does space mean to us? Look closely at a portrait by Giacometti; be aware of the distance from the nose tip to the eye! It becomes an enormous stretch. He really knew something about space.
There are some places on earth where the space feeling becomes extra strong. The Pantheon in Rome is one. A marble quarry in Carrara, Las Cañadas de Tenerife, Grand Canyon, to mention a few. And my own studio!
Yes, this is a place on earth where I can manipulate and experience space, structure and temporality, and it gives me a good feeling of reality.

bits of waste marble collected at Pietrasanta, Italy, along with waste bits of steel from the smith's workshop at Gallifa, Cataluña, Spain

Sep 26, 2010

We are constantly looking for points of orientation. We hate to get lost! My method consists of manipulating lines and forms. By so doing, I hope to come to a certain understanding of Reality. I may be lucky enough to arrive at a kind of intuitive knowledge, derived from selected observations and accumulated over so many years that some connections are eventually bound to break through.