Observation — Landscape as fragment: the inviting sculpture of Helena Andersson

Observation — Landscape as fragment: the inviting sculpture of Helena Andersson


David L Hume 2015

There is something very special about Helena Andersson's ceramic sculptures. At first they appear as fragments, deliberate in their form and contours, yet as if formed of random and violent motion. In this affect, they reflect well the artists engagement with nature and landscape — and indeed the pushing and pulling of the raw clay and intense heat of the kiln, none more so than Landskap 2013, a topographic model finished in flowing crystalline green, over blue a white, the veins of liquid green, stretching delta like to the torn ragged edge.

It is that ragged edge that speaks of the landscape tradition in art. Challenging the framing convention that accompanies most landscape representations, particularly in the two dimensional form. Sculpture possesses a much greater ability to represent landscape in the manner in which we engage with it beyond the gaze, that is as a fragment of much greater and interconnected whole.

Much of Andersson's work, especially contains a wonderful presence of what might be called the imaginative run on, that space beyond the work where the viewer is invited to inhabit the work, where the spirit of the artist and viewer may commune. She achieves the same in Landskap fran luften 2013, in which the same palette is utilised but with a different balance, and also in the seductive, bronze swirls of the shallow formed, second Landskap 2013.

In other works she attempts to present the sometimes violent and always random actions of nature that shape the landscape, such as The wind on the island II,2013, in which the erosive action is represented in a directional pattern pressed into the surface of a clay fragment, which is then set against a polished aluminium backing, that seems to work well to reflect the intense light of Scandinavia.

In their incompleteness these substantial sculptures work against any notion of ownership, achieved through a survey from a fixed viewpoint. In so doing doing they deny conventional engagements of prospect and refuge, or the framing of wilderness as contested commodity, like the pressured boundaries that isolate islands of nature from the remainder. Indeed, the ragged edges in these works may be understood as the torn edges along which wilderness and enculturated space is separated and, or a critique of a global society that requires such to protect and appreciate nature.