Maria Wettergren presents the solo exhibition Sanctum by the pioneering textile artist, Gjertrud Hals (b. 1948, Norway). Over the past twenty years, Hals has visited and collected inspiration from “places marked by rites, myths or by significant events”, such as Varanasi, Mount Sinai, Kyoto, or the Forbidden City.
The souls of these places (anima locus) form the core of this exhibition, in which Hals shows her most recent works, made from various types of metal and fibers. Chosen for their intrinsic beauty, Hals composes with materials from recycling sites or objects found on the beach or on the roadside, such as the reddish copper wire of electrical cables, the ring-pulls of beer cans, a fragment from a clock, or a piece of plastic jewelry… The artist weaves, knits and hammers these so-called poor materials delicately like a goldsmith, transforming them into refined grids, vibrating sculptures, poetic dream-catchers. Through her delicate yet powerful works, this ‘artist-alchemist’ shares with us her personal wonder at metamorphosis, whether it is a material that she transfigures from waste into art, or a culture she elevates from low into high, all the while maintaining a trace of its original state.
Gjertrud Hals is considered as an important pioneer in the field of Scandinavian textile art. She has been one of the redefining figures by liberating textile art from the loom and displaying it in space as three-dimensional sculpture.
Born in 1948 on the island of Finnøya, her upbringing on this little island is profoundly anchored in her art, and her relationship to the region’s nature and culture is deep and complex. The Nordic mythology is a great source of inspiration to the artist, but it is her interest in feminism and women’s culture that draws her towards the new East European wave of women artists exploring the sculptural potential of textile, “fiber art”, such as Sheila Hicks, Claire Zesler et Magdalena Abakanowicz. Hals’ works have been acquired by private and public collections, such as Mobilier National / Les Gobelins, France; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo; American Craft Museum, New York; The Museum of Decorative Arts, Lausanne; and The Bellerive Museum, Zürich.