"Taking a line for a walk," is how the Swiss painter Paul
Klee described drawing. If anyone were to anthropomorphise Norwegian
artist Kristine Fornes' drawings for the sake of Klee's walk, then
my guess would be Whippets: elegant, swift and slightly mischievous.
Like sophisticated graffiti, Fornes brings alive a playful cast of
cartoon-like characters to populate a magical world.
Fornes "illustrates personal histories about people" drawn
from domestic life around her. She transfers her delicate sketches
from paper to silk or cotton, piecing together discrete elements and
embellishing selected passages with embroidery. Often the entire surface
is dyed or painted with colours the kitchen provides: coffee, fruit
juice or syrup. Suffused with child-like innocence, each walking line
captures the personality, mood and emotion of moments that may otherwise
litter the day unnoticed. While everyday situations are recorded,
so too are what Fornes explains as "characters carrying out shady
business, odd small scale-transactions and conspiracies." The
narratives that result may feel familiar, but they do not exist in
any storybook you have read before.
As though seeing through a child's eyes, Fornes gives us insight into
a humorously awkward world where make-believe and reality can combine.
Norwegian national costume, genealogy and parish-history books are
inspiration. So too are the life-style magazines that "show us
the way to live, how to sit, how to stand, how to hold a bag or a
fork, how to stand while you are using the vacuum cleaner." Collaged
together, they represent humorous, elegant sketches of a world only
partially our own.
Dr Jessica Hemmings
Centre for Visual & Cultural Studies
Edinburgh College of Art
Initially published in Bloom 18 Enchanted, Edelkoort Editions,