The Reserved and the Sky One Evening in October, Installation detail, 2003. Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen.
Perhaps another way to describe Bræin’s ingenious commentaries, reactions, and inversions of the main logic of any room is to say that the artist’s installations advocate the out-of-the-question. In the spirit of the impractical, they shed light on the impossible, the invisible, and the unspeakable, which contest the programmed organisation of the surrounding architecture.Bræin’s focus on materials that are non-representative or simply not recognisable as pieces of art, such as bits of domestic paraphernalia, manages to make the sculptures blur into the gallery space, to seem like both sculptural pockets and discomfiting, unkempt space.
One could call them post-formal interventions: Masking tape on partly painted walls, loose tiles, and decontextualised bits of furniture (a shelf, a handrail) are the ingredients for her spatial ensembles – ensembles that aren’t anchored in tectonic space but temporarily set-up, make-shift, ready to be moved again. While certain materials – carpet, masking tape, tiles – are recurring tropes in her work, Bræin continually finds fresh ingredients (often remnants of the installation’s own making). In Venice, for example, she placed on a shelf cardboard boxes, an empty water bottle, a little box with plastic bags, and the discarded packaging from cosmetics she had bought at the airport.
Although her compositions are always simple, even minimal, Bræin unhinges the clean and impersonal vocabulary of Minimalism with the coincidences of a private life. Her works are charged with the tensions between the understated and the bold, the restricted and the free, formal language and personal style.
(Excerpt from: Andrea Kroksnes, ‘Wall to Wall. Andrea Kroksnes on the art of Kristina Bræin’, in: Artforum International, March 2004.)
Kristina Bræin, born 1955 in Oslo (Norway).
05.08. – 21.08.2005
of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), Oslo.