Kopenhagen’s Julie Damgaard Nielsen, MA in art history, interviewed Tina Maria Nielsen in connection with her exhibition named ”Sculpture” at Gentofte Main Library, 13th October 2001.
You named one of your earlier works ‘The world is open to us exactly as long as the language extends’. My experience is that the language may not be enough when confronted with your works, but the world does not close for the same reason. On the contrary the works contribute – in an almost sensuous way – to extend space around the spectator and make him / her perceive other dimensions. Could you explain to us your considerations as to theme, content and material related to this exhibition?
First of all it’s important to mention that with my work ‘without title (the world is open…)’ I specifically want to challenge the language phenomenon. I understand the art of sculpture as a special language in constant conflict with the spoken language.
About the work ‘without title (the world is open to us exactly as long as the language extends)’. I took three casts of an industrial container and piled them. The material is translucent polyester and emphasizes the container’s formal meaning of surface and inner space. On the inside a sentence will be found twisting down through the containers. From top to bottom. To be able to read the text one must circle the sculpture several times.
The complete sentence is only perceptible through your moving body’s circling around the sculpture, but new sentences arise from the angle in which spectator chooses to take. For example ‘the world is open to us exactly’ and ‘open the language’ The material itself opposes the sentence by its sensuality. In this artwork I strain to maintain the multiplicity of expression and language.
The sentence and the description of the work cover quite well the considerations circling in my mind during sculpturing. What is in fact ‘the reality’ and where are the limitations to our perception of it – also how one must involve the body when perceiving the language of the work of art. It’s about the inconsistent extent and dimensions that come right after all – or make a virtue of the necessity of not coming right. My works are all about differences and incompatible concrete dimensions as well as the sense of words.
As such this exhibition does not state a theme – and therefore no title either. The reason being that I was short of time and survey since I had an incident with the first planned artwork which tore apart the whole exhibition planning when it busted.
In spite of this all the ‘pieces of circumstance’ – at least to myself in the beginning – turned out to connect well. Just before the actual exhibition it occurs to me that the ‘process’ is the theme and that it reflects nicely in the artworks. The theme – so to speak – arose by itself during the course of time – and the theme became the concept of ‘process’.
The process of producing art is strange and without explanation – full of dodgings, self-deception, delusion, fascination, clear sight and comprehension without words. The lack of survey in the process and the necessary fight for control – to communicate – is the playing theme of the artwork ‘break a leg’.
Interesting here is the absurdity of the congratulations, the fear of committing hybris – if all goes well and surrender oneself to coincidence, to destiny. What happens if anything goes wrong? Is this a possible working angle? To attempt making the coincidences or the unpredictables constructive.
Even if you by your art ‘questioned the phenomenon of language’ – you let the phenomenon play a major role in the leaflets for ‘Layer 1’ and ‘Layer 2’ – For these pieces you and your partner – Rikke Ravn Sørensen – invited several art writers to wrestle with the concept of sculpture. How is that?
I think there is a big difference between theorizing over the concept of sculpture through theory and to theorize over the the concept through sculpturing. The writers use logic, grammar and wording which in no way would be able to embrace the same complexity of the object physically present. A work of art is always limited to being concrete and therein lies its strength. The text on the other hand is referring and leading away from the body. Rikke and I invited several writers to participate in ‘Layer 2’ because theory and thoughts are inspiring. Even if the texts were not about our work you could still find overlabs extending both ways of communicating. We intended furthermore the books to be of interest outside our exhibition.
You mention yourself the concept of size and dimension related to your work. When moving around your works at Gentofte Main Library I feel the known physical scaling eliminated. I find an element of recognition in the works ‘Cultivator’ leading my thoughts to a collection of hooks, and ‘Naked’ without doubt a door – but the works seem ‘out of scaling’. Do you work with a special intent behind these?
Not in this case. I used to work in a very concrete way with the art of scaling. This I did by minimizing and maximizing objects and thereby removing or manipulating the meanings. However, my works are to be understood as ratio 1:1. By the minor displacement of size in ‘Naked’ I want to intensify the relation between the viewer’s own body and the sculpture.
Which influence, if any, does the project you originally created for the ‘Traneudstilling’ have on exhibition now found here at Gentofte Main Library?
That’s difficult to answer. The first work was at first in a working sense quite extensive. The creative process was quite slow then. When the project literally crashed I changed my own criteria and decided to make my works more easy and faster to produce.
An idea for a piece of work may be squeezed out of old works, seem bad and strained but end up being a complete sculpture. In the same way a quick fancy may turn out some of the best you make. I don’t think there are right or wrong ways of producing art. Sometimes you can do it right away and at times it’s a long twisted road. I trust my own sense for the completion. All in all you find yourself starting in the middle of nowhere every time.
Apart from process themes I also see what I in the lack of better words call marine theme – especially in the works ‘Cultivator’ and ‘Without Title’. A theme one would also find in your work ‘Somewhere between Form and Tale’ from 2000. Is this correct?
No, the marine is not a theme – the net in ‘Without Title’ smells of tar emphasizing organic life. However the net itself is meant to be a flat chaotic structure which embodies itself by floating out from the wall. ‘Cultivator’ is a reflection between loosely combined humble materials, a simple shape, and the title referring to cultivating or refining.