Ceramic sculpture from the series OCEAN GRID

OCEAN GRID (2022-2023)

Press Release: The artist Karen Land Hansen explores the seabed in a number of works made for a new series of exhibitions at Maskinhallen, Fabrikken for Kunst og Design and at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). The exhibitions are the first manifestation of a collaboration between Karen Land Hansen and GEUS.

Bubble reef. Lines in clay twisting and turning, crisscrossing the delicate sculpture on the podium. The curving grid – or netting – recurs in the other works in the exhibition. In art, the grid has traditionally been used as an ordering system pointing to some kind of rationality. In Karen Land Hansen’s sculptures, we find a lattice structure that is irregular, changing, imaginative and at times almost dissolved. This is Land Hansen’s abstract interpretation of the seabed and its curves, surfaces and formations in works which are in model scale – compared to the actual seabed.

The forms of the sculptures are based on cross-sections of the seabed at Hirsholmene. Here, the seabed is completely unique and characterized by highly varied landscapes and habitats: Bubble reefs and moraine sediments are both geological phenomena and home to many animals and plants. Marine geologists and geographers from GEUS have used technologies such as multibeam echo-sounding to scan the seabed and map a large section of it. This work is conducted in order to contribute to the sustainable use and protection of the seabed. And GEUS has worked up some of these ocean data and made them available to Karen Land Hansen as part of mutual exchange and dialogue.

There is a huge contrast between the high-tech ocean data and the manual and simple processes in Land Hansen’s work with sculptures and images. The artist has cut cross-sections of bubble reefs in cardboard, made papier mâché moulds and glued layers of flexible plywood together. Behind this contrast, however, there are also common features. For both scientists and artists work with transpositions and interpretations of reality, in the attempt to make it comprehensible.

The series of exhibitions includes educational activities. At Maskinhallen, young people from Creative 10th Grade work on their own interpretations of ‘seabed sculptures’ based on the exhibition. On February 6th Fabrikken for Kunst og Design hosts a lecture by Verner Brandbyge Ernstsen, senior researcher at Department of Near-Surface Land and Marine Geology (GEUS) and visual artist Karen Land Hansen. At GEUS, an artist talk will be held with Karen Land Hansen. We are indebted to: The L. F. Foght Foundation, the Borough Authority of Amager West, By Ida Nissen, Tine Hecht-Pedersen, Paradis, Maskinhallen and GEUS.

Translation by Morten Visby