"Childhood made visible and other portraits"
Exhibition in Tegnerforbundet Gallery, Oslo -98
Extract from catalogue by Leena Mannila.
Reidun Aafløy Hansen exhibits more than ten busts, mainly cast in gypsum, along with an equal amount of charcoal drawings. All are portraits.
In the inner gallery room are two portraits of the artist as a child – at 4 and 9 years old. We sense what moved and inspired the artist:
a longing for oneself, an acute and deeply felt desire to travel back in time, to reflect upon her own person:
Who was the child that was I? In her retrospective self-portraits she uses old family photos as keys to unlock memories of her childhood.
Reidun Aafløy Hansen is well educated in Art History and Classic Archaeology, in addition to graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo the long history of Art, we can see how the relationship between In the soul (or spirit) and empirical, extentional form has preoccupied artists since the time of Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece and the Roman Empire. By calling her busts 'Soul Images', the artist suggests that she is a part of this tradition.
The soul, expressed through form, is Reidun Aafløy Hansen`s ambitious project at present. The title 'Childhood made visible and other Portraits' indicates a theme: intimate images, balanced in every way possible.
In contrast to the artist`s intensely expressionistic style during the last decade – e.g, her paintings of heads and masks – the present exhibition shows a reorientation towards control and harmony, as reflected through classical ideals.
Reidun Aafløy Hansen`s motives are mainly women and children.
The sculptures reveal a will to penetrate the essence of the characters, to give it form and portray it as naturally and as lifelike as possible.
There is a "softness" to these project; it shows no need to expose the models, all of whom are friends and family. There is no trace of psychological embarrassment, no soul-searching in an attempt to make a statement on behalf of the models, nor does the artists attemt to express her own opinion of those she portrays. These sculptures are formed in ways that respect the sitter, and in accord with the old adage:"Likeness preserves the Soul". The artist chooses to be faithful to what she sees, the outer form, and dares by this to assert that she has captured the soul of the model. This is indeed brave.
Reidun Aafløy Hansen shows great skill in her management of three-dimensional form. The manner in which she lets light form the eyes' expression reveals her background studies of light and how it affects material and form. By leading our attention toward her models' eyes, she emphasizes the spiritual element of her project.
The charcoal drawings comprising the second part of the exhibition are independent works; some are related to the sculptures while others where created after the busts were completed. In this manner they form a unique part of the exhibition and should be viewed as such.