Mette Torstensen, Asker og Bærum Budstikke 21. Oct 2003
Quiet reflections from a modern artist
The foyer of Bærum�s cultural centre has been turned into a Greek agora. Visitors can wander amongst and between busts placed at eye-level, enter into discussions with them or with each other.
The cultural centre�s first mounting of a solo exhibition offers a beautiful, quiet, intimate and exciting experience with Reidun Aafløy Hansen as both artist and �director�. The exhibition CHILDHOOD VISUALIZED is constructed around two installations: Selfportrait, Nine Years Old and Selfportrait, Four Years Old. Here two bronze sculptures show us the artist at four and nine years old. Near the little-girl sculptures Aafløy Hansen has hung charcoal drawings that seem to cast images of the sculptures onto the walls in a theatrical way. Perhaps they reflect a deeper level of self-scrutiny or soul searching.
The impetus for these installations is two photographs the artist found in her childhood home. They prompted her to ask a question: Who was I back then? Viewers will ask similar questions: Who was I when I was four years old? The artist�s apparently innocent and aesthetically pleasing depictions of herself as a child arouse more attention and associations in us than we would initially expect. Like the Greek philosophers of old, we begin to think more deeply as we wander about the agora.
We can recognize Aafløy Hansen�s excellent craftsmanship and artistic versatility, for instance through the delicate and transparent charcoal drawings juxtaposed against the massive, solid sculptures, or through the soft forms of the little girls. Traces of the artist�s hand remind us of her presence, both as creator and model.
But there is more to this solo exhibition. We wander further into the agora. The artist wants us to mingle with the sculptures, gather into groups, to become an informal part of the project. The normal people depicted in the sculptures should meet us, the normal public. Yet we are all unique. The question is: Who is watching whom?
Aafløy Hansen has masterfully succeeded in fleshing out her vision. Nine portrait busts in the middle of the room form a circle. All are of people who have affected her in some way. She uses outer forms to describe the life of the soul, the core of human volition. These works she calls �soul pictures�. And there really is soul in them, relayed through the artist�s hand and through figural expression – which is communicated, yet not in a way that compromises the sitters. In this circle of busts we find, among others, Aafløy Hansen�s husband and mother – the latter is beautiful, peaceful and sensitive, with the hint of a smile playing about her mouth.
CHILDHOOD VISUALIZED is without doubt a beautiful exhibition and the quality of the work is high. It combines pictures and sculptures in an exciting way. It is a hushed and charming reflection from a modern artist, a reflection that seems to reveal something intimate about the artist – and perhaps also the viewer.
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