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In the exhibition ASHES AND WHITE at Galleri Lista Fyr I make use of materials both perishable and sensual such as wax, unfixated colour pigment and ash. In one of the installations it is the shadows that are projected on to the walls – and which are in continual movement - that constitute the work of art, and not the paper butterflies, whose function is merely indirect.


In the installation ASH seven real-life life-size elements – a ladder, a bucket, a sponge, pincers, three nails, a garment and dice – are covered in ash. Also the room in which the objects are placed, is covered in ash. The understanding of any work of art is dependent on the frame of reference of the beholder. It is possible to see ASH as any vacated torture chamber. The silence afterwards. After the horror. For any one acquainted with western medieval iconography, the elements in the installation ASH will immediately recall the Passion of Christ and the Deposition from the Cross.


The two large monochrome squares in the exhibition, RED and WHITE, would in any other context be nothing but pure form and pure colour. Yet when seen against ASH and BUTTERFLY (the butterfly being an ancient symbol of change, resurrection and immortality) the non-meaningful planes become charged with meaning. The intense red and the pure white colour recall to us the prophesy of Isaiah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.


The squares are made of wax impregnated with pigment. If the visitor touches the colour, it will rub off onto her finger. Her finger will become a bearer of memory. The small red wax squares with deep cuts, of which 14 are installed in a bunker from World War II and five in the main gallery, are in their context a metaphor for wounds. Wounds that turn into light, both as absence and as abundance.


Barbro Raen Thomassen


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