“I wanted my pictures to express that something is disappearing,
that you try to catch it, but it fades away.”
Norwegian artist Anne-Karin Furunes has titled her fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Anhava Reassembling Reality. Alongside black canvas pieces, the exhibition now includes large coloured works executed on white canvas, which the artist, in her characteristic manner, has perforated by hand. Alongside large and small holes, Furunes has painted thousands and thousands of red, yellow and blue dots of varying size. The resulting impression of light and image is startlingly vivid and mutable in space.
As the exhibition title suggests, the viewer assembles an artwork in the very act of observing it. As you approach a painting, its pictorial motif disappears. Furunes has remarked that what is essential in art is probably the experience that something is and is not at the same time. The reassembly of reality and of the image happens in the viewer’s mind as they move through the space.
The central themes in the featured works are the environment and nature. Known especially for works based on portraits, this time Furunes has chosen to mainly depict historical and contemporary images of northern nature, resulting in a subtle and varied exhibition. The subjects range from calving icebergs and Arctic plants to clouds and roots. While working on a commission for the FRAM research centre from 2016–2018, Furunes discovered in the centre’s archives photographs of plants taken by Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen, a Norwegian female botanist, in the Svalbard islands in 1907.
In Furunes’s work depicting clouds, the coloured surface blends into a soft grey mass when viewed from a distance. The motif behaves just like clouds in the sky: they can only be seen from afar. Close up, the image dissolves, and the viewer merges with the surface of the painting. The large dimensions of the works – in some cases verging on monumental – is an important element of the visual expression, allowing the painting to be experienced with the whole body. Furunes herself describes her practice as one of drawing with holes and her works as surfaces that filter light – fleeting, moving images that breathe space and light.
Anne-Karin Furunes’s (b. 1961) solo exhibitions in recent years have been held at Galleri K in Oslo (2022), Stiftsgården at Nordenfjedske Kunstindustrimuseum in Trondheim (2021), Ryan Lee Gallery in New York (2019), Tornabuoni Arte in Florence (2018) and Palazzo Fortuny in Venice (2014). She has work in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Museo Palazzo Fortuny, Venice; Nasjonaalmuseet, Oslo; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma; Saastamoinen Foundation; and Statens konstråd, Sweden.
Anne-Karin Furunes was nominated for the 2021 Ars Fennica award. Works by her will be shown at the Ars Fennica 2021 exhibition at Hämeenlinna Art Museum until 3 April 2022.
Anne-Karin Furunes’ new commission for the University of Helsinki featuring the earliest women academics was published on 28 March 2022. The subjects of her three artworks for the foyer of the university’s main building are Tekla Hultin, Emma Irene Åström and Karolina Eskelin.