A few minutes walk from the city center of Örebro is where Kristina Lindberg has her studio. I’m late and my phone is dead. I find my way to the small convenience store where we’re about to meet up, it’s a quiet neighborhood with small apartment blocks and I’m guessing that the residents here are either students or seniors. And artists of course. The studio is in the basement of an apartment block and Kristina tells me that the rent is cheap here but that the tenants don’t like when she makes to much noise. I can imagine that it gets loud from time to time, the space is filled up with pieces of wood and boards of all sorts. I’m curious about her hands-on and physical practice, as well as the context in which her works are made and perceived.
How would you describe your practice?
First of all, my practice shapes me more than I shape it. At least I think so. It’s about sculpture: historic and formalist. Ranges of different perspectives actually recur, such as sculpture and body. My practice is a lot about the physical effort of working with sculptures, especially when coming up in scale. It’s also about the working class.
Tell me more.
I’m inspired by places where society is shaped in a very tangible way, such as construction sites. Thoughts on society as one giant sculpture really gets me going! I like to use materials that have that connotation. That is concrete, stone and wood as well as less valued materials. It’s a conscious choice, all my choices of material. I really would like to work in an even larger scale so that the audience could encounter the works fully. But also for it’s weight, I want it to feel heavy yet made by human hands.
What are your thoughts about the relationship between sculpture, white cube and audience?
When it comes to the meeting between work and audience I think a lot about how to impact the viewer. Most of all I want them to interact in a physical activity not only stand by and watch. I have a physical feeling as a bodily experience in mind. I would like the audience to crouch, climb and touch. To go into a white cube, stand there and just watch is not how I think about this relationship. It’s not desirable.
Can you elaborate on your subject matter?
My works describe themselves, their own creation. They are about work and they are made through work. They reflect themselves in that sense. While working on my sculptures I think a lot about the space that they will take up.
You’ve previously made tools, can you tell me something about that?
Yes, it has been a lot about tools and I still do them sometimes. I’m interested in the craftsmanship but I think of them more in a political way. How labor maintains the worker and the other way around. Mainly how people are instruments, tools even.
Your work seems to incorporate politics.
It hasn’t always been like that. Initially my work was more formalist but I had an interest in public sculpture, which often is monumental. There was an attempt to reach another audience with public art, yet monuments express power and politics. Those two paths, sculpture and politics, just recently met in my practice.
Would you say that your work is political?
Art is political.
Ok, do you have a political agenda then?
No, so far I haven’t had that. It’s been about labor and the working class, but I haven’t taken a position. I’ve been analyzing. It has occurred to me that class really doesn’t matter, facing of the material and as material we are alike. We’re abraded and we’re affected. The erosion is the same. In the end I still end up in a formalist logic.
What’s your own relationship to the working class?
I don’t know. The working class is not what it used to be, we’ve gone from an industrial to an information society. A lot of what the workers would have worked with is delegated to other countries. What we have instead is unemployment and a lot of graphic designers.
How does this relate to what you’re working on now?
At the moment I’m working on everyday objects. I wish to use my art in day-to-day life, for instance I’ve started building furniture. I’ve also started casting my own chipboards and working in clay so that I can do my own cups. I don’t want my art to only be in the studio or in a gallery space and I do it all myself so I won’t need anything manufactured.
What’s the purpose?
It effects society in a certain way when you do everything yourself, especially the monetary system. Again it’s mainly about labor. And to take back what has been delegated away. We’re living in a very materialistic world where we’re surrounded by more and more objects, at the same time I don’t think we understand how those objects are made. This is a way for me to take back some of that power. I feel that I’m empowering myself when I make my own shelf or table. It feels good. That’s a huge part of it. But I don’t know if I want to be totally outside of a system. I think about this a lot. How much my work interacts with society and how much I want it to.
So do you want it to or not?
Both yes and no, but in different ways.
What about your part in it?
It’s exciting and tough. I recently read that it’s easier for people to imagine the end of the world than another system than the capitalist.
Your work is very labor intensive.
Yes, it is.
How come? Don’t you ever just feel like not working?
It has certainly something to do with how I’m raised. One should be productive, not lazy and that kind of rhetoric. Of course I’ve thought about doing just the opposite, being extremely unproductive and lazy. That is also a way of effecting society. I just like to work, it gives me to much pleasure I guess.
Yes, it’s ironic.
The conversation between Kristina Lindberg and Eleonora Ånhammar took place in Örebro, SWE on May 6, 2014
Text: Eleonora Ånhammar
Photo: Kristina Lindberg
This studio conversation is a collaboration with Little Finger, a free publication for contemporary visual art, culture and nonsense. It is featured in issue no. 6 www.little-finger.com
|Born:||1981 in Mora, SWE|
|Education:||MFA 2011, Valand Academy in Gothenburg, SWE|
|Info:||currently working on a solo exhibition that will open this fall in Gothenburg|