Signatures of life.
In this installation Kåre Holgerson has assembled images about his mother, Karin (1923-2009), and her life. The result is a constellation of paintings that she made in her youth, as display of textile materials, a dried and pressed plant from a herbaria, a lacework and other objects. These traces of a life are then contrasted with photographs of her past down home, in a state of near total collapse.
Already at a first glance on these objects and pictures, we understand that they function as a question, which relates to what we call identity: Could it be that the most fundamental continuity of our lives, that which remains the same in and though all the changes we go through, has to do with patterns?
pattern, forms which are repeated, varied, broken up, reassembled;
forms of patterns which offer comfort and stability
but which for that very reason also easily turns into enclosures,
compulsively repeated habits which directly counteract
life’s continual movement toward something other.
Some of the objects left behind invite to interpretation, like Karin’s minutely detailed paintings of beautiful, embroidered women dresses from the fifties: a kind of choreography of femininity? Against this stand the photographs of her past down home, an external/internal state which approaches full entropy, but which the eye of camera pans in search for residues of pattern which still insists: Does not the collection of empty paper boxes at the side of the bed form a small house? Does not the plastic bottle in the empty, outdrawn kitchen drawer lie is a state of rest?
For my own gaze, there is one object in particular which stand out from the other, as the nave around which all the other revolve: The white lacework, with its unfinished, two dimensional representation of a frame or an enclosure, which the artist has not had time to finalize (or not been able close), but left open. She has thus sewed in lines of escape, both within the two-dimensional image (as if something, which once rested within the enclosure, now has disappeared through its gate) and through the mesh of treads which falls out from the picture plane, and opens it up to some other dimension.
It is perhaps close at hand to approach this peculiar installationas a kind of double biography: as the patterns which has formed the life of a woman, and question of patterns formulated by her son. In last instance, however, “Patterns” becomes a question that we have to address to our own lives: is it also patterns of this kind, patterns which precede all symbolic meaning, which make up the core of what I call my character, my personality, my “ego”? Are patterns of this kind life’s most authentic signatures?
Prof. Emer. NTNU Trondheim