Anita Christoffersson
Exhibition at the Culture Centre, Ronneby, Sweden, April 27 - May 30, 1999

In this survey of the work of Anita Christoffersson, we see an eloquent and discreet presentation of forms, surfaces, materials and ideas.

We see a body of work which seeks to guardedly reveal great truths, great intimacies, all of which have the potential to speak to the spectator in his or her own way, in his or her own time.

We see a repertoire of images which seek to combine the disparate, the separate, the artifact replete with personal history, the contrasting, the evocative, the provocative, the reassuring, the disturbing, a sense of substance, the isolated, the many, the one, the whole.

Anita Christoffersson's work poignantly identifies those questions which linger so persistently and so deeply within us, surfacing as our struggle to understand and place ourselves as individuals, while seeking to grasp meaning in our shared lives with others, be those shared lives as enduring and intimate as a mother and child or as fleeting, transient and superficial as everyday life.

"Who would dance with you?" begins to set the tone of the work. It asks a question for us to answer, but to answer, we must know the meaning of the question. To know the meaning of the question, we must know how to say the words. Is it "Who would dance with you...?"

"The chair", at first sight, a benign evocation of childhood, is complete with the artifacts to offer comfort, warmth, reassurance and security. A closer examination reveals fabric, possibly a child's nightdress, presenting the stains of rusty nails, perhaps both a portend of a future discomfort and distress, or a decorative echo of lingering pain, like the trace of palimpsest of the instruments of Christ's Passion, the thorns and nails, on the Turin Shroud.

Similarly, in considering the embroidery of the lone house, a small work rendered all the more moving by its survival, its re-presentation, and by the tender care with which it was made and, doubtless, treasured, it is now seen in adult surroundings, juxtaposed with a new work of similar scale and proportions. This companion work, however, is darker in tone, both physically and metaphorically, as it conceals and reveals its words, it utters cries and whispers questions which are forever held captive, like pierced specimens, delicate, beautiful and enigmatic.

"Sorrow" allows itself to confront directly, frankly, unashamedly and courageously the effect of loss and grief. This visual mantra is not simply an homage or a striking reference to an extreme emotional condition. In this most personal and giving of works may be seen Anita Christoffersson's predilection for order, system, the minimal, the combination of simple form and simple text, the restrained, the human, the direct statement of an emotional state, and yet even the classical. In many ways, its sheer poignancy is derived and reinforced by its consummate orderliness, its clarity and starkness of presentation, its linearity, its bold use of the vertical and the horizontal. For it is that innate sense of the mathematical and the material, the calm combination of order and intervention, the Classical and the Romantic, the personal and the apparently impersonal which allow and foster the existence of one by the other.

With quiet patience and discerning eye, one may glimpse and share a poignant and moving evocation of lost childhood and life's vicissitudes together with a poetic search for poise and resolution in and though the work of Anita Christoffersson.

Brian Falconbridge
Head, Visual Arts, Goldsmiths' College,
March 1999