Fragile - Helsingfors

Anita Christoffersson - recent work

The metaphor of fabric and the fabric of metaphor are made visible and tangible in the recent work of Anita Christoffersson. Through the language of adjusted ready-mades, of artefacts taken from close family sources replete with poignant histories, flat fabric worn from age and use is layered, folded, unfolded, pinned and arranged to re-present itself, to speak quietly of its renewal and re-identification.

Familiar cloths, from the kitchen, the dining room, the bedroom, and the person, are fragmented and offered up in deceptively simple configurations. Like opaque windows to a near but concealed world, or precious relics, with enigmatic emblems, hung flag-like, creating new relationships with line, structure, colour, proposing ambiguous perspective, they hint at past and current struggles.

The ethereal dominates the visual presentation. White is interspersed with searing (blood?) red in woven line and written word. Muted bands of washed-out colour cast playful glances at the work of masters of modern painting, such as the painterly stripes of Morris Louis or the order and retinal rigor of Bridget Riley. Searching more widely, reverberations are discernible between extreme possible references which range from the devotional 6th Station of The Cross "Veronica wipes The Face" to Arte Povera, and the slashed canvases of Lucio Fontana, or the quietude of Piero Manzoni.

The tear has its place in the iconography in this body of work, and the word itself, "tear", is perhaps an intriguingly and appositely ambiguous word, particularly in English, where the same spelling covers two distinct meanings; one as in the emotionally induced drops of water which fall from the eye, the other as in the act of the pulling apart of a material or the denotation of the product of the act of tearing. It is the second interpretation to which I wish mainly to draw attention in the metaphor of scar-like tears, existing as crudely but methodically dressed wounds from an earlier time. Combining a restrained Constructivist approach with emotive mono-syllabics, virtual ladders of words form literary cadences that speak of an imploring to succeed and the consequential corollary of the confession of shortcomings and human frailties.

This body of work seeks that which probably all art aspires to achieve, that is to reconcile the irreconcilable. By bringing together diverse fragments of domestic artefacts associated with ordinary, sometimes intimate, daily life and by re-presenting them into an original assemblage of gentle structure of grids and frames, restrained palette overlain with an exquisite sprinkling of carefully chosen words, Christoffersson has convincingly brought into being statements which did not previously exist. Her encoded art, although intensely personal and private, through our collective shared experience, may also touch the wider audience. In embracing that part of the world and experience which is in immediate proximity and in re-arranging objects replete with ordinary-ness and humility, Christoffersson provides a concentration of objects which transcend their provenance and nature, and presents an exhibition which is in full command of both the fabric of its materiality and the metaphors contained therein.


Professor Brian Falconbridge FRBS, June 2002
Goldsmiths College, University of London