KH Messen, Ålvik by Beatrice Alvestad Lopez (Guest artist August 2020)
The title ` Acausal connections and synergies of wholeness in chance events` draws upon the notion of togetherness described by Carl.G Jung where fluidity and magic resonate in chance events and synergies as I worked site-specifically influenced by the unforeseen and spontaneous by placing myself as body within the environment using local matter, organic residue, driftwood and found objects in assemblages on site and in studio.
The Ålvik-totems were made up of found material from the basement of KH Messen and consisted of left-over residue from local factories and institutions such as glass tubes, pink bags for logs, navy ropes, beads and textiles crafting an alternative material language of place addressing sustainability, trans-local temporalities and hydro-feminism.
These assemblages and outdoor rituals open up a dialogue of environmental and local historical connotation in relation to chance elements, synchronicities and myth found in debris and objects. By working outdoor I relate to elemental forces, the non-human, ancestral narratives and belonging in uprooted time of crisis and climate anxiety. The ritualistic process of listening, walking, observing and touch establish a reciprocal connection to previous life spans and origins.
In processing the environment inward reflections take place in form of philosophical thought, spiritual affinities, approximations of anthropology and deep-ecology. I position my bodily self in nature in order to learn from nature, reconnect, heal and nurture earth emotions creating an alternative language for a new world.
Situated between the Hardangerfjord and grand mountains, Kunstnarhuset Messen provided incomparable scenery. It could not have been a better setting to undertake my nature-focused project and I spent a significant amount of time exploring the natural surroundings for inspiration.
The project centered around the concept of imprints- ones left on nature. The process of working was therefore an organic exploration of medium, techniques and subject-matter.
The re-use of materials was an important factor in my process in order to highlight the necessity for environmental sustainability. I printed with dead flowers and drew on paper and prints that had been damaged or leftover from previous projects.
Mountains surrounding the fjord were used as subject-matter. Their outlines were sketched and applied to hand-drawn grids that had been developed to incorporate a more fluid design. Using various shading techniques resulted in patterns that ultimately took on a form of their own.
(Vanessa Rosalia Larsen was guest artist at KHMessen in August 2020.)
It’s been quite a special time as I let go of 3 years of focused work on the creation and release of the album ‘Hidden Soul of the Fjord” (which I co-created with brilliant singer and composer Heidi Torsvik) and start to imagine new works of music, poetry and novel writing that are now utterly unimpeded by any need to return to any previous work. Tabula rasa…
Thanks to the newly burgeoning friendship with visual artist Simone Hooymans (who did the wonderfully eclectic video for the single ‘Trees That Whisper’ from the new album, I was extended an offer to come and live in the depths of the exquisite Hardanger Fjord where Simone and her husband Hans oversee the organization of a large, comfortable work/living facility on the water’s edge which is called KH Messen (Messen Arthouse). The facility is offered as a place to create in every imaginable artistic medium for creatives from every part of the world (including Norway) who apply to spend time working on or exploring new projects.
Simone and Hans have been exceedingly gracious and along with their two sweet sons, they keep things flowing, functional and quite hospitable in every way one might hope for. Bottom line, it’s just a great ambience for creating in an absolutely wickedly wonderful part of the world. I have a flat here and also my own work room, which, in my case all overlook the fjord with expansive views. I’m gazing down miles of fjord as I write. I would highly recommend that any artist who is looking for beauty, focus and creative possibilities, consider applying for the KH Messen opportunity. Even creatives from as close as Bergen can come here for a break from the city life.
I have been doing extensive research for my new Detective Novel “Chance’s Flywheel” which will be based in Oslo and take place throughout Western Norway, and have finally felt clear enough with the nature of the circumstances for the story that I have now begun writing the novel itself. Around this and in my room here at Messen Arthouse I also have a piano and can play and write and write and play and this has allowed me to just be at an acoustic piano for the first time in 10 months and simply freestyle and do improvisation. I have been recording on my iPad (just sitting it on top of the piano) and have about 12 “in the moment” improv sessions now. It’s so good to just play without specific thought or plan, just play to play.
As part of this, I now had the idea to begin sharing some of these ‘Hardanger Improvs’ which I’ll call ‘Messsen ‘Round’ #1’… Again, these will just be freestyle and are opportunities to share new ideas without concern of perfection or production.. a chance to just be naked with a piano and then share that experience without concern of critique or ideas being taken. This is music without production and I am someone who can spend a year on “production.”
There seems to be a seed concept that I hit upon and am playing around with on this first improv and where it may go eventually (if anywhere) is still up for grabs…
So here is ‘Messen ‘Round – Hardanger Impro #1’ – captured live on acoustic piano and an iPad Microphone App – simple and raw… It’s about 4mins… Have a listen if your so inclined.
Our daily life seems to be gone, but perhaps this is the moment to discover another daily routine? Bergen based dance artist Yohei Hamada invites you to find your new morning routine and start the day with his daily short dance video letters. Don’t panic, and take initiative of your life. Even in an unprecedented situation, there might be a lot of seeds of your daily life sprouting around you.
“A dance of the day” by our guest-artist Yohei Hamada
NOW at Gallery Getekend in Heerenveen The Netherlands, the solo exhibition of SANDRA KRUISBRINK with recent drawings from Ålvik Norway !
Exhibition period: 20-9-2020 t|m 15-11-2020
SANDRA KRUISBRINK stayed in artist residency KHMessen in Ålvik, in the winter of 2019. The nature (fjord, mountains, forests) and the silence had a great attraction and were a source of inspiration. Sandra could roam around to photograph and draw. The exhibition includes a number of these drawings and a series that later emerged in her own studio.
She herself says about her work: “While drawing I filter the photographed images, edit the photo and dissect the image in such a way that it sometimes almost disappears. In this way I look for the limit of what I can leave out. I work almost meditatively in drawing an endless amount of lines, dots and minimal traces back to my memory. The silence and inaccessibility thus become subjects ”.
SANDRA KRUISBRINK participated in various exhibitions in the field of contemporary drawing. Her work was previously shown in the opening exhibition GETEKEND. She lives and works in Amsterdam.
At KHMessen I started my new interest to develop my work process in natural surroundings. I investigated the challenge of spaces where there already exists elements. The rocks at Hardangerfjorden became my starting point, where I moved from there and up towards Roaldsdalen and back again in the garden of KHMessen. While I was in these surroundings, I created a different awareness of my body, my perceptual capabilities, and my mental and physical constraints together with the paper and textile material I used. It was a reconnection for me.
(Johanne Teigen, Norway, was staying at KHMessen for a one-month-residency in August 2020)
The selection committee at Kunstnarhuset Messen has now made the selection for 2021! That has been a very difficult decision this time all because of COVID19.
Because of the lockdown we have postponed the awarded working periods of all the artists from April, May, June, July, August and September this year to the next residency year 2021. Meaning, that we only had a few places left to offer to new artists, only for the months that were left over in 2021. That was a difficult decision to made with over 100 applications all of them from highly qualified artists.
We are pleased to announce the selection of 2021:
New selected artists: Koen Kievits (the Netherlands) Georgina Louise Campbell (Australia) Danielle Klebes (USA) Chih Hua Huang (Taiwan) Andrew Neumann (USA) Heidrun Rathgeb (Germany) Jan Kromke (Germany) Ina Loitzl (Austria) Maja Spasova (UK) Molly Joyce (USA) Lynn Cazabon (USA) Olia Fedorova (Ukraine) Son Seon Kyung (South Korea) Kuenlin Tsai (Taiwan) Tero Juuti (Finland) Ninet Kaijser (the Netherlands) Efrat Merin (Israel) Lucia Veronesi (Italy) Paul Burn (USA/Germany) Franzisca Siegrist (Swiss/Spain) Christopher Eidtang (Norway)
Postponed artists from 2020 to 2021: Julie Rafalski (Poland/USA) Vardi Bobrow (Israel) Kate Finegan (USA) Marie Bink van Vollenhoven (the Netherlands) Beth Frey (Canada) Noor van der Brugge (the Netherlands) Doris Marten (Germany) Sky Kim (USA) Kerstin Mörsch (Germany) Hellen Abma (the Netherlands) Christopher Squier (USA) Anna Pangalou (Greece) Ben Giles (UK) Romane Armand (Belgium) Scardoni Eléonore (France) Bettina Henkel (Germany) Marloes Staal (the Netherlands) Timo Hofacker (the Netherlands) Narumi Hori / Yuhi Kazama (Japan)
(illustration is made by Gregory Gan, during his stay at KHMessen)
During the whole Corona lockdown time KHMessen has had the pleasure to enjoy the stay of three guests that had to expand their stay to three months. All three artists have enjoyed their time at Messen during the lockdown. It felt like a safe place to be and within the restriction they still had the freedom to cycle, swim and take walks in the surrounding, next to their intensive studio work.
One of the three, Marion Blume left Messen a week ago and now Olivia and Greg are at the end of their stay. So yesterday we held our monthly open studio with a selective group of visitors.
Olivia Brelsford-Massey (UK) showed her process by presenting a short video with animation inspired by foundings in and around the house and the magic of the fjords. And by showing small drawings of thoughts and playful assets for her video and objects in her studio.
Gregory Gan (Russia nd Canada) read an short story to us in his studio about the existence of his watercolors and how they are tangled with his life. We listened to his story surrounded by his beautiful watercolors and video works.
I came to KHMessen to investigate dwelling places as social entities. I was born in Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, and when I was still a child, my family migrated to France, and then Canada. From my earliest memories, well into my adult life, and across several countries, I lived in high-rise apartments. In my artwork, I wanted to capture the ambiguity of feeling at once intimately connected, and anonymous amongst one’s neighbours.
I decided to recreate every house in which I lived using watercolour paintings. I would create a collection culminating in a painting of my latest “residence”: KHMessen. Besides the watercolours, I wanted to make a multimedia collage based on the outlines of these homes—a kind of Frankenhome—which would then be laid onto a large canvas to create a cyanotype, an architectural blueprint. This blueprint would be combined with video projections, soundscapes, watercolour sketches, and relief prints. The theoretical concept for which I sought a visual metaphor was an image schema, a visual, linguistic, embodied, and historical pattern the mind conjures to give us an understanding of the world, and arguably, forms the basis for our identity. My proposal aimed to visualize how each person’s unique history is intimately connected to their experience of lived places, and to other human beings.
Shortly after I arrived to KHMessen, the first cases of COVID-19 virus began to emerge in Norway. As the situation intensified over the next several weeks, the Norwegian government enacted ever-stricter measures to control the pandemic. The situation brought into stark contrast my privilege of living in a remote village—I was able self-distance by going on hikes in the mountains, or bike rides along the fjord—and the lockdowns my friends and relatives faced across urban centres around the world. Around this time, I was painting my former home in Toronto—a twenty-two storey apartment block where I briefly lived with my mother and grandmother some years ago. As my paintbrush gave shape to the neat rows of apartment cubicles, I began to fret about how my mother and grandmother would need to negotiate interactions with their neighbours: every door handle, every pressed elevator button now represented a possible vector of transmission. I began making frantic phone calls organizing food deliveries, checking up on elderly relatives, and trying to convince them to stay home.
The state of emergency catalyzed my thoughts about what I found truly important: paradoxically, as ever-stricter social distancing measures came into effect, I felt ever-closer to people across ever-widening physical distances. As we experienced isolation, fear, anxiety, or boredom each in our particular ways, friends, colleagues, and family began finding new ways of connecting on social media. At that moment, having painted thirteen out of a planned thirty former domiciles, and having drafted video projections onto a blank canvas, I placed the project I tentatively titled Closer to Home on hold. Besides, I reasoned that watercolours would make an ideal pastime for the two-week self-quarantine I would have to undergo at my next destination, wherever that may be. As booked flights, festivals, conferences, and teaching engagements were predictably cancelled, or rerouted online, I found myself much more amenable to small changes, finding that I needed to muster my resources to prepare for the big ones.
I am now working to establish connections with other artists who find themselves in similarly precarious situations. Amongst colleagues working in art, film, and anthropology, we launched an Artist Support Network (fragilematters.wordpress.com), which aims to provide support to artists adapting their modes of creative production to changing circumstances. We began hosting online gatherings, where we discuss how to respond to the crisis most effectively as artists, and as community members. Using an online platform, we are also pooling together resource for artists, filmmakers, and educators, who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
My work has also taken on a much more personal quality. I started recording video letters, largely unedited and improvised, which I began sending out to relatives and friends. I bring my friends along on hikes, bike rides, or on daily routines. The rawness and immediacy of these tele-messages feels authentic. It is, perhaps, a way that I intimately connect the experience of a lived place to other human beings.