The big thought is hard to deal with. Man creates. A small room is established in infinite space. A room filled with anaesthetizing narrations and furnished with consenting objects.
Henrik Olai Kaarstein’s works for the exhibition ‘Mothers’ at T293 address needs for corrective guidelines. In the works, powerful resources and will are used to lay bare and point out the existence of repressed information.
The works conceive, in the various textile surfaces, character of something unable to be present in the original fresh perfection. Information in the underlying elements dominates what can be sensed in the final work and the manifestation of this underlying information is plain and simple. Primitive configurations, sharp strokes, shiny layers, spots of colour and folds are experienced as exquisite and precise tools.
Kaarstein’s textile works for the exhibition can be seen as dialogue medium for what to catch. Or maybe more precisely, monologue catalyst for seeking and selecting. The exhibited works have simple basic materials – towels and thin mattress protectors – but the final works span from everyday material simplicity via vibrating nearness to trembling intimacy. Just the way the towels hang make them more thoughtful and severely present than many of the surrounding objects in everyday rooms. When added the surface landscape they are perceived as almost emotionally seductive. Variations in the intensity of the expression make alteration in the suggestive vibrations and do not fixate specific goals or a style.
The materialization in the works perceives without disturbing will in the composition. As the grain of sand gets its place in the desert landscape, so the material elements get their place in the works. The surface and motifs appear with evolutionary and organic morphology and express the will to be connected. Not as visual fragments of super graphic, but as seeking out links both to basics and to eternity. This search for material surfaces with communicative qualities beyond the visual is felt as important and liberating, and is determinant for the processes used to arrange the works’ elements.
The works Kaarstein creates on these limited surfaces is an expression of all-embracingness and this can be seen as a summarizing statement. The work is free from obtrusive ‘instructive’ content. The complexity expresses balance and powerful stillness. The extensive visual information is experienced as bearing a comprehensible message for seeking and desiring.
The great activity going on inside the small room is obscure and full of prejudiced longings.