Andrea Scholze’s new exhibition presents Nordic folklore-inspired underground beings
”It’s easy to lose track of how much a walk in the forest, smelling, and experiencing it for real — and not just in VR — affects us,” the Oslo-based artist says.
6 Oct 2022

Scholze works with sculpture and installation, mainly in ceramics, and preferably, she explains, on a larger scale — close to natural size. 

— My works consist mostly of roughly modelled, figurative creatures that can be humanlike in form or resemble different animals, she explains. I work expressively to channel emotions in the sculptures, and I let their anatomy become distorted in the process, working quickly, while focusing my energy on modelling their presence and mood. Building them from the ground and up, my hands are my main tool. I mostly work with a coiling technique in the clay where I make coils that are roughly modelled together on top of each other to create completely hollow sculptures with holes and rough fingermarks.

After working mainly with painting when she was younger, she’s now ”found working with sculpture very liberating”.

— I prefer to work with a high tempo, often almost to the point of collapse of the heavy moist clay. I can focus on the individual in another way and almost transfer energy to the clay with my fingers. They would change and interact in different settings and environments, and I love to create scenarios and installation environments. I also love to see how people place the sculptures in their homes and how their energy and presence become part of their daily life. As one person, who has one of my large apelike sculptures standing firmly on four feet in their living room, said: ’It is like having an extra person living with us’.

You just opened your new exhibition De underjordiske (Underground beings) at QB Gallery in Oslo. What do you show?

— I have made a scenario consisting of different forest creatures, animal-like like hanging bats, snakes, and canine-like creatures, but also creatures more humanlike in form with tails like huldra (trolls). One of the sculptures is called Vette (Wight), referring to supernatural beings in the Nordic folklore. I have also used living ferns in one of the wolf-like sculptures, a plant that is plentiful in the Norwegian forests but also makes me think of ancient Jurassic times, before human existence. Besides drawing on inspiration from Norwegian folklore, a completely new theme for me was creating sculptures embracing the bond between parent and child with the sculptures Mamma and Møtet med omverdenen (Mom and Encountering our surroundings) as well as the canine pups and the big wolf. I guess this was a natural part of the process being pregnant with my first baby while working towards the exhibition, reflecting on the life to come and a new person coming into this world seeing everything for the first time, teaching him, and thinking about how he will experience all the wonders, sorrows, and hardships that are part of being alive.

De underjordiske at QB Gallery

The science fiction film genre’s dystopian visions, Scholze continues, have inspired many of her works. 

— It is fascinating to see that what was science fiction a little while back is now part of our daily lives, but I am also worried that we will get disconnected and end up thinking we can live without nature. I think we need it way more than we think, even today. It’s easy to lose track of how much a walk in the forest, smelling, and experiencing it for real — and not just in VR — affects us, and how important it is. To feel grounded in nature, living as part of it and not as something separate and destructive to the creatures we share this world with, is something I reflect on in my works, and I hope that way of thinking also will be part of our future world.

Scholze is one of four artists nominated for Eckbo’s Anniversary scholarship. She will also exhibit at the venerable Vigeland Museum venue in Oslo this summer, showing an installation consisting of her creatures and living plants.

— I will also be part of a group show at Buskerud Art Centre in Norway with artists Javier Barrios, Monica Flakk, and Jon Gorospe, she says.