Malin Gabriella Nordin
For me, to work with art is to have a conversation. I never know how my work will evolve, it all depends on the material and its specific qualities. I do something that the material reacts upon and I always have to adapt to that. It’s to give and take. One idea leads to another, like a game of dominos. I prefer materials that are unpredictable because that forces me to always evolve and find news ways. It’s a very honest and direct feeling when I create, if I make a mistake I will continue working from that mistake instead of erasing it. I never know how a piece will end up, but when it’s done it’s both strange and familiar at the same time. Like a distant relative I haven’t seen in a long time. I have recurring colours and shapes in my work, but I use them in a new way every time. It’s like a big family tree that’s always growing with siblings and relatives I didn’t know existed. I go back and forth between techniques and materials, setting different types of moods. Painting and sculpture is a lot more physical and direct for me, while collages have more to do with focus and time. But it’s also about not getting stuck in things I know. As soon as I feel that I’m stuck in a pattern I try to change techniques in order to be able to return to the old one, but with a new perspective.
When things are forced they feel flat to me
It’s important to be able to see the process behind a piece, it gives the work more dimensions. I want the pieces to have a feeling of completion while at the same time they’re full of opportunities. I’m fed up with peoples’ need for answers: what is this? what does this mean? I prefer something that isn’t completely sure, like imagining the universe or walking by a conversation that don’t know the ending of. It creates room for me to develop what’s to come, room for my own thoughts and fantasies. In a way I feel like many of the pieces I appreciate are ones that give me a sense of being caught in a moment, as if time stopped just before something was about to happen. Composition is key. To not be thrown out of the piece but to be constantly drawn into it by always finding new ways to look at it or to let yourself be hypnotised by it. To lose yourself in a piece completely — as with, for me, the work of Cy Twombly or Mark Rothko.
I always work in periods, it’s as if some power takes over. But when that power isn’t there, I don’t try to force it. Of course I could wake up every day and paint or do a collage but while that might make me a better artist technically, it wouldn’t give me the same feeling. When things are forced they feel flat to me. Those periods when it feels like nothing comes out are extremely difficult and frustrating but creativity often comes back if I let it be and get some distance to it. And you have to be ready for it when it finally comes, that’s part of the process.
When it’s over it’s as if I’ve lost an invisible body part and I never know when, or even if, it comes back
I remember one time, coming back from Bergen. I was tired and hungover and all I wanted was to sleep and out of nowhere it came: like a high, and I made a whole series of collages that night, probably ten in just a few hours. The day after, I made three more and after that just one. I could feel it fading and when it does, you just have to accept and let it go. It’s like you’re having everything pulled out and when it’s over it’s as if I’ve lost an invisible body part and I never know when, or even if, it comes back.