When i met Karina Mosegård in her place in Copenhagen, we immediately switched to German. She had lived in Berlin for several years, to study sculpting at the university of fine arts (Universität der Künste).
Berlin in the 90ies was surely a playground for artists. Empty spaces, affordable rents and a time of change and possibilities. Maybe it was coincidence, but when I looked at Karinas work, I could perfectly imagine her installations in those abandoned houses. The see-through sheets with large scaled drawings, combined with thoughts in written word, placed there, as if somebody absent had left them for you to find, to stroll around them, to unravel them.
Though she studied sculpting for several years, Karina mainly works with installation. It annoyed her, that working as a sculptor takes so much space. She prefers something that can be set up more flexible and temporarily. Such things as drawings, poetry, objects, photographies, installations, videos and performances.
She described one of her recurrent elements as “text-images”. Short texts, not to be read as stories or poems, more like pictures and thoughts. You can also discover a lot of drawings of nature motives, like animals and flowers, overlapping with each other and with transparent materials, like thin fabric, paper or glass.
Her German is fluid and reappears in her text-images as well.
Those come up whenever she finds herself in a life situation that inspires or forces her to think. Hard times, for example. She writes her thoughts down and then later, integrates them in a visual work. Her way of arranging them with layers of drawings, cannot only be found in the installations, but also in smaller objects, that she creates.
“Painting is not my cup of tea.”
She showed me some of her pop-up-books. Her texts placed on and in the book covers, like riddles, expanding when you open the book, to discover a lacuna instead of pages. By opening it, you open the door to another room, filled out with drawings. Other objects Karina showed me, were small wooden boxes, like mini-installations, provided with several layers of see-through fabric. The tiny curtains are not hiding what’s behind. Instead they are showing the drawings and allow you to connect them with each other. Karinas characteristic style in these works, is the use of outlines instead of plain hatching.
“Painting is not my cup of tea.”, she said.
She works with all kinds of materials and techniques, so I’m almost surprised, that painting is just not her thing. Bad luck, because painting is one of the more supported genres in Denmark. As an artist, who works with installation and let’s say, a little bit less traditional methods, it’s not easy to find your spot.
So here we were in Karinas apartment and work space, having a chat about artist life and good old Berlin. Time to get started.
The previous artwork, that should inspire Karina, was my very own. Because I didn’t find any artist to work with in Stockholm, I produced something myself, that was at least related with the city, how I experienced it that day.
The result was a digital photomontage. Fragments of walls from different spots in Stockholm were framed by a grit of black lines, crisscrossing the image randomly.
After Karina had glanced at the kaleidoscope-like picture, the first association was, that the black stencil worked for her like a window, showing a second layer behind. But the fragments of the photomontage didn’t make sense to her and left only a vague impression of color and texture.
She even interpreted the picture as something depressing, like a prison window, the racks bigger than the clear parts. In one moment you’d focus on the outside, in the next you feel like being closed in.
Karina decided, to work with that image of not showing something completely and leaving it kind of blurry and foggy.
She remembered some German text, she had written for another work:
“Nach einer endlosen Wiederholung ist der Ursprung vergessen.” (After an endless repition, the origin is forgotten.)and:
“Im Vagen liegen tausende Geschichten verborgen. Wenn sie zum Vorschein kämen, wären sie nicht zu fassen.”(Thousands of stories lay in the vague. If they became visible, they’d be impossible to grasp.)
“Good that I don’t see what it is. So it becomes abstract.”
She found a plexiglass tablet and different types of transparent paper in her rich fundus of working material.
Her idea was to create an object with two layers; the front wall of the plastic-box and a back wall of turquoise transparent paper, on which she would draw parts of the photomontage. She wrote one phrase on each pane.
She looked at the photo closely and chose some parts and structures, that she considered as the most interesting ones.
“Good that I don’t see what it is. So it becomes abstract.” For the picture only showed small parts of Stockholm walls, Karina couldn’t assign all the details. She had to focus on the form only, not the meaning of things.
She overtook some patterns and details, like the wood piles, a part of a poster, a keyhole and the tips of my fingers, on the bottom.
She put one text on each layer and in the end glued the parts together.
“It’s a similar idea. Same but different.”
“Now it looks like street art.” she said. With the drawings of walls and the text written on it, it reminded me of the illustrated prophecies, you can find in the streets, indeed. I liked the idea that she would add meanings to my very meaningless walls.
“It’s a similar idea. Same but different.”, Karina commented the play with two layers.
Her plan was to create a three-dimensional object, that would come alive with the light of a room. She guessed it would’nt be something to put on the wall, but to install in the middle of a room, letting the light floating through, from all sides.
We put it on the coffee table, in front of the window and watched the light brighten up the turquoise and make it look like a block of ice. Inevitably we fantasized about which twists that association could add to the work. Vague things, deeply closed in the ice, or the seemingly nordic coolness of a Danish artist…
Anything but cold, was that afternoon at Karinas place. Her mysterious ice-block now was carefully packed in an extra bag, too big for my suitcase. I carried it with me like a treasure, on the train, over the sea.