For his exhibition at Fiberspace, Petter Hellsing puts materials in focus and is looking for ways to let them speak based on their own premises. What can a conversation between man and material look like? The tool here becomes a transitional object, a tool that extends the body to the world and puts it in relation to other forces. The bodily action and the resistance in the material is crucial to reaching an understanding beyond the power of thought.
As Hellsing sees it, something has happened in the world and we are facing a renewed relationship to materials. It is no longer possible to regard the world around us as inanimate matter. Perhaps things have their own agenda. In any case, we can not ignore the ecological consequences of our lack of attentiveness. An honest encounter with materials awakens deep physical memories in most of us. A hand in sheep’s wool, the weight of a stone or a knife’s blade carving into wood, all bear the promise of creation that makes us greater as human beings. The making of an object is not just a relational human act, but the work of the hand is also an inward dialogue, between the maker, the viewer and the material.
WHAT DOES FIBER MEAN TO YOU?
For me, textiles have been, above all, an intermediary of social structures and interpersonal stories. All the memories and associations that existed in textiles, that has long been my main material. Textiles are also strongly associated with a collective tradition that moves alongside the hierarchical structures of art. An opportunity for other conversations, other meetings.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TEXTILE FIBER OR TECHNIQUE?
Today, my relationship with the story of textile materials has changed. Perhaps there is something beyond the narrative, a story that lies within the material itself. Wool with its very robust appearance fascinates me. I card and spin, and in tapestry the wool has a freedom that goes beyond the social and opens up for a meeting with the material.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST VIVID TEXTILE MEMORY?
Crucial to the fact that I work with textiles today is my encounter with Guatemala’s textile traditions. It was perhaps not the textiles that fascinated me from the beginning, but the anchoring that art had in people’s everyday lives. The craft was an act of resistance to four hundred years of oppression and the textile was at the forefront of that struggle.
FIND OUT MORE