For their Design Miami/ debut, Norwegian Crafts in collaboration with Galleri Format Oslo will present Insubordinate Creatures, the first showcase of Norwegian artists Ellen Grieg and Elisabeth von Krogh in the Americas.
Both Grieg (b. 1948) and von Krogh (b. 1947) emerged from a period of cultural production in Norway that was heavily influenced by second-wave feminism. Both artists have unique approaches to the history of craft, and have attempted to animate and anthropomorphize Minimalist forms through the byproducts of stereotypically feminine activity. The exhibition title itself refers to the artists’ rebellious disposition, the works on view becoming objects of protest and defiance through their own personification.
Ellen Grieg’s practice draws from Scandinavia’s rich history of textiles. She often investigates the traditions of rug-making, knitting, weaving, and folk costumery to create monumental hanging curtains that serve as cultural tapestries. For her Design Miami/ presentation, Grieg has embarked on a new series of abstract, suspended helical sculptures that excavate her nation’s seafaring past through the use of nautical mooring ropes.
Elisabeth von Krogh’s practice is ostensibly peculiar for a Norwegian, in that the nation’s ceramics history is comparably short – stoneware wasn’t introduced to Norway, where there are no naturally occurring deposits, until the 16th century, and wasn’t popularized until the 1900s. But for much of its short history, Von Krogh has been at the forefront of contemporary Norwegian ceramics, participating in the 1960s ceramics resurgence that saw young artists opening pottery workshops all over the nation, and with new themes and formal approaches to sculpture during Norway’s second wave of feminism in the ‘70s. Von Krogh’s work unites Norwegian politics with aesthetic principles, manipulating perspective and scale while embracing the art historical theme of the vessel as a symbol for the female body and the Divine Feminine.
To unify their Design Curio installation, Norwegian Crafts has enlisted Sean Griffiths of Modern Architect to create an architectural intervention that responds to the floating quality of Grieg’s work and plays to the ambiguity between three-dimensional object and two-dimensional representation in the work of von Krogh. Griffiths was formerly co-director of FAT Studio, which culminated their 23-year-long practice with the curation of the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014.
Left: Ellen Grieg. Photo by Morten Andenæs. Right: Work by Ellen Grieg. Photo by Øystein Thorvaldsen.