Edited by Gaby Hartel
With texts by Ina Blom, Gaby Hartel, Esther Kinsky, Thomas Macho, Mark Ravenhill and Jonathan Watkins
‘Supremely elegant’ — Apollo
Since the 1990s, acclaimed London-based Norwegian artist A K Dolven has produced a substantial body of work exploring the relationship between individuals and the perception of their environment, the connections that bind inner and outer realities, and the representation of sublime natural forces. Using a diverse range of media, including painting, film, sound and large-scale sculptural installation, she combines seemingly simple, almost minimalistic elements to create complex responses to a particular locale – especially the frozen landscapes of the Arctic Circle in her native Norway – while maintaining a universal voice that resonates far beyond the specifics of the place. Frequently immersive in nature, her works investigate but also induce feelings of discomfort and disorientation in the eye, body and mind of the viewer, an impression of forever being at odds with one’s surroundings as encountered through the various senses.
Coinciding with a solo exhibition at the Ikon Gallery, this compelling book presents the past decade of the artist’s practice. In five themed chapters, each artwork is shown in a series of large-scale installation shots and details that replicate the spatial and physical impact of the piece itself. Texts by five internationally renowned writers and thinkers illuminate various aspects of the artist’s work, addressing, among other things, its political significance, emotional intensity and philosophical depth. An introduction by Gaby Hartel considers the importance of A K Dolven’s sketchbooks to the genesis of her ideas, while an illustrated guide to the works presents the artist’s own detailed description of each one with supporting installation notes and background source material.
A K Dolven is one of Norway’s best-known and most highly acclaimed artists. Since 1997, she has lived and worked between London and Lofoten, Norway, and has exhibited widely across Europe, America and Asia. Her work is in major public and private collections around the world. She was awarded the German Fred-Thieler Prize in 2000 and the Swedish Prince Eugen Medal in 2005. In 2013, she was commissioned by the University of Cambridge to create a permanent public artwork in the city.
Ina Blom is an art critic, curator and art historian based in Oslo, Norway. Since 2001, she has been Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. She is a member of the editorial boards of Art History, Journal of the Association of Art Historians and Konsthistorisk Tidsskrift, and is a contributor to Artforum, Parkett, Afterall and Texte zur Kunst.
Gaby Hartel is a cultural journalist, radio broadcaster and literary translator based in Berlin and London. She has published extensively on contemporary art, sound and literature.
Esther Kinsky is an award-winning writer and literary translator living and working in Berlin and Battonya, Hungary. Her first novel, Summer Resort, was published in English in 2011. In 2014, she was longlisted for Deutscher Buchpreis, for her novel Am Fluss, based on a series of walks along London’s River Lea.
Thomas Macho is a philosopher, curator and professor of cultural theory and history at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Kulturwissenschaft, which he co-founded. He has published widely on music and art, metaphors of death, silence, and representations of contemporary identity.
Mark Ravenhill is a playwright, actor and journalist. His plays include Shopping and Fucking (1996), Some Explicit Polaroids (1999) and Mother Clap’s Molly House (2001). In 2012, he became the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Writer in Residence, and is Associate Director of London’s Little Opera House at the King’s Head Theatre. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian.
Jonathan Watkins is an internationally renowned curator and writer and the director of Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, United Kingdom. He has curated significant exhibitions in many countries and directed several important biennials and triennials, including those in Venice, Sydney, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Sharjah and London.