Current Obsession: Your work is concerned with the architectural, working with and changing the dynamic of spaces. How influential are the specifics of the spaces you work in, on the outcome of the work?
Linnea Dalstrand: How much influence the space has differs a lot depending on if I’m physically working in the space or for the space. If my plan is to really work site-specific, I can use 2 days or more to build the work and during that time the work can change a lot until I feel done. I mostly sketch directly in the space or with the space’s opportunities in mind. I also have specific forms or ways of draping that sometimes come from a sketching process in my studio or from another exhibition that I can use again in another space and with another fabric, like my own library. I feel that is an interesting way of working and something that always can be developed with space and material.
CO: Where did your concern with space and the architectural start?
LD: I think it started early in my bachelor’s at HDK-Valand Steneby. At the end of my first year, I spent some weeks in one of the school’s projects rooms where I built different structures using fabric, strings and knots, building tent- or hut-like structures for the body to interact with. It was an experimental process with no purpose or pressure for a specific outcome. I can remember it as a confusing time for me and I was, from time to time, stressed about not having an ‘object’ to show afterward. Reflecting on it now, I can feel like I really grew during that project and it’s a project I very often come back to in different ways.
CO: Is it important for you to create your own spaces and to have autonomy over those that you inhabit with your work?
LD: It’s very rare that I, myself, pick a certain space because of its, I don’t know, spaciousness or opportunities. I can feel a temptation to try working with a large architectural room or a white cube or whatever but not that I choose spaces that I think my work would fit in. I feel more that I’m interested to see what can happen in any space that I get to work with. And I can get inspired by some spaces more than others sometimes.
“I mostly sketch directly in the space or with the space’s opportunities in mind. I also have specific forms or ways of draping that sometimes come from a sketching process in my studio or from another exhibition that I can use again in another space and with another fabric. Like my own library.”
CO: The piece ‘Palatset’ has the feel of a shrine, or of making an offering. In ‘Study at the Gate’ you reference the gate; entrances and exits. Are you concerned with the coming and going of a body, in terms of life and death? Is there a religious element to this?
LD: No, not really but I can see that connection and that’s also a fine line that I’ve struggled a bit within these projects. It’s easy to step over that line when you mention something that is so metaphorical like a gate or entrance is… These pieces are connected, you could say it’s part of the same project and comes from a process where I worked with the associations of hanging draped fabric. How it can be associated with curtains, windows, doors but also contrasts like openness/closedness, hiding or showing, a front and a backside. Within that way of thinking and working around the theme of entrances or gates, I got into more architectural openings. It is also connected to my thoughts about fabric and its supporting structures like entrance pillars. And that is where I got into palaces and the piece ‘Palatset’ got its name from the untreated 7-meter-long fabric that I draped with a high opening with pillars or a window with curtains in mind. The idea of “porten” (the gate or the entrance) that these projects are surrounded by is more of a name to embrace my interest in draped curtains, openings and contrasts.
CO: You co-founded the digital gallery space Galleri Silk. Could you tell us a little bit about this project and your experience of working within a digital space, in contrast to the physical?
LD: It started during a discussion between me and my colleague in that project, Alva Noreen. We are both very interested in the documentation of physical work and art pieces. The transformation from something you can touch to something digital and maybe back again. It’s an interesting in-betweenness and we like to see it as an experiment of space that can raise questions about what the digital space does with physical work and vice versa. And we both work in and out of the digital space and its different properties in our own practices.
CO: I just wondered if you could expand a bit on your plans for the exhibition during Stockholm Craft Week?
LD: The exhibition at Konsthantverkscentrum revolves around the theme “In the rough, ” which is a title taken from Anni Albers’ book On Weaving from 1965. The theme inspired me to work relatively freely with my interest in constructions, the transience of textiles and sketchy processes. I can fall in love with a small test piece, a construction or inconstancy. For the exhibition, I wanted to work sketchily and allow myself to go on without any specific goal. What will be seen at Konsthanverkscentrum is an installation that consists of ´Avfallspåse IV´ and ‘Avfallspåse II’ (waste bag) that come from a series of waste bags sewn in silk.
What I plan to exhibit with Kåda is related to the work at Konsthantverkscentrum. I have worked with both during the same time so there are some similarities, both in expression and thoughts. It will be a site-specific textile sculpture on a smaller scale that has developed in my studio.
Kåda collective shows our own individual works at Craft week, which is usually not the case, or at least it has not been the focus of our previous exhibitions. But this time we wanted to keep it as a member exhibition.
This article was commissioned by Stockholm Craft Week 30 September-3 October 2021, and produced by Current Obsession, Veronika Muráriková and Lizzie Abbott.
Photographs by Linnea Dalstrand and Michelle Bondulich.