Exhibition: The Archive of the Forgotten by John K. Raustein
- Place Nordnorsk kunstersenters, Svolvær
With an explosion of colour, John Raustein’s spatial textile installation conjures memories of a different season.
In the summer of 2020, John Raustein was in Svolvær in order to start work on his upcoming exhibition at Nordnorsk kunstnersenter. Lofoten presented itself in the most spectacular way, with dazzling sunshine adding intensity to the colours of the town and the natural landscape around it. Well aware that the exhibition period would be in a completely different season, he started developing the idea of a larger textile installation in which memories of a different time of year could be introduced into the weeks of polar nights.
John’s exhibitions consist of highly associative textile installations in which a profusion of draperies cover most walls in the exhibition room. The works are usually made of the same simple and unassuming material: cotton canvas, often in a limited colour palette. The execution is based on apparently simple techniques, but working with the textiles requires many hours of sewing by machine and by hand, hundreds of metres of cotton canvas in small pieces and innumerable repetitions of textile-on-textile and fragment-against-fragment. In this way, the works appear as manifestations of time.
The exhibition at NNKS consists of several new textile works in diverse formats – everything from monumental to smaller, almost unnoticeable textile objects. In combination, the works transform the gallery space into a silent landscape where the boundaries of the individual works are erased. Viewers are invited to enter into an installation of recreated memories in the form of associative objects and sculptural textile works. What differentiates The Archive of the Forgotten from John’s previous ‘total’ installations is the explosion of colours – with associations to summertime in Lofoten. This exhibition is the first part of a trilogy, and the second part will be shown at Nitja Senter for Samtidskunst in Lillestrøm in 2022.
The abstraction of mental and tactile memories is central to John’s artistic practice. Through experiments and investigations of the conceptual, sculptural and associative potential of textile materials, he explores how vague memories can be given physical expression. He seeks to trigger something – an inner image, a glimpse of something, a colour, a sound, a smell, or a place – and strives to visualise a bodily feeling of existential disquiet. He concentrates on the unique ability of textile materials to carry stories and memories.
John Raustein (born in 1972 in Stavanger) lives and works in Oslo. He studied at Bergen National Academy of the Arts and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation in Copenhagen. Raustein has held solo exhibitions at institutions such as Kunstnerforbundet (Oslo), Trøndelag senter for samtidskunst (Trondheim) and KRAFT Bergen. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Norway and abroad, among others, at Zhejiang Art Museum (Hangzhou, China) and in the exhibition Nålens Øye (The Needle’s Eye), which was shown at KODE (Bergen) and the former Kunstindustrimuseet in Oslo (now part of the consolidated Nasjonalmuseet). Raustein’s works have been purchased for the collections of Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum (Trondheim), Nasjonalmuseet (Oslo), KODE (Bergen) and Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (Kristiansand).
The exhibition is supported by Regional Project Funds for Visual Arts from the Art Centers in Norway and the Visual Artists' Remuneration Fund.