Jone Kvie in conversation with Jesper N. Jørgensen.
Spring 2004.


Jesper N. Jørgensen: I would like to focus on some of the terms and conditions I see in your artistic practise: ideology, phenomena, form, appropriation, reference and authenticity. Generally speaking, ideology is predominant in culture and as such also in the presentation, classification and reading of works of art: An ideology made up of the set of relations in the work, the context that the works are viewed in relation to, juxtaposed with the original intentions of the artist. Do you see your practise corresponding with this?

Jone Kvie: When it comes to ideology, I am aware of the presence of certain ideologies, narratives, within different cultures. Yet, initially, I do not view my practise in terms of ideology: In my work, I try not to see and operate in relation to such clear and defined terminology. To the extent that I relate to this term, it is more in the light of art as a contrast, or opposition to society and its ideologies. My choice to become an artist came out of a wish to “change the world” and I think that most of my works come out of seeing a potential for this activity in art. This is not meant in the way that the works themselves assert another clear ideology, but rather that they are results of the will to believe that thoughts and ideas can make changes. Even if they are only slightly noticeable, a modest proposal. As I mentioned above, I see art as an opposition to the established society. For me, contrast and opposition creates a sensation of independence, rather than liberty or freedom, and it defies what I experience as the dominating artistic ideologies. In this position I feel very comfortable as an artist.

J N J: To me this sounds almost too comfortable: It sounds like a withdrawal from the contextual relations your works inevitably are part of, as well as experienced and understood in the light of. Somehow it sounds very old-school, echoing the modernist agenda of placing art parallel to – rather than as an interventive part of – society. Am I interpreting what you said correctly?

J K: Somehow yes, but reality exists as influence and inspiration in the sculptures, and as motivation for my intention of communicating. I relate very strongly to the development of sculptural agendas in art, aspiring to extend the field or at least push it outward to extract something as a personal goal in my artistic endeavour. When you bring up the notion of the modernist agenda, I have to oppose this. Yet I can see that some of the things I am pursuing in my work might resemble the strategies of modernist movements. I do strive to reduce the expression to simple forms and terms, leaving any excess behind, my aim being to create works that are immediate. But I do not aspire to create something indisputable or even divine. As I said before, I believe in the idea as inspiration and influence and thus also as contemplation. In this respect I see the art institution and the museum space as ideal for this contemplation. The white cube is obviously not a neutral space but it has eliminated much of what I regard as interference, with close to nothing but the architectural space and the art left to relate to. As art works on so many levels, demanding time and interest, the institutional space presents an open, inclusive and focused platform to engage, communicate and experience in. If you sense a certain withdrawal in my way of relating to art and society, it is because I wish for a relation between the artwork and the self.

J N J: This last remark of yours calls for a question on authenticity. How do you reflect on the notion of the copy in relation to your work?

J K: I suppose there is a kind of copying taking place. In the field of sculpture, especially when working with the process of casting in various materials, there will always be a degree of copying in the different stages of the process – from model to cast underlying the whole process. No matter what media you work in, there will always be a transference and thus also displacement in the final work; it is a transformation of the reference as well as of the form, which is a mental process. I regard the sculptures as unique works in terms of the relationship I engage in with them on a personal level. You could call this a materialisation of the thought and idea which deals with the authenticity of the work and integrity of the artist.

JNJ: In terms of appropriation and references – the forms you make use of and the associations they bring – how important is prior knowledge in understanding the works?

JK: The visual and sculptural motifs in my works often reflect phenomena and form in nature, from stalactite caves to drifting ice blocks, whirlpools, mountain landscapes and meteors. Actually, they contain references from a broad range of diverse subjects including nature and the natural sciences, film, media and entertainment culture, everyday life and art history. The sculptures become a collage of the various sources, led by what communicates my intentions in the most direct way. I have constructed an archive of newspaper clippings and downloads from the Internet which I use for inspiration. But commenting on appropriation, it is important for me to state that I am not really interested in making the inspiration too apparent or in a way “disclose my sources,” as I do not want the works to be experienced as commenting, referring or plain ironic. But to return to the question about the specific references, there are obviously direct representations of nature in the works, though these phenomena can be of physical as well as psychological character, referring the physical nature as well as a mental space. In the early works from around 1996-1999, there are often direct references to nature but somehow it was much about searching for an abstract form. I recall an experience I had in 1999 of seeing a mete or in a museum for natural sciences. Fascinated by the form and expression, I saw the meteor more as an abstract sculpture than a scientific find. I liked the idea that what fascinated me was the form itself and its connotations and not its immediate references. This ambivalence of things and our experience of them is what constructs a core in my way of working. An example of this could be the notion of a meteor, which is a form I have used repetitively over the years. A meteor – like other astronomic phenomena – is fascinating as a phenomenon for most people, and summons up many associations on a psychological as well as a more literary level. Yet again, it is an ambivalent symbol as it represents wishes and aspirations on one hand, and on the other also can represent an omen – a forecast of imminent destruction.

JNJ: How do you see this ambivalence, or dualism, materialise in your work?

JK: The opposition denotes a presence in my view. There are often two sides to things, which keep them in flux and open for interpretation. If you look at some of my more recent sculptures, they might bear the visual associations to a volcanic outburst as well as the mushroom shaped cloud after an atomic detonation. The dualism in my work is also apparent on a formal and phenomenal level: the sculptures portray both true-to-nature and artificial images that invite, but at the same time appear somehow unapproachable. When it comes to the art historical refer- ences in my work – in the form of romantic nature themes and the idea of the sublime – I aim to dissolve the border between nature and culture, extending the metaphor from the sublime to daily life, from the mysterious to the banal. Talking about ambivalence, in this book Ronald Jones says of my works that they represent a sort of announcement, an announcement of both things beginning and their end. I like this view on my work.