Where are you?

15.11 – 14.12.2013


One of the first things we tend to ask when calling someone we know on a mobile phone is ‘where are you?’  This question expresses our need to locate that person in order for us to get some kind of sensory understanding of their surroundings. Is that person on the bus?  Are they in the supermarket or at home?  Is the space strange or familiar? In our wireless, mobile day to day lives, we often have no physical or psychological fixed point.  In contrast we have movement and speed; everything is in flux.


Behind the question ‘where are you?’ there is a greater request: the one asking the question demands that the other take a moment to create some kind of cognitive affinity between caller and recipient. ‘Where are you?’ is an access code for this shared space.


In the current exhibition Signe Guttormsen reflects on the digital written form that the modern human being generates on a daily basis, through emails, text messages, social media etc. The artist is concerned with the large number of written words that tie people together. With the perfection of the computer and the precision of connections, the rate of exchange between individuals increases; words become abbreviated, text characters become icons or code, and sections of text form images. The boundary between the written word and the image becomes blurred.


The series Backup Boards consist of painted, machine processed and perforated veneer panels. On the panels, the artist forms machine-carved passages of text that visually harmonised with the other elements of the work. The passages are composed of text messages collected from teenagers; the text is then cut out of the panels using a digital outline. Large parts of the sentences are missing; one may be able to grasp a few individual words, but without context they offer no meaning.


The second series in Guttormsen’s exhibition is Outfall. These works consists of letters cut out of aluminium composite panels. These groups of letters can be identified as the negative space left behind from the shapes cut out of Backup Boards. These letters are then placed on coloured surfaces throughout the gallery space.  In the work and the installation as a whole, surface and space visually merge creating a sphere where semantics and spontaneity meet.  The unfinished textual forms are visually completed by harmonising and conflicting with the colours and dynamic modification of materials.


Signe Guttormsen graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1991 and studied at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 1991-1993. In 2009 Signe Guttormsen moved back to Denmark having lived and worked in Amsterdam, Berlin and Cologne since the early nineties. Signe Guttormsen’s art is represented at KØS museum of art in public spaces,  Horsens Kunstmuseum and Sorø Art Museum. She created a piece for the rooftop terrace of Frederik VIII's palace at Amalienborg and this year completed building integrated art projects at both Ringsted Gymnasium and University of Southern Denmark in Odense.

Photo credits: Jan Søndergaard