THE SHAPE OF BEAUTY
Ursula Nistrup and Lotte Henriksen is an artist duo who truly captured our hearts a long time ago. Their ways of expressing themselves through their art, the beauty they so naturally bring out in their choice of material and the organic shapes that remenice of mother earth playfulness yet serious message for us is to say the least mesmerising. Ursula and Lotte transforms music, and materials and simply makes it into poetry.
This story is captured by the lovely Johanna Nyborg and we are so proud to use her words to inspire with Ursula and Lotte through her beautiful text.
- THE SHAPE OF BEAUTY - Interview and words by Johanna Nyborg;
We sat down with Artist Ursula Nistrup for a talk about her newest silk sculptures and the artwork ‘Deep Sea Foliage’. The conversation soon turned to how materials follow an initial idea and how she understands “beauty” as a strength;
“I believe that beauty is a profound quality in an artwork. A quality that engages and inspires the audience.
Soft and aesthetic shapes characterize the artwork ‘Deep Sea Foliage’, created by Artist Ursula Nistrup and Designer Lotte Henriksen. A work that is created, documented, and then recreated using the same materials but in new contexts and sizes.
A dialogue between form and material
Ursula Nistrup’s newest work consists of a series of silk sculptures inspired by both science fiction and the life found beneath the surface of the ocean. The work is constructed around a narrative that imagines the jellyfish-like sculptures inhabiting a completely flooded, underwater world - a scenario taken from Nistrup’s thoughts and anxiety about the planet’s future. The work initially consisted of a single large sculpture placed in the beautiful surroundings of Studio Oliver Gustav.
“Here, the sculpture was allowed to take up and occupy an entire room. Through draped silk shapes, a sort of oceanic universe was created: a new organism. The form of the work is the language I use to articulate my ideas. However, form, idea, and material are always in dialogue with each other. The current silk works were sha- ped using organza because it is strong and vitreously thin - almost floatingly light.”
The work was eternalized on film by Adam Jandrup and taken down afterward so that it could be recreated later in a different form and size.
“One of the ideas behind the film was to catch the working process. When we shape the silk, Lotte Henriksen and I are like some kind of organism with four arms and four eyes that can see the sculpture both up close and at a distance at the same time. We work carefully, silently, and with great concentration similarly to a sort of pantomime dance. As if in slow-motion, one hand pulls the silk one way, and we both observe from each of our perspectives how the shape of the figure changes. We do that again and again to create the shapes we think work best.
The idea shapes the work - the material shapes the narrative
Nistrup graduated from the California Institute of the Arts and is influenced by the conceptual art of the 1960s.
“The idea is always the first thing that hits me, and it points me towards what material to use. After being interested in sound for a couple of years - sound understood as music, as mythology, as existential energy - I am now mostly inspired by nature. Nature is endlessly fascinating. Even though we do know a lot about nature, it is still deeply strange to me, full of surprises, magic, and of course breathtaking beauty,” Nistrup says.
“When I say ‘materials,’ I use that word in the broadest possible sense. It refers to physical materials such as, for example, folded, vitreous silk organza, a bacterium that can change its shape to adapt to its habitat, the idea of the creation of Libyan desert glass, or the voice of Singer Edie Gormez oscillating between to notes. To me, materials can be both physical and evanescent,” Nistrup says.
According to her, art plays an all-important role.
“I believe that art’s most important goal is to expand the horizons of its audience, regardless of whether that is visually, intellectually, politically, or existentially.
Art should not simply confirm our understanding of who we are and how the world works. It should challenge our self-understanding and worldview.”
Art is allowed to be beautiful
For Ursula Nistrup, beauty is a legitimate quality in and of itself. And she allows her works to be beautiful.
“I believe that beauty is a profound quality in an artwork. A quality that engages and inspires the audience. ‘Beauty’ is something that took me a long time to get comfortable with. I think it is seen as something shameful to pursue in the art world, or at least it has been in the circles I have been a part of. As if the fact that it is beautiful makes a work of art less interesting. Now, however, I am reaching the conclusion that if beauty can aid my art and my stories engage an audience then that is fantastic. It is OK to be seduced by a work of art. It may contribute to the audience having a beautiful experience - a moment of quiet. Therefore, my works are allowed to be beautiful, captivating, and seductive.” //
The video artwork by Adam Jandrup was displayed at SPOT festival 2021 on the facade of the Aarhus Concert Hall.
The new individual works form a series called ‘Leaves’ that you can experience at the Studio Oliver Gustav in October 2021.