Six questions for
Marie Raffn

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Marie Raffn.

Artist Marie Raffn
Lives in Copenhagen, Denmark

How do you describe your own art practice? 

In my recent solo exhibition An oval, a vowel, an e, I imagined how it would be to be situated in a spatial, enlarged, fragmented drawing – within an abstract language. As if the room were a piece of paper that invited considerations about two- and three-dimensionality. From a certain distance, the sculptural lines could also remind the viewer of a notational hum, a scribble or a score for sounds. Some of the forms could be reminiscent of creatures or recall species from all over the world.
In my sculptural work I have a tendency to scale up things in order to create a bodily relation to the viewer. Another example is a textual visualization of an ant hill (each letter as an insect) or a sonic interpretation of a knitting pattern used as a score; how could it feel to be inside a woven piece, something in progress?
Often my sculptural work consists of a larger circular system of many interconnected parts in an odd formalism. A kind of bizarre choreographic vision. I think through materials and the works often turn out in minimalistic, tactile shapes with ambiguous meanings and intertwined relations.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

In another recent solo exhibition aniso∙lepido∙di∙hymeno-ptera, I imagined an environment with immense insect wings fallen from the sky landing on tongue-like steel tripods. I imagined how these separated wings would change form intrinsically, and hybridize relationally and extrinsically with each other. “A kind of mosaic, modular evolution mixes and matches flowing wings, creating new emergent forms and patterns, that can perhaps more appropriately and inventively meet challenges of new environments.” Futhermore, exhibited drawings attempted to catch the flight of the insects by marking the outline of displaced wings from the exhibition space. Based on language, typography and rhythm, I have recently shown works with a growing interest in insects and the cognitive biodiversity of species. Insects are classified by their wings, -ptera, and linked to an interest in visual poetry I care about how forms, words and ideas collide and create visual thought experiments. My sculptures are rooted in material and textual worlds that balances explorations of thought and form. New connections between things arise through associations and games that welcome other ways of understanding.

What was your first experience with art?

Besides children’s art school since an early age, one of my essential experiences with contemporary art was Tino Sehgal’s “staged situation” This is So Contemporary. For a 13 year old it was a highlight (and a good laugh) to watch uniformed museum guards suddenly dance around the exhibition space singing “This is so contemporary, contemporary, contemporary…” at the German Pavilion of the Venice Biennale back in 2005.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

A curiosity for the unknown, oddly shaped things or sounds taken out of context, conversations, observations, (oulipo) literature, (concrete) poetry. Life.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Space, physical as well as emotional.
In my art practice I often think in layers and work along several tracks simultaneously: Playing around with materials in close proximity to my notebook in which you will find notes, scribbles, sketches, poems, visualizations of mind maps. Readings and writings are essential to keep my work going too. A combination of conceptual thinking and intuitive formalism in deep awareness of the context and of art history.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

The other day I stumbled over some works by Guy de Cointet and got quite curious of and impressed by his artistic practice in general – also taking the time he was active into account.

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