Norwegian artist Rina Charlott Lindgren first came to our attention as one of the artist in Residency at the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dalsåsen.
She was born in Tromsø, Norway but now resides in the culture hub in the centre of Europe, Brussels.
“Alignement IV”, wood and graphite 2015 and “Glacier”, pencil on paper, 2015
Art historian, art critic and curator Joakim Borda compiled a summary about Rina, talking about her as an artist, her works and style. Describing her interpretations on Norwegian Goth also known as Nordic Gloom, Joakim reflects on this young artist who is increasingly becoming respected within this art genre.
“Collection”, graphite and pencil on paper, 2015 and “Collection II”, graphite on paper, 2015
Mysteries of Ocean – Reflections on the work of Rina C. Lindgren
It is twilight in an almost barren Birchwood forest, with ghoulish green reflections tainting the scarce foliage clustering on the top of naked stems. In this sort of dark gloomy forest well known from Scandinavian folklore with its many tales of trolls and sprites, a portal into another dimension opens itself in thin air, white light streaking out it. Like few other artists of her generation, Rina C. Lindgren knows how to create enigmatic images that are as uncanny as technically exquisite.
I have had the privilege of working with Lindgren on several curatorial projects since she graduated from Trondheim Art Academy in 2011. In that short time she has become one of the most promising exponents of what has been described as Norwegian Gothic, or Nordic Gloom – a contemporary interpretation of Gothic aesthetics within contemporary art with a particular Scandinavian sensibility. In her book “Heart of Darkness: a Poetics of Darkness”, Anne Williams describes the essence of Gothic conventions as the systematic representation of ‘otherness’. The basic formula of Gothic representation can often be reduced in opposites such as good/evil, nature/culture or male/female. It is in the tension between such opposites that the Gothic appears in fiction and art.
“Sample”, pencil on paper and collage, 2015
Choosing often to work in pencil on paper, Rina Lindgren deal with a string of themes, which can be divided in motifs that closely connect to the symbolic imagery of Romanticism, such as ruins, caves, dead trees and stormy seascapes, “the dangerous mysteries of ocean” Mary Shelley described in her classic Gothic novel Frankenstein (1818). These works can be seen as commentaries on the Romantic idea of the terrible Sublime, awe-striking and frightening at the same time. In a seminal work entitled What is left Behind III (2011) a buried young man is consumed by the roots of a tree, bringing to mind the corpse brides and vampiric phenomena of Gothic horror.
“Fall is a feeling”, pencil on paper , 2014
Parallel to this, Lindgren also explores a more intensely psychological landscape rooted in her own personal history. Born above the Polar Circle in the Northern Norwegian city of Tromsø, Lindgren is no stranger to “the land of mist and snow”, as Coleridge describes it in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798). In fact, a recurrent theme in Lindgren’s work revolves around the ancient coastal culture of her home region, and her own family history with a seaman father leave biographical traces in both her drawings and sculptural work. Recurrent motifs connected with the Northern coasts, such as lighthouses, fishing boats and fjords are paired with three-dimensional and collages works that incorporate found objects from an inherited family house in Lofoten, as well as memorabilia of her father’s life at sea. These works resemble reliquaries of private devotion, nostalgic perhaps of a culture nearly extinguished by modernity.
“Solgløtt III” graphite on paper, 2014
Recent works however, seem to move away from the previous fascination with Romanticism and nostalgia. Although architectural details have always featured prominently in her works as traces of culture, lately Lindgren expresses a particular interest in the formal aspects of architecture. Walls, windows and ceilings organise space, ultimately defining the limits between inside and outside. Again we can trace the basic dichotomy between nature and culture, but now the artist turns a more scrutinising eye towards the latter. Paradoxically a long stay in the remote surroundings of Lofoten seem to have had a restricting effect on the artist’s need for visual representations of northern Norway, replacing them for a more abstract and culturally disassociated imagery, although natural phenomena like the sea, forests and skies still play an important role.
“Days are floating through my eyes II”, graphite on paper, 2015
Although a young artist in the early beginning of her trajectory, Rina C. Lindgren’s great promise lies in the consistency of her work, in both it’s trueness to a subject matter that is poetic and uncompromising in its draughtsmanship.
The next solo show from Rina, titled “Wind blown blue”, will be in Bodø kunstforening with opening 1stAugust.
Photos credited to Thomas Falstad