Mille Kalsmose is a Danish artist based in Copenhagen and New York. Her work spans from images to sculptural pieces and installation works. For decades her work has suggested themselves as mental survival kits, introducing new ways of exploring and understanding human existence and togetherness. The works embodies family constellations or, most importantly, the relationships between the individual and the world.
Mille Kalsmose’s work gives shape and materializes what is invisible to the eye – this is a driving force and an indispensable desire throughout the work. Combining autobiography with neuroscience, personal experiences with social inquiry, Mille Kalsmose creates artworks that resonate on a multitude of levels. She has worked with a wide range of materials and explores the architecture of memory, identity, psychological mechanisms, and spiritual life conceptions, thus creating a union of the unconfined in highly tactile manifestations.
Kalsmose holds a MA from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and has studied at the Bio Art Lab at SVA, School of Visual Arts, in New York.
Her work has been exhibited at ARoS, Aarhus Art Museum; at MAVI, Museum of Visual Arts, Satiago, Chile, United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA; CCA, Center of Contemporary Art, Andratx, Spain; La Virreina, Centre de Imagen, Barcelona, Cataluña; ITAMI Museum, Hygo, Japan; and Fundacion Valentin de Madarigada, Andalusia, Spain, Horsens Art Museum; Gether Contemporary; Den Frie Exhibition Center; Kastrupgaard Collection, and others. Her work is collected in several private and public institutions.
Mille Kalsmose is a Danish artist who is based in Copenhagen and New York. Her work spans from images to sculptural pieces and installation works. She gives shape and materializes what is invisible to the eye, which is a driving force and an indispensible desire throughout Kalsmose’s work. She explores the architecture of memory, identity, psychological mechanisms, and spiritual life conceptions, thus creating a union of the unconfined in highly tactile manifestations.
From a personal point of view, and often based on her own life experience, Kalsmose’s work could be characterized as a series of survival kits for navigating through the external world and its structures, as well as being introspective investigations. The meditative journey is key to Kalsmose’s inspiration. Our role in life cycles, our desire and especially our inability to control or restrain our life paths are questions that flow through Kalsmose’s works. How can we steer our lives? What do family relations mean? What are the most prudent guidelines in terms of living a harmonious and complete life? – These are existential questions, which have nurtured the spiritual aspects in Kalsmose’s personal quest and in her artistic work. Her personal terrain is a starting point, but her works constitute a kind of opening to a metaphysical understanding of human existence and its place in the world. Psychology, the life wisdom of the East, as well as science, all take part in Kalsmose’s continuing explorations of the inner life and our relation to our surroundings. Shamanism, sound healing, and chanting are examples of Kalsmose’s spiritual grounding. Kalsmose presents us with works that possess a strong tactile appearance. She often combines materials with opposing qualities, such as brass and paper or metal and silk, accordingly creating a sensual tension that reflects the intense and vulnerable topics in question. Kalsmose’s choice of materials spans widely, from ready-mades to animal skins, algae and clay. Metal is, however, a favourite and recurring material, largely due to its solid and persistent quality, whether shaped in the form of thin metal legs, as a brass grid, or as a large black vessel. She transforms immaterial phenomena, emotional conceptions, and suggestive concepts into tangible manifestations, often characterized by having an evocative nature. Recognizable elements that seem to resemble everyday objects are rendered abstract or are twisted towards representing a more poetic or existential content. Whether they are industrial or minimal in their expression, the components of Kalsmose’s works resonate a symbolic meaning and an in-depth search for life wisdom.
Art historian and curator