Conscious Matter

A large-scale sculptural installation with an association to a cell- or a prison-like space or house with multiple storeys. Slender, yet solid iron scaffolding becomes home to a plethora of other iron elements reaching from a simple to an elaborate state. Iron dust, iron ore stones as well as decanters filled with iron pigments and blood containing iron from the artist’s father. All are materials and elements included in the hexagon created by and within “Conscious Matter”.

Iron is a central element in the installation with both its tangible properties and its cultural and conceptual connotations. The significance of iron in alchemy is believed to be related to the human self-insight, and here serves as a curated gathering of multiple layers of consciousness.

With its trellis-like structure, “Conscious Matter” evokes associations to a cell, a locked space. Kalsmose indeed plays with the contrasting qualities of iron, suggesting its life-giving necessity (through pointing out that iron is the oxygen-transporting component of our blood) as well as hinting at the limiting, overwhelming features of iron when she uses it to compose a cage-like form. Like a self-created prison, a powerful fence, the work encloses – becoming protective but also restrictive and limiting at the same time. The metal construction is additionally inlaced with a long piece of thread; spinning around the work like the thread of human fate, the life cord spun by the Norns in the Nordic mythology or the three Moirai in Greek tradition, provoking questions about life and its never expected coming to an end.

The thread is a symbol of beginnings and ends, however, wired around the installation, rather than marking a clear beginning and an obvious end, it rather indicates a cyclicality and circularity; the non-linearity of our lives and our fates.

This work is a manifestation of Kalsmose’s delicate touch and her conceptual subtlety merged with the approach to the palpable matter. Suggesting that the conceptual, the conscious and the tangible aren’t opposites. Instead of excluding one another, they enrich each other. Almost paradoxically, the exaltation of matter points towards a world beyond the mere materiality indicating a realm beyond what’s visible to the eye and what’s appealing to other human senses. By combining her sophisticated conceptual approach with a very direct approach to processing materials and objects Kalsmose creates a vibrating, untamed work of art; a “Conscious Matter”.