Gjertrud Hals - ULTIMA Red Gold - Galerie Maria Wettergren - Design Miami/
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Gjertrud Hals


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Ultima’ (2015) by Norwegian fiber artist Gjertrud Hals, is made by a special knitting technique invented by the artist, combining cotton and linen threads hardened with natural resin. This featherweight vessel hardly touches the ground. Its size and lightness contradict each other in certain ways: it seems to levitate and appears almost like a vision. Its ambiguous presence is further enhanced by its incapacity to contain anything (other than itself) due to its soft, perforated structure. It is self-contained so to speak. Yet, in spite of its delicate transparency, it conveys a feeling of quiet strength. The shell form of the ULTIMA pieces is central to Gjertrud Hals’ art. In the words of curator, Tove Lande : “For Gjertrud Hals, the shell is both an ideogram and an archetypal symbol. She prefers to use dense symbols that may encompass several meanings, and for her the shell is precisely that type of symbol. On the one hand, it represents the protective membrane between life and death; on the other hand, it is a symbol of the jar or vessel. In addition, the shape strongly reminds her of the shells she used to play with as a child on the beaches of Finnøya.” Indeed, Gjertrud Hals compares the shell to an organic membrane – at the same time protecting, fragile, fatal and liberating as “Premature fracture of many fragile protective shells or membranes means almost immediate death or destruction. On the other hand, a cleavage at the right moment may signify life liberating itself or even an idea or thought breaking forth and materializing itself in creativity”.

Materials: Linen and cotton threads, pigment, epoxy.

Gjertrud Hals


I was born and raised on a small island on the north-western coast of Norway, and this has to a large extent influenced my artwork. As a seasoned traveler I have observed many different cultures. Much of my artistic work is an attempt at expressing the connection between the islands micro-history and the worlds macro-history. I was educated as a tapestry weaver. However, I soon started experimenting with other techniques. My breakthrough came in the late 1980s with Lava, a series of one-metre-high urns made of cotton and flax pulp. These vessels mark my transition from textile to fiber art. I make objects that vary in nature and in the techniques applied: I cast, spray, cut, knit and weave..Like gathering world wide myths and experiences, collecting material and objects is also an important part of my work process. I do enjoy the fact that I can creatively act as I please, use whatever material I wish, be severe and meditative one day and playful the next.

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    105.0 x 95.0 x 105.0 cm (41.3 x 37.4 x 41.3 in)

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