Vilde Løwenborg Blom: Skulpturen er ikke en kropp, men kroppen er, og den har skulpturen

6 – 22 November 2020

BABEL visningsrom for kunst is very happy to present “Skulpturen er ikke en kropp, men kroppen er, og den har skulpturen” (The sculpture is not a body, but the body is, and it has the sculpture) by Vilde Løwenborg Blom. This exhibition happens in relation to LKV – Lademoen kunstnerverksteder’s residency program where Vilde has been since September. 

01.11 Trondheim Open: Candy Sculpture workshop with Vilde Løwenborg Blom
06.11 Opening of exhibition 19.00
22.11 Artist talk between Vilde Løwenborg Blom and Carlos A. Correia

Vilde had a childhood that many of us can relate to, surrounded by food. The relation with food can happen because it is present in our daily life, or when it was desired because of its absence, when visiting someone’s place or the advertisements that many of us are exposed to. Vilde’s interest comes because of the abundance of it in her childhood. She says “ It’s almost a bit uncontrollable somehow, which I find very interesting”. 

Food is the main fuel for humans and in this case, for Blom’s  artistic practice. In this exhibition, the focus is on the food as the material for many explorations such as processes of moulding, repetition, smell and changes over time.

Tickets (free): 

Vilde Løwenborg Blom (b. 1991, Oslo) holds an MFA from Bergen Academy of Art and Design and a BFA from Trondheim Academy of Fine Art. For a longer period of time, Blom has worked with hard candy as a material for sculptural and performative work, and is particularly interested in the transience of the material. The choice of material has its roots in a fascination for manual and industrial production of food. Blom has previously shown works at Oslo Performance Festival (2018), the group exhibition PINK at QB gallery (2018) and Høstutstillingen, Kunstnernes hus (2017).


Interview with Vilde Løwenborg Blom by Agnieszka Foltyn

In Skulpturen er ikke en kropp, men kroppen er, og den har skulpturen at BABEL visningsrom for kunst, Vilde L. Blom explores shape, material, context, and colour. Through a multidisciplinary practice spanning primarily sculpture and installation but also including performance, text, and photography, Blom explores the relations between materiality and the body. Blom primarily woks with hard candy as a material, stemming from a fascination for manual and industrial production of food.

Blom holds an MFA from Kunst- og designhøgskolen in Bergen (2017) and a BFA from Kunstakademiet i Trondheim (2015). Blom has previously exhibited at the Oslo Performance Festival (2018), in the group exhibition PINK at QB gallery (2018) and at Høstutstillingen, Kunstnernes hus (2017). Blom has been working at Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder as artist-in-residence from September to the end of November 2020. The exhibition is part of Trondheim Open kunstbiennale.

“The sugar keeps on moving, performing by itself.”

Vilde Løwenborg Blom’s sculptures echo, reconstruct, and touch on sensorial and imaginative connections to the body. They reflect, through intimate and internal processes our associations to the body, our bodies, and to the strains and parameters of what having a body must feel like – be like. The corporeal body and its state of mind manifest as contrasts of organic and industrial materials, as objects, relations, something moving and changing to the forces of control and agency. Working with modelling, Blom explores intuitive shapes that begin to make spaces of their own – their own existence, and reasons thereof, and their own significance as bodies in dynamic processes of creation, of being and existing. They formulate through their presence an individuality and become individuals, at least in the eyes of Blom. 

Silicon molds twist and bend, reminiscent of inner shapes, of intestines, intimate inside parts that are hollow. These shapes are intuitive and their creation is a sort of absence of something that is then filled – an act of making the body manifest. Vilde L. Blom primarily works with candy as material, using the scent, composition, and culture of candy to explore our relations to it over time and space. “How do we know what’s hidden? How do we meet it?” Blom asks.

A large slice of caramel lies on the floor. Blom has been sawing it, cutting through it to make more manageable pieces. The caramel, to Blom, became a favourite daughter, of sorts. “When [the caramel was] divided into several smaller pieces, in a way they became more like step children that I did not like.” The act felt violent somehow. She adds, “But now I’m beginning to like them.” The challenges of exhibition practice are a mediation between the idea and the possibilities of the space. “I think it’s kind of playful letting go of an idea you’ve had for a long time,” Blom states. Working with smaller pieces has been a challenge, but now Blom feels excited. She continues, “It’s good in a way to not have a favourite you put on the pedestal.” Caramel is a very evocative material. It carries a lasting fragrance, conjuring memories and associations of candy, childhood perhaps or even the ever-present smågodt at grocery stores here in Norway. Smågodt – small good. Small pieces of something good. In Blom’s work, these sawn pieces of caramel become their very own small goods, holding a prominent place at the heart of Blom’s investigations. Another interpretation can be as a small snack, like when standing in the kitchen and taking a piece of chocolate, saying you just need a tiny snack. These moments are also evocative, quite sweet, one could say.

The exhibition Skulpturen er ikke en kropp, men kroppen er, og den har skulpturen at BABEL visningsrom for kunst is an exploration of bodies meeting one another. “To see an object in a holistic way is not a natural way to approach something,” Blom states. The exhibition manifests as a meeting of the body with other bodies in different forms and quantities, and in different materials. These multiple parts act as a fragmented whole, almost as a consciousness in relation between beings. Blom’s approach is that of curiosity and desire: a desire to see things come to life on their own terms, in relation to space and to those who share it. Blom says, “I [am] wondering if I need to change it or if I need to learn how to live with it.” This is a clear mediation between forces that hold their own agency and position within the idea as whole. “It’s difficult to know which way to go sometimes. To do whatever it takes for an idea or to adjust,” she adds. 

The process of creation is important to Blom, but it seldom features in the exposition of her work. “It doesn’t always show. Or it doesn’t show at all,” Blom says. “Whether to show more of the process, to do it, not to do it, and how to do it?” are questions that are always present in Blom’s investigations. “Sometimes the process is so fascinating. But I’m sometimes not so sure what there is for the viewer or what they need to know,” she states. Working with time-based material is a process of not only building up but breaking down, too. Over the past two months as artist-in-residence at Lademoen kunstnerverksteder, Blom has been spraying hard candy shapes with water every day. “There is something about building a sculpture that is so fragile that it will break down,” she says. Perhaps diluting these works over time is a way to explore fragility or to be whole in a different way. The contact with water quickly changes the material. It dilutes and spreads over its connecting surfaces. “It can be almost painful watching it change,” Blom states. “For a long time I tried to save [the works] or to preserve them somehow,” she adds. Now their presence spreads to wherever the watered-down candy has reached, organically along winding grooves, along table edges or on the floor. “In the beginning it felt fake, but now it has become my favourite part of the day, to spray [the works] with boiling water,” she says. 

Blom holds an awareness of what is necessary for something to evoke something else. This is emphasized in these interactions with existing material, wishing it into an animated state through specific actions that morph it into something else – spraying water or sawing to make new bodies. But what happens to bodies we create? They slowly change over time, they age, they lose their initial smell, they crack. Much like our own bodies. Blom explores the artist’s intervention within and throughout the process of creation, something that lasts much longer than the initial molding of a shape. Creation, past its initial spark, extends over long periods of time – in sun and rain or here with a daily spritz of water. These rituals of intervention are an important part of the mental process of recognizing the individual within the work – not the individual of the artist reflected in the work but the work as an individual. This makes the act of sawing into the caramel, the physical matter of this new body, a strong act. But, Blom says “It’s quite liberating to saw [the caramel] into pieces, to not treat them as so fragile.” She adds, “But it’s quite a temporary material in some way, so it’s good to treat it like it.” 

The idea of the meeting takes on new importance at the exhibition at BABEL: how this moment of phenomenological contact influences the affective structures of each actor within a given situation. Blom takes her time, investigates, tests and tries, and confronts obstacles. You can feel the tension within Blom’s work between the natural and the artificial, alluding to processes of alienation within industry and within artistic practice. How much of what you see is staged? What happens when you apply specific human designations onto inanimate objects? Blom indirectly addresses the problematics of consumption and histories of food through present situations that conjure contextual and cultural associations, specifically in Norway. And this is her power – the power of the audience to conjure through subjective association a collective meaning. And for that meaning to be relevant within the here and now of bodies within a specific space.

Photo: Susann Jamtøy/BABEL visningsrom for kunst