- Ground Floor
Norwegian visual artist, living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Nature and questions of human relations are recurring sources of inspiration and subject matters in Nina Ekman’s work. The connection to nature is deeply rooted in Ekman as the wilderness in North of Norway has been the backdrop throughout her childhood. Her relationship to nature is not only a personal longing, but a point of interest which has unfolded the topic of nature’s role to man and vice versa.
Painting was Ekman’s point of commence, where she expressed her reflections on memory, loss and grief which in essence was an exploration and navigation through her own encounters with death at a young age. The correlation between the inner and outer world, reconciliation and life appreciation have thus become a thread running through her praxis whether painting, etching or tufting.
Ekman’s work floats between paint and textiles, sculptures and etchings, and she is always experimenting with ways to stretch and challenge her own use of the media. Most recently Ekman has been drawn by the technique of tufting as a way of building textile sculptures. Tufting is a method of weaving carpets, but to Ekman tufting has become a playful opportunity to create singular pieces with an original appearance.
The molding, handling of needles, yarn and textiles are essential to Ekman’s fascination with tufting – the physicality of the process. A process which is usually mechanized and carefully planned, while Ekman works with her hands, confident in her craft, but open to detours from the initial idea if the materials guide her in a different way. Though Ekman is liberal in her ways of dealing with the materials she is also consistent in her efforts to portray nature as pleasurable and a privilege as well as an endangered place.
At first sight the tufted works might appear as simply fun, likeable and quirky, but most of Ekman’s pieces investigate the unsustainability of our modern lifestyle inviting the observer to reflect upon our linear way of consuming, fast fashion and the consequences of our neglect for the future of the planet.
Sustainability and circularity are also key in Ekman’s work production by the choice of materials, when Ekman uses second-hand clothes and excess yarn from the textile industry to create her pieces. Ekman even puts herself at the center of several experiments such as reducing the number of garments worn throughout a year or when questioning her own idealization of living in pact with nature. The dilemmas and paradoxes of modern life and the preservation of our globe are a driving force in Ekman’s work – urgent and inevitable, but the tufted huggable cactus and vivid palm trees are also somehow comforting utopias.