Artists: Anne-Karin Furunes. Title: ‘Wonderland’ 2014 Pekka Stokke. Title: ‘Vrimmel’ 2014. Art consultant: Ellen Reksterberg
Think of ten impossible thoughts before breakfast! This is artist and architect Anne-Karin Furunes’s appeal to people who view her artwork ‘Wonderland’ at Strinda Upper Secondary School. With the exterior walls covered in exotic plants, she has a clear message for the school’s pupils: Let curiosity rule, whether in botany or any other subject, or aspects of life itself. The title alludes to ‘Alice in Wonderland’, in which it is the White Queen who speaks wisely about using one’s imagination. Next to the main entrance, Furunes has put up a sign with the queen’s words of wisdom for Alice.
Anne-Karin Furunes has let massive drawings of plants spread across more than 500 square metres of the school’s white walls. The botanical idea is based on etchings that Carl von Linné used in his work with classifying plant species in the 18th century. Furunes have chosen some exotic species that von Linné probably never saw. Yet, the scientist still included them in his research. Such a challenge, and the use of drawing in research, send out the right signal at a school, according to the artist. Furunes has replicated the 250-year-old drawings as botanically imperfect as they were originally executed. The lines are made by perforating the aluminium cladding sheets, with holes in sizes varying from 11 to 22 millimetres creating the outlines, transitions and finely tuned nuances. Perforating metal sheets is an expansion of her distinctive method of perforating canvases, featuring for example portraits, for which she is internationally renowned. Alongside her artistic practice, Stjørdal-born Furunes has been Professor of Art and Common Space at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art/Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
In Pekka Stokke’s billowing sculpture wall, ‘Vrimmel’, in the school’s vestibule there is a changing play of different coloured lights. The natural light coming in through the windows also contribute to the sculpture’s effect. The artwork is a construction of birch veneer slats covering a large, rectangular area on the wall. At the back of the slats there are small, almost invisible lights mounted close together. The large-scale wooden installation continues, this time without the backing lights, up along a wide concrete column in the large canteen area, which regularly holds as many as 300 pupils at once.
The wavy physical shape of the sculpture conjures up an image of the air currents produced in a space where there are so many people moving. According to the artist, the wall is an interpretation of the space it is in and its function. The play of light and colour is not only visible to the users of the vestibule and canteen, but can be seen and experienced a long way away through the large south facing glass façade.
Pekka Stokke, originally from Inderøy, is probably best known for his light art in a variety of contexts, particularly concerts and stage shows. However, he has also made permanent light sculptures, for example in the swimming baths at Verdalsøra Lower Secondary School.