INTERVIEW: Eva Steen Christensen on Messaging and Perception in Sculpture

Danish sculptor Eva Steen Christensen uses her work as a visual expression of female positioning in the world and a inside out view on structures and use of materials. We caught up with Eva to discuss her process, what has she has learnt since she graduated and how she connects with her audience.


How has your perception of sculpture changed since you completed your degree?

Making sculpture is a language of materials, of form and of the context in which the work is exhibited. Being an art student taught me a sensitivity towards these kinds of perceptions of the world around us, and it opened up the philosophical, psychological existential, cultural and political aspects ingrained in the creative processes.

 

eva steen christensen interview‘Carpet Room’ (2003)

 

Installations and sculptures – Can you define how you perceive those subjects and how you work towards combining them?

A sculpture is singular piece. It operated within its own parameters, and it can be moved to other locations, (yet each location influences any given object). Installation is directly linked to its surroundings. The location is a part of the piece.

 

eva steen christensen interview‘Spheric Pink’ (2019)

eva steen christensen interview‘Stol I’ (1995)

 

Your personal goals – What is your message and how do you research and perceive them? Do you have a “main goal” or are you continuously developing?

The true goal of an art-piece often lies embedded in the working process. I start out with an initial idea, but during the sketching and the making of a piece, thoughts materialise into conceptual ideas, that I could not have conceived without the working process.

Making art as a form of visual expression is ongoing and it develops continuously. But there are threads running through the body of work, and for the moment they evolve around ideas of negotiating a female positioning, about open and un-ending structures. In my work objects or materials are being turned inside out and up side down, as a means to dissolve og question the boundaries between the work and the viewer. These concerns reflect attitudes in society. There is an emerging understanding of the fact, that we can not see or understand our selves separated from the world around us.

Currently I am researching the 15th century grotesques, where architectural elements, botanical material, animals and figures intertwine in ornamental structures, creating hybrid forms of transformations. This also relates to surrealism, and particularly the surrealist women is a source of interest to me.

I am interested in the irrational, and in structures of change. A less rational approach might create space for a more sensitive understanding of our human positioning as a main influencer of the planet and of the destiny of humanity.

 

eva steen christensen interview‘Sheltering Sky’ (2013)

eva steen christensen interview‘Shell’ (2018)

 

Who are your target audience and how do you connect with them?

I don’t have a target group as such, but of course I have colleagues, friends and collectors that have an interest in seeing new work. At exhibition openings I like to give talks on work, so people can understand my thoughts/behind a piece/collection. In Germany this is a very common of doing things, and a great way to inform the audience about your work so they gain an understanding of who you are. Most contemporary art can be hard to access, because the definition of art today is so wide. It is an ever expanding field, which means that the tools of comprehension changes.

You have an extremely deep and valuable experience within the art industry, and I assume, a good depth of knowledge regarding life after graduation. Art schools today focus a lot on the process of the artwork, which is of course essential, but doesn’t reflect fully on life after graduation. Do you think art students are taught how to navigate the business of being an artist?

It is true, that art school does not educate the students in how to navigate within an art market. But I believe, that it is important to develop as an artist, to find ones own source of creativity before becoming aware of the commercial art market. The commercial art market is driven very much by personal relations, and I am not sure, it is possible to teach a formula for having success in the market. The work and the thinking around art must come first. It is not the price of an art work, but the content that can make an impact.

 

eva steen christensen interview‘Angel’ (2015)

eva steen christensen interview‘Fragments of Paradise’ (2015) – Featured image: ‘Thin Lines’ (2015)

You can view Eva’s back catalogue of work on her website and keep up to date with her latest work via her Instagram!


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