We are pleased to present Idun Baltzersen’s first solo exhibition at the gallery: Domestication. Idun Baltzersen was born 1987 in Trondheim, Norway. She is educated at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway and University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden. Since finishing her degree in 2014, she lives and works in Stockholm. She works cross-boundary, monumental and spatial with drawing and printmaking in various forms – on paper, textile and wood.
The exhibition Domestication mainly presents her woodcut works. Large plywood boards are processed with knives and chisel, to be used as originals. The images are printed by hand on different types of fabrics on the studio floor, which makes each print unique. After this the fabrics are cut and reassembled into large textile collages. These works are presented together with the woodblocks, which have also been painted to evoke the right expression. Some recent woodblocks have been cut into parts to resurrect as three-dimensional collages (sculptures). Idun describes the physical resistance as an essential part of the working process.
Working with woodcuts is actually a quite agonizing process. My back gets crooked, I get splinters in my fingers, it is hard. But unlike when I draw on paper, it’s the technique that controls me, and thus the result becomes a dialogue with the material. I think that’s a good power balance.
The title of the exhibition, Domestication, a concept initially used to tame and cultivate animals and nature, can also describe external and internal demands to conform to prevailing social norms. The works in the exhibition raise questions about self-discipline, submission and control over one’s own body. Idun Baltzersen’s imagery mostly depicts girls and women. She is interested in female heroes, martyrs and how women are represented historically, in art and in popular culture, but is also inspired by her own life experiences and current discussions.
I often think about my teenage years, how you as a woman suddenly go from being a child to an object for the male gaze, and the discomfort that follows. I look at body language and depict teens with hoddies, converse and insecure postures. They look away, into their own world. They are their own protagonists, all main characters in their own errant bodies, and each other’s antagonists, alone together. I give them authority and let them become monumental so that the viewer feels small.
By shifting the positions, she gives strength to the observed. It is a manifestation of teenage anxiety, melancholy and the right to be yourself – a reminder of the possibility to overcome anything that might come in one’s way.
Idun Baltzersen has attracted a lot of attention even though this is her first solo exhibition in the gallery. In 2014 she received The Anna-Lisa Thomson grant and an exhibition at Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden. The following year she was one of the recipients of the Fredrik Roos grant who exhibited at Moderna Museet in Malmö, Sweden. In 2016 she received the Bernadotte grant from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which involved a studio and exhibition in the academy building. The collaboration with Galleri Magnus Karlsson began with a group exhibition at Hellvi Kännungs, Gotland, Sweden in the summer of 2016, and continued with a renowned solo presentation at Market Art Fair 2017.