Anne Brandhøj: The narratives of wood

af | 20. mar, 2022 | ENGLISH

Matter at Hand, Anne Brandhøj. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Matter at Hand

Matter at Hand – Ten Artist in Denmark is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation and the American gallery Hostler Burrows. The exhibition opened in New York in Autumn 2021 and is now showing in L.A, the gallery’s second location.

Matter at Hand is also a catalogue with ten condensed portraits by me, among other texts. I have been given the permission to publish the portraits on my platform.
The ten artists are:

Anne Brandhøj
Stine Bidstrup
Astrid Krogh
Jakob Jørgensen
Bjørn Friborg
Hanne G
Maria Sparre-Petersen
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
Yuki Ferdinandsen

The team behind the co-lab is:
The Danish Art Foundation
Hostler Burrows; Juliet Burrows and Kim Hostler
Curator: Nanna Balslev Strøyer
Photographer Dorte Krogh
Writer: Charlotte Jul
Translation: Dorte Herholdt Silver
Graphic design: Laura Silke og Line-Gry Hørup
Co-editor, US-translation: Juliet Burrows

www.hostlerburrows

Furniture designer and artist Anne Brandhøj is one of the Danish artists in the exhibition Matter at Hand – Ten Artists in Denmark, showing at the American gallery Hostler Burrows with locations in L.A. and New York.

Anne Brandhøj draws out the qualities and characteristics of wood in her work, highlighting and honoring the imperfections that represent natural variations in a material that is as old as … the beginnings of life on this planet? Knots, cracks, resin pockets, fungus attacks and variations in color are present as narratives, each contributing to the story of the wood. By accentuating these irregularities, Brandhøj signals that her pieces are born, shaped and proportioned by nature and on nature’s terms. That they are sustainable in form and content, in process and outcome.

As a recent furniture design graduate, Anne Brandhøj was not moved to design new, flawless products, and while working on her graduation project at the Royal Danish Academy-Design, she was able to go into the forest and witness how trees became the planks that arrived at the workshop. In the woods she absorbed any knowledge that the local foresters were willing to share with her – and later, she learned how to cut down a tree. Brandhøj was fascinated by the slow growth cycle of trees, spellbound by the wonder of opening up a trunk and seeing what lies hidden under the bark – the mystery of traces and stories. 

Matter at Hand, Anne Brandhøj. Foto: Dorte Krogh

In an ideal world, it takes up to 20 years to dry a log with minimal stress to the wood. Brandhøj experimented with a faster method, which often resulted in cracks. She became focused on these cracks, on the conflict of the smooth, processed, perhaps oil-finished wood and the natural, tactile knots or cracks, which most people are not accustomed to seeing or touching. Brandhøj believes that the only way to read the full story of her works is to touch them, to feel the variations of the surface by running one’s hands over it, how rough turns to smooth, and the fingers intuitively stop to examine the irregularity. To explore its unfamiliar feel and unique appeal.

The contrasts anchor the objects and create a tension and an inner balance in works that often stand upright or feature a flat surface, reminiscent of furniture. Brandhøj’s background as a designer is easy to spot in her works, which contain both abstract and concrete aspects and act as a link between nature and culture. Her creative practice is driven by a goal of eliminating superficial objects that do not relate to anyone or anything. In order to be in the world, an object should connect to people and to other objects, just as we do in our lives – in relationships that develop, are used and worn and get a few dents and scratches along the way.

Brandhøj spends many hours a day in her workshop. Prior to arrival, she may have been to the forest to find the perfect piece for her next project, which she carries home on her cargo bike. It is necessary that Brandhøj engage in every step of the process, including the heavy lifting, in order to maintain her dialogue with the material. Brandhøj always works in fresh wood, which she shapes and then leaves to dry for 6–12 months. After drying, a round object may become oval or some other shape entirely, at which point she re-engages, reshapes and reinterprets the material, because she has learned through her practice that wood has a mind of its own. Wood breathes and gives, depending on air humidity and other factors, and as a maker she has no choice but to work with circumstance – to balance the will of the wood with her own artistic will and motivation.

Matter at Hand, Anne Brandhøj. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Matter at Hand

Matter at Hand – Ten Artist in Denmark is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation and the American gallery Hostler Burrows. The exhibition opened in New York in Autumn 2021 and is now showing in L.A, the gallery’s second location.

Matter at Hand is also a catalogue with ten condensed portraits by me, among other texts. I have been given the permission to publish the portraits on my platform.
The ten artists are:

Anne Brandhøj
Stine Bidstrup
Astrid Krogh
Jakob Jørgensen
Bjørn Friborg
Hanne G
Maria Sparre-Petersen
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
Yuki Ferdinandsen

The team behind the co-lab is:
The Danish Art Foundation
Hostler Burrows; Juliet Burrows and Kim Hostler
Curator: Nanna Balslev Strøyer
Photographer Dorte Krogh
Writer: Charlotte Jul
Translation: Dorte Herholdt Silver
Graphic design: Laura Silke og Line-Gry Hørup
Co-editor, US-translation: Juliet Burrows

www.hostlerburrows

 

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