born 1969, NN, Iceland
There is a special meaning associated with hair in many cultures. Hair arouses feelings and perhaps even very early memories of a mother’s hair while nursing. It has strongly sensuous but also directly erotic associations and in our contemporary society has now also become linked with disgust – that stuff that grows wildly on our bodies and that we fight in an attempt to mould to commercial ideals of a perfect body.
Hair as a sensual and beautiful experience, something soft and cuddly, is a point of departure for the artist with the memorable nom de guerre of Shoplifter. She uses human and synthetic hair in her fantastic sculptural creations. Like many of her Icelandic colleagues, Shoplifter uses a strongly amplified colour scale. To describe it as colourful would be somewhat of an understatement. Exaggerated colour scales, incidentally, is a rather common theme even among non-Icelandic artists in this year’s OpenART.
Shoplifter works in large-scale sculptural installations such as this work on Oscar C in central Örebro. In colourful and highly dynamic shapes, she builds a playful inner world.
There really is nothing else like it on the sculptural art scene. The boundless imagination that has gone into the creation of her typical fairy-tale landscape brings to mind computer animation, yet in a physical and enticingly tactile form. This is art for the eye, of course, but there is also a very strong ‘touch’ dimension to it. You just want to caress and hug it!
The experience is bound up in a very primitive, pre-language feeling of sensual closeness and… motherliness?
Shoplifter herself says that her fascination with hair in all forms originates from an early childhood memory of finding her grandmother’s cut-off braid in a cabinet.
Hair as material and medium in artistic contexts has been around a relatively long time and emerged from a centuries-long handicraft tradition of collecting and using hair to make objects for various applications.
In the small and tightly knit Iceland, influences are as strong and dynamic as the country itself. Like her Icelandic co-exhibitors, Shoplifter is also very engaged in music. She is a member of several musical groups that work in different ways to advance contemporary pop music.