Charlotta Östlund (b. 1973) gathers plants and dries them to serve as her raw material. She then bends the fragile stalks into infinitely delicate sculptures. Sometimes Östlund embellishes the brittle, snail-eaten leaves with petals, reinforcing the structure of her artworks with underpinned wire. Her sculptures are like poems, interweaving nature’s ceaseless cycle with a subtle lyrical sensibility.
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Östlund’s time-consuming, laborious technique requires extreme precision and concentration, offering a natural vehicle for the study of human existence. Being organic, her materials are never static; they are perpetually in the midst of a gradual process of metamorphosis, never intended to last forever. The frailty and transient nature of human existence is one of Östlund’s key themes.
The title of the exhibition is a play of the Finnish word kudos, which can mean either tapestries or human body tissue. The details of her sculptures resemble human organs such as a placenta or a busy network of capillaries. The artist sees herself as weaving together contemplations and materials that transport our gaze into a borderland somewhere between the physical world and the ineffable, fleeting universe of ideas. At the end of each thread, the viewer is invited to unravel a discovery of personal significance.
Östlund was born and educated in Sweden. She began her career as a ceramic artist. She graduated from the Stockholm University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in 2000. Östlund’s work is represented in collections including the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and Helsinki Art Museum HAM. The artist lives and works in Helsinki.
The exhibition was produced with the kind support of the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre Taike.Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Forsblom