Arve Håland shows artistic research in Rom8
"Rust Never Sleeps: Making Paintings with Sulphate Ferrique and Other Unusual Materials" is the title of Arve Håland's artistic research which will be shown in Rom8 from 23 to 30 March 2012. Opening 23 March at 6pm.
Arve Håland, Associate Professor at KHiB, uses effects that we
would normally try to avoid - first of all rust, but also other
kinds of discolouration - for a meaningful, aesthetic purpose. The
closest parallel to that is of course the use of rust in certain
kinds of sculpture and architecture. The paintings are related to
his artistic research project at Bergen National Academy of the
Exhibition period: 23.-30. mars 2012
Venue: Rom8, Vaskerelven 8, Bergen
For many years Arve Håland has been fascinated by the aesthetic effects achieved by mixing sulphate ferrique with materials like cement, plaster, marble dust and other unusual and more or less porous materials and put it onto medium-density fibreboard (or just paper) to form a kind of painting. And as indicated in the title of this project, the most fascinating part is that the mixture has its own life. It does not just stiffen on the plate in a certain configuration, at least not right away, but undergoes various visual changes through the first days or weeks.
"Slowly, I have gathered a certain control over these configurations and changes. I have been experimenting with fibreboard and various types of paper (like drawing paper and paper for watercolours), and I have tried to mix the sulphate directly into cement or plaster, but also tried to dissolve it in water and polyvinyl acetate glue and apply it to the surface of the cement. In this way I have seen that the sulphate mixed into the cement may give a thick, relatively rich and stable colour, even with varied texture (more or less thick mixtures). But now and then the colour is reduced and disappears after some weeks, and a white salt appears. I have for instance noticed that if I put the sulphate on the bottom of the picture and cover it with marble dust, it is able to "bleed" right through several layers of the dust."
"In general the rather unique rubiginous colour that I can call forth with the sulphate ferrique (and that only with great difficulty can be achieved with e.g. a colour pigment of iron oxide) is the main point of my project because of the many layers of meaning with which it endows the pictures, aesthetically, metaphorically, symbolically."
Background and Broader Interest
One can perhaps characterize Arve Håland's work by comparing with other kinds of paintings and works of art that may come to mind.
One, maybe farfetched, example would be Neolithic cave paintings, paintings on porous, often chalky walls. The great difference here is that the Cro-Magnon people would use various kinds of pigment to depict animals etc. Behind the cave painting, however, must be an original observation that (what we understand as) spontaneous chemical processes in moist walls of a cave create coloured configurations that in the flickering light of torches may suggest animals, not quite unlike the shapes that appear in Håland's works.
Another example would be fresco painting. The similarity here is the use of wet, fresh, lime mortar or plaster that is applied to a wall by the fresco painter, and that you only see the final colours when the plaster has dried and reacted with the air. The difference, once again, is the use of pigment in the plaster, instead of relying on the colour that is created by itself through the chemical reaction.
Arve Håland's artistic inspiration comes from artists who work with materiality and the consonance between the intuitive and the controlled, e.g. Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Antoni Tàpies, Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter.