The visually remarquable – arts and crafts and Elvira Roslund Gustavsson
Often, but not always, art experiences are visual. The borders between what is defined as art, handicraft or design are not strictly drawn and probably shouldn´t be. Must art be beautiful, pleasant for the eye and skilfully made by hand? If so, in the two glass show cases when we enter the next room, there are many things that could be defined as art. In the case by the windows we find old banknotes and share certificates, which were often artistically designed. And besides – they have an agreed financial value, that sometimes increases over time. But can they be labeled art? Must art be valuable? Shall it be something to invest money in? Or may it be enough that it has an emotional value for one individual? Do we as humans have a need to decorate, embellish and to express individuality as well as belonging to a larger community?
If one of the themes in the show cases is about financial value and status the objects in the other one stem more from the private sphere. Some of them have artistic values, such as the beautifully hand painted swingle that was made with hope of marriage in 1850. Other objects probably had more of a personal value for the owner, such as the pen case in denim from the 1970s.
The objects have other purposes than just looking good. Most of them are not made by artists except for Torsten Billman and Elin Svipdal, whose ex librises are shown in the case with objects from the private sphere. The extension of the question What is art becomes Who is an artist?
Does art have to be craftfully executed, and does it have to be unique?
In the middle of the room there is a high ceramic sculpture, Elvira Roslund Gustavsson´s ”Too much, too quick” with the subtitle ”backbone”. In its statuesque shape it reminds of an abstracted skeleton with brittle and somewhat broken spinal pieces which like enlarged pearls are threaded on a string made of wire. They are partly glazed in red, and the shiny surface of the glaze contrasts with the uncoloured lustreless clay. At the top the red meets another construction of white and grey spinal pieces, or pearls. Together they form three rather round shapes almost entwined with the aspiring red resembling a spine. The sculpture stands on a bed of moss, once green. The piece talks about attempting togetherness and how trying to be a twosome living in symbiosis sometimes almost can tear one apart. The artist consciously tore apart and let the clay crack, which gives the feeling of wounds. The raw expression also enhances the material, the clay.