Anders Holen

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Anders Holen’s sculptural installations can be viewed in the light of a new interest within the art world for the human body as a building material. However, his works stand out because of their almost baroque richness of detail. For Holen, the body, usually in a fragmented form, constitutes a sort of post-human ensemble along with other objects and organisms. Anders Holen (1986, Skien, NO) lives and works in Oslo, Norway.

These sculptures, which appear as a kind of three-dimensional still life, are typical examples of Holen’s working method. He often creates his sculptures by making casts of various objects. These copies are then placed within a sculptural context, and a new cast is made of the entire arrangement. This process can be repeated in several stages, with new additions each time. With each step, the objects become
increasingly integrated, and the final result is an uninterrupted, unified form.

Some of the appeal of Holen’s sculptures lies in their dual nature: a cast is an abstraction and simplification of the original object, while it nevertheless preserves many of the textures and qualities of the original, whether this applies to the wrinkles and pores of a face or the leather of a shoe. What is fascinating about a cast is that it is both a representation and a direct copy. The cast is a substitute for the original, but it cannot really be called an artistic interpretation. It bears witness primarily to the presence of the object, not the artist who cast it. Thus the cast is reminiscent of analogue photography, which can also be perceived as a kind of copy. And like photography, casting has always held a controversial status as an artistic device.

Holen’s cumulative process can potentially be repeated endlessly, introducing further additions and combinations. Therefore there is also something unfinished about the works, as though the individual sculptures are in a state of gradual development. Because they are casts, they can be duplicated; several of the cast forms that are incorporated into one work also appear in others, albeit in new arrangements.