Anna Norvell

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Artist statement 2023

I work with painting, oil on canvas. Reading is an important part of my process, mostly political theory, philisophy and feminism. Working with art is for me a way to experience the world and a tool for critical thinking. I find my motives in my surroundings. A gaze, an expression or a mood catches my attention and connects to something I have read or wondered about. In this resonance things come together and form a picture.

My thematics evolves from a critical view on the capitalistic system, with it´s inherent patriarchy and colonialism. How to get out of our civilisations current situation with environmental destruction and growing inequality? How to deal with the immense weight and responsibility of the Anthropocene? In these dark times how can we find hope and power to act for change?

Some years ago I inherited twentyseven frames after my grandfather. They varied a lot in size and appearance, some very decorative and other just simple wooden frames. For a long time they stood in my studio without me having any idea of what to do with them. They had sentimental value for me and I didn´t want to throw them away. So I decided to make pictures for them. I found portrait a genre that was suitable and since I am terribly fond of alliterations I decided that the title of the project would be Posthuman Portraits. 

My startingpoint was thus the frames, portrait painting and theories about the posthuman. As usual I began the process with reading. What could posthumanism have to say about the condition of the world, about climate threat, colonialism, capitalism and cyborgs? Quite a lot apparently. The images that emerged were symbolic and surrealistic. They express feelings of frustration and grief, but also hope, courage and maybe a dark sense of humor. The frames established conditions that I had to deal with, both when it came to formats and estethics. It has not been an easy task but precisely because of that, it has inspired creative solutions. Maybe the necessary limitations of a sustainable future can also work like that? As an inspiration for creativity rather than a restriction? 

Posthuman Portraits is now finished and I have started to work on a new project which I call Dreams and myths of tomorrow. I imagine myself to be in the future, efter a successful transition to a fossilfree circular economy, with greatly reduced use of energy. What narratives will we build our identities around in that future? What will our dreams be? What qualitys will we value and what will we strive for? 

In my work with these questions I have felt a need to push myself out of my comfortzone. Therefore I decided to leave the safe haven that painting is for me and instead work with drawings in ink on paper. I think that the drawings´ resemblance to illustrations from fairy tales work well with the theme of the project. Maybe I will make murals of them or present them in the form of a book? I don´t know yet, but I am excited to see where this will take me.