11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016



Ane Graff

In a sensuous voyage to the microscopic dimensions of the organic world, the series “ Mineral Breath, Metal Mouth ” completed in 2016, comprises a group of sculptures processed by casting, crystal growth, and printing fabrics with  plant, mineral and metal dye, which are then shaped into textile arrangements. The delicacy of these fabrics, which are laid down on parallel custom-made plynths reminds us of clothes for an invisible body. In Ane Graff's (1974 Bodø/Oslo) words, these works are “made to visualize how humans are inextricably rooted in, and entangled with, our physical reality. The human body is part of the mineral and metal world, as metals are being pumped through our veins and minerals build our bones.”

Every work of Graff is a hybrid in itself. Each sculpture has been made through a combination of reactive material processes, aiming to shift (or add to) the previously found material identity. Plant dyed silk and cotton has been soaked with salt and copper, creating the copper patina growths in the silk; the imprints of textiles are made on iron washed clay, originating further ceramic elements, an so on. Every material in the work, be it copper, clay, textile or mineral, has been through a process where it's been changed on a material level by another material.

Graff's works have the imprint of an alchemist. Assembling her own pigments, casts, and prints, she has been always fascinated by the empirical and abstract qualities of scientific thought and its implications as translating agents to the complexity of life. Taking advantage of the intersection between different disciplines and laboratories, her work utilizes both scientific knowledge, philosophical inquiry, and deep poetic research in the quest for material sublimation. She has both the skills of a virtuous drawer and haute couture fashion designer, but she prefers the indeterminacy of experimental ground to lay the rules for her synthetic material discoveries. MM


1. As a child, I saw an image of Niels Bohr presenting his atomic model, constructed in the shape of a flower. From then on I correlated the two, imagining the subatomic world filled with floating bouquets of fragrant atoms.

2. Lynn Margulis broadened my image of reality, shaping it into a place where walking, talking minerals were touched by photons of light, brimming with bacteria and fluorescent green, digestion-resistant algae. 

3. The cast-steel hand of Giuseppe Penone, pinching the trunk of a tree as it grows, introduced me to the idea of touch being material in nature.

4. Karen Barad showed me how all material, and all sentient beings, intra-act through touch.

5. In February 2016 I listened to the newly detected sound of two black holes merging; integrating, bending space-time, as gravitation brought them to their final touch.

6. It made me think of Bohr and Barad; of touch as a multitude, and a forever game changer. Not just a place in my mind where atoms and flowers merge, but reality as a constant material dance of all there is and can be, merging us in ways we do not yet know.