By Cathrine Bourlet
Professor from Sorbonne Paris.
Expert in judiciary teknik and scientific roof art plast Art, and history of art.
Expert chamber Suisse.
Art expertise, at Museum Louvre in Paris, Guggenheim in New York, and other Museums around the world.
Member of AICA, Art International Critic Association.
”It fascinates me that an object, which apparently is dead, such as the sculpture, can evoke so many emotions and create so much life”. These are the words of Bob Rickett – and they match the work of Karen Salicath perfectly.
Karen Salicath is a young Danish artist, sculptor and ceramicist, born in 1968 and graduated from the Danish School of Design, in Denmark, Copenhagen in 1991. Hereafter she has participated in countless exhibitions throughout the world – and has received a number of foundations and awards from the international art scene.
Her universe contains graceful sensual bodies (often feminine) carved in granite or shaped in bronze, in deep and mused silence. As an inheritor of the proud traditions of the sculpture, Salicaths work speaks both the ancient and the modern language – with elements of both.
The themes are most often inspired by the Christian, the Greek and also the Nordic mythology: The Engel, the Seraph, Leda and the Swan, the sons of Gefion. This last myth, Nordic and popular, was the main theme in a comprehensive exhibition presented at Gallery Art Front in Tokyo. Keen on creating a united room – but also communicate the story of the sons of Gefion – Karen Salicath arrayed the different sculptures in a kind of installation The Water Room to which the American musician Bob Rickett had composed an audio tape.
In this work Salicath was interested in the four elements, which were presented emblematic in the myth about the Kings four sons in the Swedish Gefion. Especially the element of water was accentuated, recalled in the glass base of the sculptures in reduced size – and especially by the music of Bob Rickett Blue Water. Karen Salicath regards this element, water, as a symbol of emotions and love.
Simultaneously with her gallery work, Salicath has produced works for the public audience. The delicate, feminine lines, sometimes monumental, are opposed to the stiffness of the materials. The appearance of the bodies or rather their positions – both graceful and powerful – create a simple and minimalistic expression- and emotional task. More often than not the figures represent or pass on a visible and catching feeling to the viewer.
The choice to put her work at the disposal of a public audience shows the artists goodwill to make her art approachable – but also her interest in creating an interactive element between her sculptures and the busy citizen. One of the most important pillars in Salicaths art is the universal: Therefore her messages are simple and the bodies impersonal in the way that detailed features of face, hands and feet are deselected. Her forms are densified. This anonymity makes the artist create more and more abstract persons, which loose their divine and mythological qualities so that they become more human.
The pursuit for beauty is another fundamental character of her work. The lightness in the configuration, detailed conducted – translates the form of ancient heroism which she tries to transfer to her sculptures. Salicaths work melts naturally together with the subtle rhythms from the music and the lightning which stages the bodies – and give them life on their bases of glass and reflections. This kind of installation, strengthen our perception of total beauty, which is a natural step.
The art of Karen Salicath is built on past artistic and technical values, which are the Universal beauty. She has shown that she can evolve so that her work remains to make sense and she shows thereby her ability to respect the past and at the same time stay in the present. Face to face a serious and fascinating calmness shows. The stone and the bronze wrenches under the pressure of new emotions – and her inspirations are completely without time and place. Her art is modern filled with dreams, reflections and eternity.
THE ART OF KAREN SALICATH: PLEASURE AND ENTHUSIASM
By Stig Åke Stalnacke
Swedish and International art critic.
Member of AICA, Art International Critic Association.
The autumn day is cold and pale. Not at all like some days in autumn, flaming beautiful. I see no nature which blaze of autumn colours and a wind tantalize my cheek and my eyes as I walk the small distance to my mailbox.
It is a day of sadness. The affection seems so far away.
In my mailbox lies a package. It contains an art book.
I receive many art books throughout the year. Sometimes I feel so utterly tired of art. I have seen so many meaningless decorations, art without content, that I have become a bit blasé.
But you never stop being curios.
You never stop chasing the stroke of tenderness in art as well as in life.
I open this new book and suddenly the darkness, the distaste, the tiredness seem gone. Suddenly I feel the stroke of fervour, beauty and passion in my eyes and in my heart.
Precisely that; I have meet this rarity called fervour.
For a while I experience what might be called love.
The book, this book with pictures of artworks, is a book presenting the work of Karen Salicath.
With these pictures the hope of love once again finds a place in me. I realize that central and important things happen when humans find at place in art.
When fervour takes a place in art, miracles can happen.
Until this very day, I did not know the work of Karen Salicath. The art scene in Sweden can sometimes be quite small and smokefilled.
To tell the truht and be quite bluntly, I have not seldom seen pictures of love in Danish art.
This is just what the sculptor - or should we say sculptoress? - Karen Salicath tries to do.
Work after work I enriches by her absolute pitch for the language of fervour.
Combined with the inherent sensuality great things happen. Karen Salicaht gives an old art critic renewed comfort in the beauty and indispensability of art.
This in a time where the autumn wind haunts me and in a time where I have almost given up hope concerning the qualities of art.
It was a wonderful day.
To say that this livingly artist faces spirituality is not sufficient.
Which art do not strive for spirituality?
I see in her work such a direct and unconditional tenderness that I wonder how she manage to capture and manifest.
And at the same time I realize that Karen Salicath consistently seeks to describe the beauty of human architecture and what her work does to me.
I realizes what her work wants from me.
He work reminds me of things I have almost forgotten. It is the sort of art that reminds us all of something sacred and great.
That humans are grand masterpieces, miracles build for joy and love.
Love can be a big and frayed word.
As an art critic and as an writer I have sometimes used it.
Not every time I see a piece of art. No far from it. Sometimes, just once in a while, I have used it when I have marvelled at the sight of an artwork. I shiver.
That is the way it is with the art of Karen Salicath.
That is the way it is with her sculptures and her paintings.
It reminds me almost intensively and tangibly of the fact that I am human and part of a living miracle.
With simple forms and symbols she manage to create images of human emotions, fear, dreams and instincts and yearning.
She makes her works for us to see the secrets of life and its beauty.
Words always call for limitation. An old art critic as my self would know by now.
What I have said so far also apply to her paintings.
They contain the same radiate and beautiful energy and knowledge of magic.
I would like to point out that this is about art that has given my mind and heart a wistful excitement.
When the dimensions of life reflect in the art, like noble vine and spring water it intoxicates and infatuates.
It i a small prayer to request.
Tank you Karen Salicath for this delightful enthusiasm.
Stig Åke Stalnacke
The Staing Angel
By Torben Weirup
Danish art critic and editor :
Humanity is the crux of the matter in the works of Karen Salicath. And its destiny. The basic sense of being. Given that this is hardly a unique subject among artists, one may ask what then makes her stand out among her peers.
What immediately striking is that she's not afraid. Of being out of fashion. Of letting her works carry a sense of pathos. In them are a certain mood and an idiom not unlike that conveyed by memorial monuments. Anonymous in a way well suited for universal messages.
The sculptures of Karen Salicath are silent and grave. Her human figures are often hunched; perhaps in prayer or meditation; or apprehension and bewilderedness. Many seem weighed down. Their silent faces bowed to the ground. Only reluctantly and with effort can some of them raise their head, and then it seems as if they are gazing towards an altar in subdued anticipation.
Even when the figures are paired life isn't easy. Embraces firsthand points to a profound togetherness and one is reminded of Plato's concept of man and woman as originally one being, on a perpetual quest for reunification ever since separation. But alas, as the sexes unite the fusion appears suffocating and one gets the distinct impression that love has no part of it.
There are those of her figures that seem so weighed down, so devoid of hope, so as to suggest a society so stony, that its members have completely surrendered personhood and have descended into one massive barren architectural structure.And then again; there is yet hope in the works of Karen Salicath.
As the rock tumbles down the mountain, Sisyphus proceeds to drive it back up. Gabriel weeps in one of the figures, and although one should be careful in applying a Christian existential interpretation to Karens work, the angel is there.
There is a way out of the shadows, there is yet light in the world and that message is ever-present. As well.
By Torben Weirup ABOUT KAREN SALICATH
Royal Danish Consulate in Sydney
TRUST art-transport.dk SAS Cargo
by Artis Spectrum Volume 12.2004:
Karen Salicath's forms are graceful stalely pieces.
There is a great careful simplicity and preservation of bare and minimal beauty in her sculpture. Black Lady, one of Salicath's representational works, shows a monumental woman rising out of af smooth black granite base.
The woman is like a siren - perfect and curvaceous in the sense of heroic classical figuration. Her features are reduced to smooth graceful bronze swells of flesh. The whole figure feels unified and empowered by SAlicath's union og string materials with a monumental form. She uses the body, the "corpus" as she describes it, to build a common starting point.
Her figues embody a type of universal generality that links all people. Working with archetypical forms ske builds a language that speaks to everyone. Salicath, talented across multiple sculptural mediums, graduated the Danish Design School in 1991.
She has particaped in many exhibitions throughout Scandinavia and London, and received numerous stipendies for her work.
The Danish art critician Erik Meistrup writes the following
(in translation from Danish) about KAREN SALICATH:
Karen Salicath is a sculptor with a sensitive feeling of the
presence of elements in the figures and their internal relationship
in space. A special gentle balance always exists in the interplay
between the figures in her sculptures and between the single figure and us as viewers.
One could also say that Karen Salicath is working with the creation of social sculptures - social images - that weaves into the classic tradition,
where excellent Danish sculptures in the 20th century have
their natural place (names as Anne Marie Carl Nielsen, Kai Nielsen,
Gerhard Henning, Astrid Noach and Hanne Varming). Karen Salicath
builds on this Danish tradition and gives it her own distinct and
personal expression, which goes directly into our present day time.
Sculpture as it is known from the long history of Egypt and especially of Greece and later of Rome deals with the human being. Man as a frame, as a god, as a being and - with the revoltuion in art also as a pure form. The Greek expression of form has developed since the 7th century B.C. and deals with the fact that sculpture becomes an abstract and universal expression of the human being. It is transformed to a geometric expression which had to look like a human being but at the same time be an independent aesthetic object. The statue should express the perception of beaty of that time.
By use of elements of composition such as symmetry and repetition of lines and curves in different scales. At first the statue was in a relaxed posture, twistings or bendings were avoided to maintain symmetry aorund the vertical axis.
In later periods the beauty of symmetry was combined with action of a being. The more practical Romans gave sculpture concrete and actual expression. These expressions of form were the inheritence which Michelangelo's point of departure in the renaissance. Later in the beginning af the 19th century Bertel Thorvaldsen used this language of form in his statues with their clear outline and simplicity of composition to create a sublime ideal. This very difference between ideal and reality becomes the driving force in the modernistic development of the aesthetic form of sculpture.
Modernism meant going back to the original Greek perception of the innate abstract form in sculpture and creating new expression of forms. The most radical being a totally abstract sculpture of pure geometrical sculpture. In the tension between classical expressions and the release of sculptural possibilities by modernisme an ocean of intermeadiate forms and compositions emerged.
Karen Salicath's expression of form:
Karen Salicath stands securely in the late-modernisme and therefore
combines freely elements from tradition with modernistic elements ,
which will create the expression she seeks. In this process she creates her own form of expression, where classical elements are used to create immediate openness and accessibility to the sculpture. It is characteristic that immediately part of the essence of sculpture can be decoded and that this essence does not consist of outer drama or descriptions of aggression or action. As one can see in the sculpture "Michael", where the archangel has to lean on the flaming sword, which he no longer either can or will raise. The sculptures desribe emotional states expressing themselves differently according to form and surface of the material, but these are states clearly female and feministic in their basic structure and often have exactly a shape of a woman as a central motive.
Karen Salicath not only draws on tradition in relation to form but also on the mythological tales which have become artistic and psychological archetypes. Here are angels, mermaids and the tales from Greek mythology of love and betrayal are here experienced and placed into the form and tale of today.
Again and again we seek something fantastic as frame of experience and of explanation, something out of this world, to describe incredible things in life, we need big frames when we meet love in one of its many forms and are struck by muteness because the experience is larger than language.
One might also say that Karen Salicath not only uses her eyes but to the same degree registers the surrounding world with subtle ability of social feeling of measuring oscillation, in the same way as a Richter scale measures force and scope of an earthquake.
In the sculpture "Seraf" she sreates at hte same time a dancing form in the upper part with the winged arms and a quiet static form in the lower part. In the middle the woman's big heavy breasts shine, as in Madonna paintings from the gothic age, and of fertility to give life peace and insight.
In one of the sculptures "Leda and the swan" Leda embrace the swan and firmly holds its wings so that it cannot fly and the erotic act is anchored to the base of the sculpture. In the same way as the erotic feeling must be anchored in love.
Salicath can use a simplistic abstract expression of form which reminds you of figures from the surrealistic paintings of Dali. The head of a man arises from the stone surface of the base like an act of creation. You might also look at the figure "Lady in arch" bent in a bow with her private parts exposed, while her possible identity - the head - has been sunk into the underworld of the base.
It is the sensitive balance or rather the invisible soft connection between human beings that Karen Salicath aims to describe - therefore you note the abscence of aggression or fight. She creates the human connection in plaster, ceramics or stone either in direct relationship between bound lovers or in the insisting demand of a single shape to be seen and accepted by the surrounding world.
Karen Salicath knows how to make the silent but strong language of inner feelings into visible images. The embracement becomes mere intense. The simple act to reach out for another person becomes joined with a strong and gentle gravity, which shows that contact will survive because of its inner will and longing. The very embracement between the lovers, between mother and child or between personalities is a common motive, which is handled from different perspectives - from even the most oppressing over total surrender to love and care and further to lightness and joy.
The sculptures sometimes balnce on the edge between life and death and between loneliness and togetherness. Even in the extreme they keep strength and belief in the social brotherhood. The belief that life always contains something beautifull, something gentle.
The belief that a hand will be offered for help and support like boy
"On his way" out in the world where the known and solid reality no longer suffices and where he therefore steps out into the empty air. Karen Salicath herself balances in her artistic works on the edge of the base, where she believes and hopes that the world and the expression of art shall create supporting power for the life she brings into the world through her sculptures./stig%20%E5ke%20stalnacke%2Cdansk%20og%20engelsk.rtf