Ingunn Utsi

Homage II

Ingunn Utsi made her first ‘Gudni’ or ‘Tribute’ work in 1995 in the Ássebákti forest of Karasjok. Her new ‘Gudni II’ or ‘Tribute II,’ which she finished for the biennale, resembles a poem whose lines link Ii and Karasjok. “Two pines stand in a forest far from each other, still connected.” Gudni II is like a family tree whose branches stretch through distance and over generations.

The surface of a tree is nude and smooth as the skin of a human being. The artist’s hands have shaped its form, replacing bark with lines and ornamental figures. From its naked trunk emerge stories in a universal language. Utsi has looked for the invisible behind the visible. The tree is her tribute to her ancestors and to the earth in which trees grow and which helps human beings to survive.

Utsi (b. 1948) lives and works in Finnmark, Norway. She studied at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts (KIT) and works as a sculptor, painter and drawer. In her sculptures, she combines various materials, such as wood, plastic, stone and metal. She describes her way of working with wood: “When I am working with three-dimensional wooden objects, I almost never make any sketches. I work directly with the material and let it talk to my mind, my eyes and hands. In many ways, I can ‘see’ the result by letting the material be my guide, but there are surprises or demands in the wood itself, and I have to take that into consideration. While shaping the material, it grows and becomes my piece of art.”

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