Monday December 12, 2011 | by ktmo5678

SEEN: Helena Kågebrand’s Pseudoscientific Work Pairs Art with Medicine

FILED UNDER: Exhibition, Seen

Helena Kågebrand, When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies. William Shakespeare-Sonnet #138, 2009. Glass, mixed media. photo: Helena Kågebrand

The production of glass objects is possible only through highly technical means, yet the material itself exists organically. Helena Kågebrand, a visual artist trained at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, explores this dichotomy in her latest collection, in which it is often hard to determine whether her sculptures represent internal organs or medical devices. In an age of pacemakers, titanium limbs, and arthroscopic surgery, her stylized glass objects conjoin these seemingly opposing worlds.

On view at The Glass Factory, a Swedish organization dedicated to contemporary glass art, until February 26, 2012, the institution describes her work on their website as “metallic-beautiful, cold, pseudoscientific, and almost looks as though they were disinfected,” while maintaining that many of the works resemble fallopian tubes or lungs. Reminiscent of a walk through a chilling medical research facility, where you might expect to run into instruments or organs encased in glass jars, Kågebrand creates the object and the glass jar as a single piece.

The piece includes heat-sensitive liquid that reacts to body temperature. photo: Helena Kågebrand

Of her work she says, “I always seemed to make things more complicated than they actually were. And in some way this is mirrored in my sculptures, who seem to be complex entities dealing with very simple questions.” As a student of Gerrit Rietweld Academy, a European visual arts college that prides itself on providing a strong technical foundation in glass while encouraging students to explore their own aesthetic language, Kågebrand has developed a keen conceptual nature for her work.

- Katharine Morales

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.