Gudrun Hasle’s words are special.
The words are images. Visible and concrete. Shapes and motifs. The words are physical. Printed, tattooed, sketched with needlework. They are material. The words are poetry. Fragility, intuition, strength, sensuousness, beauty, doubt, vulnerability.
The words are meanings. Content and creation of meaning, terms, messages and narratives. The words are dyslexic words. They are abstract symbols that require decoding. Slowly. They are sounds. Composites of tiny phonemes. Tonalities and notes. They are movements. The mouth taking shape around every single syllable, wandering eyes, undulating sound waves. The words are language. Personal and universal. They are parts of complex structures and grammatical systems. They are communication, they are humour, they are ways to internalise the world.
And the words are body.
They are a very very special bodily intimacy. They are the body’s memory, they are gender, they are pain, they are life.
The body sprawls throughout Gudrun Hasle’s (1979) works. It is present both as a recurrent subject, through stray words associated with bodily functions and actions, body parts and fluids, as a meaning bearer, as an image of human experiences, as trauma, longing, pain, exclusion, upbringing, insecurity, illness, love and pregnancy, and as the core of an autobiographical narrative.
The field between the ferociously corporeal and the meticulous dainty embroidery Gudrun Hasle creates many of her works in appears loaded with contrasts. Nevertheless, the overall impression is of a unit. There are contrasts between the imperfect and the conventional, the private and the universal, between sound and image, between the physical and the abstract, but there is first and foremost continuity between them. At least that is how it seems.
Because it is as if something unites all of this. Something that creates connections and embraces contrasts. Perhaps the very thing that makes the encounter with Gudrun Hasle’s works so especially moving. The connection between physical being and language, between body and words, appears unbreakable in these pieces. An attempt to explain the connection could be that the body is a precondition for the word. Only by being present in the world as a body can we describe it with words. Only through the sensing body can reality become art. And there is also something else that ties it all together.
Gudrun Hasle’s art is permeated by humanity, which wondrously ties body and words and all the other powerful components of her art together. Humanity is always present. Humanity that makes room for tenderness, vulnerability, honesty and intimacy. Humanity that creates social engagement. Humanity that shows us what it means to be a human in the world. Humanity that gives self-understanding and understanding of others of community and responsibility. Humanity that interconnects the world. Humanity that forces us to reflect and acknowledge.
It is an immense pleasure for the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands to be able to exhibit a series of Gudrun Hasle’s works in the summer of 2022. We owe thanks to the artist for excellent collaboration and for lending us these wonderful pieces.