Page 12 - Anne book

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to say whether her work on the 27 glass doors of the church
should be called lighting, paneling, or decorating. Not surpris-
ingly, numerous other commissions followed for this artist
who demonstrates such an intuitive understanding of her
client’s needs and expectations, and most importantly has the
capacity to rehabilitate ungrateful byproducts of architectural
programs (inhumanly large walls, unused and unoccupied
transitional space such as halls). Such is the case in the many
cheerful and welcoming contributions Vilsbøll has made to
such frms and institutions as ISS in 1998, or her “Perspective
I-IV” a suite for the Foreign Ministry offces in Copenhagen
in 2000.
More recently, in 2005, she set off on a new spatial adventure
aboard the ferryboat Maersk Delft. A ship is a place of order
and discipline: clutter is anathema to remaining “ship-shape.”
Again, Vilsbøll met the challenge of scale, not because the
space she must address was so large, but because there were
so many spaces to be flled in a neat and tidy way. The boat
In 1989, another installation, for the Charlottenborg in
Copenhagen, confrms Vilsbøll’s ability to handle the
challenge of scale. Here she took on a brick wall 4,5 meters
high by 7 meters long. With a certain humor, she made a
work of such scale out of 10,000 postcard-sized sheets of
handmade paper. Her capacity to mediate an architectural
space is by now quite clear, and we are not surprised to fnd
that important commissions from institutions and corpora-
tions punctuate her career.
We mention in passing her frst commission by Rolex, for her
collaboration with this frm has been long and fruitful, and
provided a showcase for her rare understanding of artistic
décor. Her frst commission (1994) for the Swiss watchmaking
frm was for their plant in Biel. She handled a wall over 7
meters long in the manner of a baroque artist responding to
the challenge of a palazzo ceiling by thinking through the
special implications of such a large design. That is to say,
having considered the optical effect of a large panoramic
space on the viewer, she made a work that could support a
changing point of view without ever, so to speak, appearing
in a bad light. Thus, when the eye roves, it is not perturbed by
the instability of changing perspective. Indeed, the absorbent
quality of the paper dyed in the mass and the refective aspect
of the paper’s varnish soften and enrich the retinal experience
provided by the simple geometric shapes, creating ambiguity
in the fgure-ground relationships and providing soothing
loci for visual pause on a wall that would be otherwise over-
bearing and alienating because of its length.
In the case of most of Vilsbøll’s public commissions, her
skill is devoted to making the best of unwelcoming insti-
tutional space. It should come as no surprise then, that
her most formally innovative and most delicately beautiful
intervention in a public space takes place in the context of
a true collaboration with architects and clients. In the case
of Skaering Church (1996), she discussed the issues of light
and space distribution from the beginning of the project
with Johannes Exner, the architect. Vilsbøll’s collaboration
blends so perfectly into the program that one is hard-pressed
Dolphins, 100 x 450 cm, 2005, Maersk Delft