Page 158 - Anne book

SEO Version

Text by Isabelle Spaak in “Cimaise: Contemporary Art”, N. 258/ 1999
”Imagine. You are lying down. Quietly. Alone on the beach.
Your face turned to the sun. You squeeze up your eyes. A
soft light acts a screen between your eyelids and the sky.
What colour is it? Orange of course. Start again. There you
are at day’s end, on a hill overlooking the sea. Look into the
distance. The narrow line of the horizon is taking on colour.
Orange once more. And the next morning, when day breaks,
the shading will be the same. The beach is in Sri Lanka. So
is the mountain. It is through these minute sensations felt in
the heat of an Asian country, that Anne Vilsbøll undertook
her work on orange. In this country which she did not know,
in the midst of a rampant nature she was discovering, orange
caught up with her. Snatched her up. As if by accident. Like
a meeting with someone you were not impressed by, but who
suddenly appears fascinating. Where did this obsession come
from, for a colour which is so often reviled, half-way between
vulgarity and an alarm signal? From a wish to change? From
a wish to move away from blues, ochres, and reds, which
are so seductive that for a long time now, they earned her
the unconditional marvelling of her admirers. From need to
prove that immediate attraction is not necessarily essential?
That sometimes it is best to look further afeld before discov-
ering a less obvious charm?
Anne Vilsbøll is close to Karen Blixen (whom she admirers).
To prove that one can be one and, at the same time, another,
at the end of her life the writer enjoyed wearing masks and
exuberant hats. By constantly creating new characters, she
wanted to disturb those who thought they knew her. There is
quite a lot of that attitude in Anne Vilsbøll’s quest.
The artist fles away, seeks, photographs, draws, muses. Like
a collector she piles up words, images, impressions, anything
which can be linked to this “non decorative” colour. “I like
its independence and its indifference. It does not ask to be
loved. It exists by itself.” An interest that no doubt symbolises
Anne Vilsbøll’s maturity. Best known in Denmark for her
work on handmade paper, she no longer seeks recognition.
She knows who she is. To prove it, she allows herself great
freedom in her use of forms. Now softer, they have evolved
from the angular constructions, which made up her composi-
tions. “I can fnally attempt the circle,” she says. The perfect
shape contains all the others. Particularly diffcult, it no longer
frightens her. Orange is a colour but also a nicely rounded
Is this a coincidence? Not necessarily...
The artist works on paper in the same frame of mind. As
through imposing order on the original chaos, she builds from
fbers, she has selected with infnite care before she grinds
them down and turns them into pulp. She chooses them by
travelling all over the world, from Zimbabwe to Japan, by
way of Burma. This choice determines the grain of paper,
which she will make in her native Denmark. It is the basis
of the stories, she imagines. The one we fnd seductive tells
of a collector’s secret. The frst grainy sheet, a Chinese
mandarin, his orange toga and a box. Second episode
and another paper, as fne as silk, the box, trapezoidal and
fowered, outlined by a black stroke made from vegetable
extract, placed on a red background. The last chapter, the
breaking out. The mysterious content blossoms on a grainy
surface mixing orange and green. Three ways of broaching
a subject without ever needing a link, except the one the
viewer chooses to give it. Anne Vilsbøll thinks of creation in
a spirit of intense freedom. That is the driving force behind
her use of paper, a medium, she can recompose by herself,
and in any kind of natural milieu, using whatever comes
to hand, without being subjected to a canvas or a layout. A
desire to travel her own path so as to arrive where she is least
expected. A path she places under the auspices of Georgia
O’Keeffe. Her meeting with the American artist living alone