Anne Vilsbøll’s approach to art grows from a deep interest in the internal waves of the surface/support base and the sign in visual communication.
She finds surface and sign have equal importance in a final work of art, which led her to handmade paper, its history and formal characteristics as a means of artistic expression.
Her work is created through continuous investigations, which lead to personal expressions in a constant evolution – a work that is visually harmonious and perceptual with tactile and contextual aspects.
The lines of actions she follows cannot be categorized under an ism or definitive direction.
A world traveller under continuous influence by new surroundings, the knowledge of long traditions of Western and Eastern art history, with studios in France and India, she absorbs her surroundings as paper absorbs colour. All her work means something.
The process of making the support for her art work herself she sees as a digestive process from deconstruction to construction. The internal waves in a paper space is to her an invisible text, a collision of unknown territories, a secret language, she uses to enrol herself in the interwoven texture the world is made of. Not two papers are alike. This point of view has an influence on her art. Extractions, layers beneath, that which remains when one has seen, absorbed signs on a highly textured surface, transmutations of forms and colours. What remains, when we have seen and not only looked, are pulled forward in the final expression, which moves in the interval between what was and what will be within us, trying to take us back to a shared consciousness.
Written on Anne Vilsbølls art work – extracts:
To wander briefly through an exhibition of Anne Vilsbøll’s work is to do it less than justice. One has to dwell on her art, to take careful note of details, the relations between forms, the movement of lines and a depth and glow in the colours, blue within blue, ochre beyond ochre…. These paintings do not insist. Quite the opposite, there is hushed silence, which has a source in the artist’s calm conviction
H.P. Jensen, art critic
The universe of the painting hints at a world beyond to be discovered from within. Lines between lines, where colours are hiding or grow upon each other. The planes of colours meet over and on the underlying lines. These lines create shadows or turn to space in themselves. The lines are in the paper and give a sculptural quality in the two-dimensional plane. You find pictures behind and pictures on top in the same space. You find a space of now. A space that is transforming itself at this moment.
Serish Nanisetti, Reporter, The Hindu, India
In the centre of all her artistic production one finds four elements: plant/water/paper/life. Paper as a symbol of the ecological cycle with a history that gives us an opportunity to understand our own history. Raw material is pulled apart, soaked, cut and shaped, reduced to harmonious, asymmetric colourful work, full of poetry rhyming in all directions. Anne Vilsbøll works with what she calls the geo-story of paper, looking upon its production process as a matter of quality and knowledge of its origins, of bio-diversity, seeds, respect for life and death, the cycle of rebirth, conditions of growth, sowing and harvesting, the possibilities for communication between Eastern and Western cultures. The paper process is timeless and points forever forward to a new cycle that may contain new qualities of life.
For the Danish artist Anne Vilsbøll paper and colour are where the brain and the universe meet. The French philosopher Henri Bergson expressed: “May we not conceive…that the irreducibility of two perceived colours is due mainly to the narrow duration into which are contracted the billions of vibrations, which they execute in one of our moments”? Bergson suggests, that if we could stretch out this duration – live it at a slower rhythm, we might see these above colours pale and lengthen into successive coloured impressions nearer to coincidence with pure vibrations. A change from quick to slow movement changes the habits of our consciousness and we perceive successive vibrations bound together by an inner continuity = duration. In her ongoing series “Colour Breathing” ( 1990 – 2010). Anne Vilsbøll experiments with the very slow breathing performed by her brushes, the colour and her own handmade paper. Hundreds of tests have been made to experience the breathing. The same movement is repeated, but not two breaths are similar, as the paper is processed differently and absorbs accordingly. The very slow movement changes our habit of seeing. Colour is experienced as pure vibrations.
Anne Vilsbøll’s art is the result of intense innovative and inspirational research into the hidden potential of paper as a tool for modern means of expression. She has been acclaimed as one of the pioneers among a number of remarkable artists who during the past sixty years have searched to revive the lost form of the ancient craft of papermaking as a contemporary art form.
Like the ancient scribe, or medieval apprentice she has learned her craft with consummate devotion to artistic traditions. Her art begins with experiments with ancient and modern papermaking techniques which her sensibility creates into new forms, textures, colors for her paintings, sculptures, and diverse objects.
Anne Vilsbøll ‘s art is the product of three decades of assiduous investigation seeking to penetrate the secrets of handmade paper based on traditions established both in the West and the East. Extensive travels and study throughout the world have strengthened the artist’s resolve to provide new insight and inspiration to the viewer about the potentials of handmade paper as an art form. The viewer experiences in her artwork the symbiotic result of craftsmanship and artistry as indivisible and complete. The Renaissance artist’s employment of paper as separate supporting medium for color, line and space has been intentionally blurred by Anne Vilsbøll’s art . Instead, she offers an alternative and new way to read and experience the paper work as both a pre‐conscious creative act, which is inseparable and integral with the art of the craft of papermaking. Craftsmanship and artistry are inseparable. It is this need for establishing the integrity of the craft in opposition to the modern time mass industry and technology which has led her to state: “ I do not think I shall ever let go of the paper. It is essential to my work.” Anne Vilsbøll’s art, is nothing less than kaleidoscopic. Her paintings reveal ever changing new means of communicating her inner visions of the external world.
Art historian Bogomila Welsh Ovcharow
Anne Vilsbøll is close to Karen Blixen. 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.
Art critic Jørgen Hansen
The artist files 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.” (on the colour orange). 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.
Isabelle Spaak, Cimaise
What has emerged is a distinguished work of art, which blends perfectly with the architecture, the form, materials and tactility of the space, while also respecting the practical functions of the place. It will be an exciting experience to watch this work of art as the light plays over it in the church in the days and years to come.
Architext Johannes Exner on the artwork Anne Vilsboell created in the modern church Skaering Kirke, DK, created by Exner
Among the many qualities of Anne Vilsbøll’s mature work is its resistance to photo-reproduction. No photograph can lay bare the structural principles of her images. Nor can it do justice of the work. A photograph cannot even give much information about the shimmering colours in herpaintings, which are harmonious human-scale compostions, let alone express the scale of the large and complex decors that she executes for public commissions.
Rachel Stella, independent scholar