Ann Iren Buan Web 05

Ann Iren Buan

Along the Folds

OSL contemporary is proud to present its first exhibition with the Norwegian artist Ann Iren Buan, 'Along the Folds'. 
The exhibition will be on view at OSL contemporary from 12 April to 19 May 2018.

In her practice, Buan explores the notion of decay and destruction through drawing and sculpture. Monumental, delicate, sensuous and haptic, her work investigates the materiality of drawing in a three-dimensional sculptural expression. Her sculptures are in a continuous process of ruination, a process further reinforced by her choice of materials. Edging towards a point of collapse, the works insist on a continued existence, and are often used as elements in new artworks in a cycle of decay and renewal. In a similar vein to how contemporary and ancient ruins affect our experience and reading of architectural space, Buan's sculptures occupy physical space and add to the space's historical narrative.

Buan experiments with conceptual aspects of drawing and is interested in the limitations and possibilities of the two-dimensional surface. With monumental works made by using materials including soft pastel, paper and plaster, she challenges the conception of what drawing can be. Her sculptural expression retains the meditative quality of drawing and adds corporeality to the medium. She draws layers and layers of dry pastel on several sheets of paper, using a number of different colours to get the right shade on each sheet of paper; the colour palette includes shades of pink, yellow, green and blue. In some works, the colour is reminiscent of skin, dry hands or bruises; in others the use of blue reminds us of deep and dark oceans. 

The vividly coloured sheets of paper are glued together, for then to be mangled and transformed through kneading, tearing, scratching and roughly rubbing the paper. The sculptures are suspended from ceilings using leather straps or shown lying on or rising from the floor. The final decisions for the works are made at the exhibition site, where their form, colour and expression, as well as the placement of the sculptures, contribute to the viewer's perception of encountering a physical entity. 

Buan's sculptures act as both remnants and foreign bodies; they simultaneously reinforce and exert pressure on their surroundings, liberating architecture from static and chronological history. The works are massive, yet light, sophisticated and tender. They are never entropic in their abstraction, mirroring something from life - a person, a landscape or a piece of skin.

For her exhibition at OSL contemporary, Buan shows a series of towering sculptures, tucked between floor and ceiling. The sculptures are made of drawings and plaster glued to wire mesh. Wet plaster has been poured between the layers of drawings, and when the plaster has dried, the paper has been scrubbed off. Imprints of drawings and paper fibre are left on the surface and chalk-white plaster shines through the cracks of the many broken surfaces. The wire mesh becomes a mouldable framework and grid, with surfaces of plaster and paper with holes, cuts and wounds. The mending process of plastering and scrubbing continues until the sculptures are able to balance on their own in an up-right position. The continuous act of mending prevents further decay and preserve the works as ruins of vertical structures in the gallery room. Made in direct dialogue with the composition of the room and its distinctive characteristics, the skeletal sculptures evoke historical structures and transform the room's life story, revealing the ambivalence of the history of architectural space. 

Ann Iren Buan (b. Stjørdal, Norway, 1984) holds an MFA in Visual Art from The Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo (2011). Recent solo shows include Prosjektrom Normanns, Stavanger (2017); Trafo Kunsthall, Asker (2015); Noplace, Oslo (2015); Gallery F15, Moss (2015); Nord-Trøndelag Art Museum, Namsos (2015); Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo (2015); Trøndelag Center of Contemporary Art, Trondheim (2014); and Akershus Kunstsenter, Lillestrøm (2013). She has participated in a number of group shows, including at Apalazzo gallery, Brescia (2016) and The Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2015; travelled to Stavanger Art Museum, Stavanger (2015)). Upcoming exhibitions include solo presentations at The Vigeland Museum, Oslo (2018) and Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia (2019). Buan lives and works in Oslo.