Annette Holdensen (1934-2023) created art out of the often overlooked. In this exhibition the thread moves from flat areas on to modulated parts with human hair and animal parts. Abstraction meets figuration just as smooth surfaces meet knotted parts in this unique oeuvre.
Unconventional materials as in the work Mytologisk Fragment (Mythological Fragment) 1971 that consists of wool and fox tail produce surprising textures and surfaces which underline how Holdensen made materiality a theme in its own right. Hammerknude, 1970 another of Holdensen’s works braids human and animal hair into the pattern and explores the body’s relation to the objects’ shape, form, and scale through active presence. With a distinct emphasis on form, her works sits between sculpture and wall-based works which pushes the boundaries of what art can be and do. The hand painted envelopes are letters received by Holdensen often from institutions such as The Royal Danish Academy of Arts, her local hospital, the Crafts Council to name a few. They appear as inner dialogues that at first glance seem as if taken out of a diary. When examined, Holdensen’s visual landscapes and repetitive shapes are a personal mapping with a strong feeling of intentionality that reflects into her work with textile.
One can spend time tracing how materials are categorised as “waste” how they orbit through aftermarkets that revalue, reanimate and recirculate them back as inputs. Holdensen’s works follow these streams from refuse and back to exchange a sort of narrative that becomes intelligible like following her thread of thought.
Annette Holdensen was a seminal figure in Danish textile art history. Trained as a weaver, Holdensen was instrumental in introducing tapestries into contemporary art at the end of the 1960s. Work that explored material experimentation that, seen through a contemporary gaze, operates within an ecofeminist framework. From the 1980s her weaving practice evolved to include three-dimensional sculpture, likewise, grounded in her interest for recycled materials and historic craftsmanship. Holdensen has exhibited widely since her debut and her work isrepresented in collections including; Nordenfjelske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim, NO; Brandts Art Museum,Odense, DK; Vejen Art Museum, DK; Designmuseum Denmark, Copenhagen, DK; The New Carlsberg Foundation, Copenhagen, DK; The Danish Arts Foundation, Copenhagen, DK. She was the recipient of the Danish Art Foundation’s lifelong honorary grant.