18 April 2019
Heading into the Easter Holidays, UKS’ Live Drønen posed a few questions to Martin Sæther, whose work occupied the UKS grounds from January through March this year. Restitute with this chat about spa skills, folding chairs, and the knobbly Norwegian wallpaper “strie,” and stay tuned for the continuation of UKS’ Spring program after the holidays. Our next exhibition with Özgür Kar opens on 26 April.
Live Drønen: What do you do when you’re not making art?
Martin Sæther: – When I’m not making art you’ll typically find me at Oslo Biljardsenter (Oslo Billards Center), online at www.chess.com, or in the spa at Bislet bad.
What are you more skilled at: pool, spa, or chess?
– I’d have to say spa here!
A lot of the works in the UKS exhibition were created from self-made paper. How do you make your paper?
– For my project at UKS I collected damaged paper from different art supply stores in Oslo. In my usual process, I soak it for around a day, grind it in a mixer until it turns into a pulpy substance, and then I add cellulose glue to make the paper extra strong. From this point, I press the material into one of my different molds. The paper dries for around a day or two, depending on the thickness.
A slow process, in other words? What role does time play in your work?
– Yes, I spend a good amount of time developing ideas. I don’t rush to make these into final works. To me the examination and the process is the essential thing, above the final result. Through working slowly, I experience that things fall into place more naturally.
Several of the works that were on view at UKS resembled furniture. What do you think is the perfect piece of furniture?
– The folding chair is pretty smart. You can bring it along and sit down anywhere you want.
What do you think of the infamous IKEA Billy shelf?
– I think that there are way too many of them.
Agreed. The Norwegian “strie” or burlap wallpaper is also something that interests you—what’s your relationship to this particular material?
– I grew up in a house from the 1970s that had lots of different versions of the “strie” wallpaper. My room had a burgundy colored wallpaper with vertical stripes. And I mean, this was real “strietapet,” not the painted glass fiber version of “strie” that was very popular in the 1990s, which I now have in my studio. Watching and being annoyed by the “strie” in my studio for some time was also what led to the “strie” works in my UKS show.
Could you send an image of the “strie” in your studio?
*See image below.
Lastly: What’s your best and worst Easter memory? And what are this year’s Easter plans?
– Someone actually broke into my studio in Bogstadveien in Oslo one Easter a few years ago, so this year I’m staying in town to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It is also quite nice spending time in Oslo during Easter.
«Burglary in the artist’s studio»—I would definitely read that Easter crime novel aka “påskekrim.” Happy Easter!