INTERVIEW WITH STINE LETH

photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Italiano (Italian)

Stine Leth, a Danish artist originally from Aarhus, trained at the Academy of Art in her hometown. Knitting with yarns of different textures and thicknesses, Leth creates unusual sculptures that, thanks to original combinations of shapes and the use of intense and energetic colors, create a playful and light atmosphere, a sensory experience that communicates optimism and generates amazement.
Research on materials and the use of color are the key elements around which the eclectic series of objects that the artist exhibits at home and abroad in numerous art galleries are born and developed.

https://www.stineleth.dk/

Photo cr. Christian V Andersen, copyright Stine Leth

How did your passion for knitting and the idea of using this technique to create your work come about?

I have been knitting since I was a little girl with my mom. But only straight ahead, like scarves and so.

In 2011 I started at The Art academy in Aarhus, Denmark. At an assignment we should form a stone out of a different material. I chose yarn and knitted the stone, from what I remembered, – straight ahead like a scarf in simple garter stitch and then sewed it together and formed it like the stone. From that moment, I realized the possibilities in the yarn and knitting. I couldn’t stop knitting from that point and never stopped again. I actually dropped out of the school to concentrate on the knitting and dropped my painting.

Photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Photo cr. Christian V. Andersen, copyright Stine Leth

Are there any artists, artistic currents or contemporary art movements that stimulate your imagination?

Oh there a so many, I find inspiration everywhere.
Artists that inspires me are: Fransiska Clausen, Denmark, Joana Vasconcelos, Portugal, Paul Klee, Schweiz, Anni Albers, DE/USA, Sheila Hicks, USA, Ernesto Neto, Brasil.  oh man I could go on and on…   but in common they have their love for color, it can be drawn back to the simple color learning and then I try to break the barriers sometimes. I have the colors deep inside me and they often just give me the obvious choice themselves.
I often also find my inspiration in design and nature. It often comes ´by accident´and I take a lot of photos in one day, just to register color inspiriation. I use Instagram and Pinterest a lot and can scroll through pictures and accounts for several hours!
Movements: Bauhaus, Avant garde, … and the contemporary art are at this point very exiting I think, because so many different styles are popping up. There are no limits and artist are really exploring color and different media these days.

Exhibition “HELT SORT (all black)”, 2021, photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Exhibition “HELT SORT (all black)”, 2021, photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Exhibition “HELT SORT (all black)”, 2021, photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Many of your works consist of colourful sculptural objects. What do they evoke and from what do they draw inspiration? Also, what is the role of colour in your work?

The works grow out of heaps of yarn.
Standing objects, hanging objects and wall objects. Forms deprived of their function. Distinct compositions and combinations of knits.

The material is yarn with different texture, thickness and fabric. The works develop in relation to the possibilities of the various materials and to the reactions and ideas that arise in the process. Another key element is the color. Here is no petty difference, all colors are used in an interaction that testifies to the great sense of its possibilities. The objects appear as small coloristic entities.

The small lumpy sculptures or strange hanging objects are both concrete, hovering and naive. They exude optimism, humor and humanity. They managed to get color and material to work together and give the mold quality.

The works contain no hidden references with their neutral title, they appear as pure form and color experiments. Instead of focusing on the work title itself, I focuses on the viewer’s sensory experience.

Photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Photo cr. Christian B Sørensen, copyright Stine Leth

Is there one among your works to which you feel particularly attached?

Yes, I have one big sculpture I love a lot. My first really big one (approx. 5 meters long) from around 2012.

A reporter on a Danish news paper, called it a Masturbation sock in 2018! it was installed in the office of a politician and yes, it ended up in a shit storm in the media. I will love that sculpture for ever.

Copyright Stine Leth

Copyright Stine Leth

What do you think are the limits and potential of textiles (fiber) as a means of artistic expression?

There are no limits.

In your opinion, has the art world today managed to overcome the idea that textile art is mainly female territory?

-not quite yet I think. I still think it is very hard to get accepted in the art world, as some might still think that the knitting are pursuits for women and not art.  I honestly think that if I were a man, my art would be the bomb in the mind of the big galleries. I have been knitting my art for ten years now and there has fortunately been a very big change since then.

Photo cr. Christoffer Egelund, copyright Stine Leth

Knitting takes a long time to complete. How does this affect your work? Do you see it as a limitation or as an opportunity?

Yes, it is very time consuming.  I value it, it means that I really think my colors and forms to an end. It is not like painting with paint, where you just add a color on the canvas. It takes a long time to produce every single piece.   I often chance my mind along the way when I knit the pieces and waiting for them to get finished to continue to the next color and step.

Photo cr.Thomas Dahl, copyright Stine Leth

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a new series of knitted paintings and started a collab with a Danish artist, where I will knit some of his paintings and he will paint some of my works. Very excited on where that will end up.

I also work with a girl spinning her own yarn out of old yarns and leftovers from other knitters.  And I am working on painting on some of my knits (with acrylic paint to stiffen them) and for example gold plating them.

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