Shared Spaces/ Eline Smith & AnneSophie Lorange
" Nothing is complete by itself; it can only become complete through what it lacks. But what every particular thing lacks is infinite; we cannot know in advance what complement it calls for." -Derrida
We are an artist duo consisting of Anne Sophie Lorange and Eline Smith researching an ongoing prosess of the reflexive relationship of giving and receiving in art through a process of joint paintings. Our project focuses on an abstract visual communication, where we paint on top of each other's paintings and drawings as visual letters to each other. We express ourselves and respond - visually. The process begins when one paints, and gives a personal painting as a gift to the other recipient. Then the recipient, reflects upon the artwork and gift, and gives it one's own meaning . Just like a letter, but without words, a communication to the other through visual abstract language. We never talk about what the paintings reflect or mean. The power lies in the hand of the receiver, the power of a gift, it is up to the other to reflect meaning, interpret or fill in the gaps. The receiver may choose when and in whatever way to respond to the gift. The responder is allowed to take the gift, and never reply. Or the reciever may choose to reply. The reply is open. The response is like a layer on top of the other, however to the sensitive eye this can be viewed more as a companionship and expanding of a token of giving and the pure nature of gratitude present in the nature of painting itself. Sometimes it is clear to see who has painted what because the two expressions are like a contrast to each other, other times the other responds so similarly that the expressions merge into each other. It is important for us not to correct each other visually, and not to talk about what we have painted. We only paint one time each. The project is a visual representation of «utterance - response». It is through this interaction, the intimate and honest visual conversation between us of personal exchange of gifts is allowed to breath and remain as an open meditative space. This has led to an open and honest reflection on one's own identity, a search for belonging, but also individuality as artists. These pictorial exchanges of paintings as letters have evolved over time, and provides an insight into the beautiful, fragile, complex, strong, powerful and feminine relationships between different people and the nature of giving that surrounds us. The duality of the work; the fragile consistency of the drawings on paper, and the powerful and strong visual raw interaction of paint reinforces the processes of what painting is about through sharing and giving. By starting from a. dialogue, one awakens a nerve between the intellectual and emotional in art, an identity-oriented art that opens to a reflexive space. We use our own personal visual correspondence between us as raw material. And the hope is that the reactions in the encounter with art will tell us more about ourselves as an identification, as a relation to the world of human experience, exploring expressive possibilities, also reminding us that the front, the visible side of the artwork is not the entire, rather a co-existence of visible and in visible layers side by side, equally important. We can belong to each others work, merge together, but also belong equally as individuals with one's uniqueness.
We have expanded our process into also including sewing, in the same way as painting we sew to each other as letters or gifts and the other sews back. We have also included workshops "visual dialogs" where anyone could join. Sewing together with a stranger, waiting for the reply, sewing takes time, and the offering of the sense of a gift also includes the notion of time, and the beauty of waiting without talking. An embodiment of shared subjectivity through time and space, entwined in the process of sewing, shifts, between the unknown and known, and responding through a suddenness that also creates friction in the single needle points of transition. We can reflect on art as inescapably entwined in a process in which is has a specific function; in this case a function of a shared space of giving and receiving through time.