Friis is driven by paradoxes, as is clear in the amorphous works twisting and turning in different directions, and which create an illusion of being about to turn into something, of finding their final shape.

Hanne Friis has a background in painting and sculpture, but since her student days, she has worked with textile materials in an increasingly artisanal manner. The textiles are sewn by hand in a characteristic stitching technique, giving the material a compact and sculptural expression.

The past year, Friis has worked with two series of works she has called New Ornaments. The pieces are made by silk velvet and cotton, and explore ornamental shapes that originate in nature. The silk series is hand dyed in a combination of the exotic cochineal bug and fir cones from Norwegian nature, resulting in carmine red and a range of pink nuances towards brownish tones. After the dyeing, the textile is shaped by hand, being folded and pressed together with needle and thread. Organic and ornamental formations spring forth out of the sensual textile materials which vary between loose, hanging folds, and condensed sections. The play of colours and the soft, shiny velvet are both exquisite and appealing, but as the works hang from the ceiling, on sturdy hooks, they may give macabre associations of fleshy carcasses at a slaughterhouse. The light series of New Ornaments consists of small, floor-placed sculptures which, at a distance, may be reminiscent of ceramic material. Coming closer, it becomes apparent that the shapes are made out of textile; a partially bleached cotton canvas sewn into a tight form, altering the original character of the material.

Contrasts between the hideous and the beautiful, between the artificial and the natural – opposites which in themselves attract – characterize Friis’ works. The connection between body and nature is also a relationship that fascinates Friis, where the many shapes and structures of nature remind us of our own physical materiality.


What to reweave?

De-construction and re-construction could always lie in the center of my works. I have been considering what to de-construct and re-construct.

Since the very beginning of my artistic career, I have been interested in the surface of objects. For a painting student, to think about how to make a good composition or a beautiful surface is an expected task, but it was not mine. My essential interest has been what makes up the surface of the object; through which processes was the surface produced; how could I peel off the surface; what things could I see behind the surface; And how could I embody these things behind the surface into my work. Although we are completely surrounded by surfaces, we cannot physically enter things in even one millimeter under the surface. Every time we peel a surface, a new surface will appear immediately, like an infinite loop. That means, behind the surface is unreachable and always invisible. Then my next question appears, how to perceive these infinite surfaces, or how to loosen the surfaces that seem to be firmly interwoven?

“Time” could also be one of the things existing a little behind these firm surfaces. Time itself is normally invisible although almost all things around us have their own time, i.e., their history and story. Their actual outlook may be different from what they used to be before or while they were produced. Looking back my past art works, I have always tried to capture those invisible things on my works realistically. Thanks to their primal structure, fabrics and embroideries allow me to unravel textiles into hundreds of threads. In other words, they could figuratively reverse time while making the invisible time visible, and as an effect of this, loosen the surface.

I am still asking myself what to unravel and what to reweave in our time. 

Berlin, October 25, 2017


Aiko Tezuka (JP/DE) + Hanne Friis (NO)

October 29.  - November 25. 2017

PLADS artspace

Vestergade 62,

DK-8000 Aarhus C

Tuesday - Friday: 13-18

Saturday:  11-15

October 28, 2017

Symposium: 13:00 -16:00

LYNfabrikken, Vestergade 49, 8000 Aarhus C

Exhibition opening: 16:00 - 18:00

PLADS artspace, Vestergade 62, 8000 Aarhus C

Press release (uk)     

Pressemeddelelse (dk)     

Press photos

Foto. Ole Akhøj