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Henrik Olai Kaarstein

Irish Boy, named Bryan (?), 2022

installation of artist's studio floor with ink-jet print
360 x 420cm
About Henrik Olai Kaarstein
Henrik Olai Kaarstein uses everyday objects from his personal life as the basis for his artworks. Studio matts, bedsheets and towels are some of the materials he has manipulated in previous works, soaking or staining these items with paint, glue or acetone. This process began after the artist was tasked with managing the estate of someone who had passed. He found stacks of used textiles and was intrigued by the marking these fabrics has accrued through use and time. This kickstarted his interest in intimate objects, as he similarly submerges these objects with artistic materials, with a preoccupation with process as opposed to outcome. As well as staining, Kaarstein also experiments with transferring images across different surfaces or media, combining digital printing with analogue surfaces. Domestic motifs such as ribbons, chairs or kitchen utensils are often traced over his textile works or brought to life in abstracted sculptural forms. Regardless of how each work takes form, an innate sense of tenderness runs throughout his work. Kaarstein’s commitment to private spaces and everyday materials evokes the methodology and tone of Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines from the 1950s, in particular Rauschenberg’s 1955 piece Bed, yet the works develop distinctly from the artist’s own personal experiences.