Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad (born Oslo, 1980) works across painting, sculpture and poetry. She exploits the chance element of working with found materials, which brings a restless energy to much of her art. Ekblad’s exhibition at BALTIC, her first solo presentation in the UK, included new and recent paintings and sculpture.
The exhibition centred on a group of sculptures designed as a stage set for Constellations 2012, a play by British writer Nick Payne which explores the notion that everything you can imagine is simultaneously happening in a parallel universe. The set’s twisted metal, basketballs, fishing nets, flowers and large white gates guarded by alien figures inhabited the exhibition space.
Since 2008 Ekblad has searched for materials on unplanned journeys, dérives, or ‘drifts’. For the Situationists, a revolutionary alliance of European avant-garde artists, writers and poets formed in 1957, the dérive was a way of breaking the monotony of capitalist urban life, allowing a spontaneous encounter with the city. Ekblad finds a small pocket of freedom in this approach. Her materials are suggestive of the past, with each piece ‘embodying its own associations, from its previous life, colour, shape and patina’. Ekblad’s drifts have taken her to scrapyards around the world – places she finds hauntingly beautiful, with twisted, now functionless metal corpses evocative of the passing of life. She welds these pieces of metal together like the words of her poems, which are selected for sounds and forms.