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SHAPE


LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND

ARTIST

We have asked three creatives outside the comfortable realm of our own industry what creativity is and how inspiration occurs – and about the essential components in their work as well as ours: colour, shape and material. 

 

THE ESSENCE OF CREATIVITY

To Danish artist Lea Guldditte Hestelund, shape is something that lies dormant in the materials she chooses, just waiting to reveal itself in her sculptures. However, at the beginning of her career it was her own body that underwent dramatic transformation into a living piece of art. And, since then, the quest for shapes that intrigue us has become her persistent obsession.

ARTIST LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND
Text & styling: Marie Monrad Graunbøl // Photography: Mikkel Tjellesen

What is your first memory of a work of art? 

I was 14 years old, it was at Louisiana in Humlebæk north of Copenhagen, and the exhibition was NowHere– a collection of some of the most interesting works on the contemporary art scene at the time, I learned later. I still vividly recall the piece that fascinated me the most. It was a video installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist titled Sip My Ocean, which was shown in a closed black box with two adjacent screens. This meant that the audience was literally placed inside the work, swept over by an ocean of amazing colours, where floating objects such as teacups and bead plates were slowly falling to the bottom of sea. A woman was swimming accompanied by the tune of the melancholic Chris Isaac pop hit Wicked Game, though here performed by the artist Pipilotti Rist herself, coming to a climax when she hysterically screamed the lyrics I don’t wanna fall in love with you. I sat there paralysed for an hour. Today, this amazing piece is still a favourite of mine, though for many more reasons than back then. 

 

When you’re working, when does a shape materialise? 

It depends very much on the material. Furthermore, it matters a great deal whether it is a site-specific work, where the surrounding architecture or landscape play an important part.

When I work in marble, I often use the stone’s original shape to define the shape of the piece. To me, it’s a beautifully subtle collaboration, as if the stone itself has a will. It’s as if the end-result has been hidden inside the stone all along, just waiting for me to unravel and discover it. Even if I have some kind of a masterplan when I begin working, I will often end up somewhere totally different. 

Even if I have a masterplan when I start, I will end up somewhere totally unpredictable

– LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND

LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND STUDIO // Inspiration and material

LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND STUDIO // POISE SHELVING SYSTEM

What inspires you the most?

I find it very difficult to give a sufficient answer, because I have no recipe for inspiration – unfortunately! If an artist always knew exactly where to look for inspiration, I guess there would be no creative crises ever.

 

Which one of your own works has been the most challenging?

My most challenging work so far is my diploma project Körper 2.0.It was partly an installation consisting of objects like a rubber floor and fitness tools such as a kettlebell carved in marble, partly a performative piece where my own body was used as sculptural material. During a seven-month period, I was on a strict diet and worked out with a personal trainer in order to achieve a body resembling the Greek ideal of Discobolus of Myron, a Greek sculpture completed at the start of the Classical Period, featuring a youthful ancient Greek athlete throwing a discus. Körper 2.0revolves around a contemporary idea of the ideal body, of course, and how certain bodies become symbols of power and potential carriers of meaning. But, more importantly, it addresses how we ascribe meaning to the body, which cultural hierarchies shape and create it, and it questions normative ideas about gender and sexuality. Personally, I was deeply affected by the work, not least in the period after it was completed. It surprised me how tough it was to get rid of the daily training and dieting routines, and it took me a few years to get past the disciplined and restricted ways of living.

 

What is the most interesting shape to you?

I really love the sphere. In Körper 2.0 I played with the idea of the ultimate shape. This shape was also some sort of sphere, only with a handle attached to it – much like the kettlebell. This beautiful round shape is so simple, yet so very complex to create for me as a sculptor, which is also part of its appeal. At the Acropolis Museum in Athens you will find an ancient sphere, Magic Sphere, engraved with signs and symbols, and this object seems to contain a profound, hidden knowledge. It is a universal shape, which on a planetary level constantly hovers above and around us. In many ways, I find the sphere a very mysterious shape despite its obvious simplicity.

LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND STUDIO // POISE SHELVING SYSTEM

ABOUT ARTIST LEA GULDDITTE HESTELUND

Danish artist Lea Guldditte Hestelund studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2012–13, and graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen in 2015.During her career, she has worked with sculpture, installation and performance, often integrated in the same works. Lea Guldditte Hestelund has exhibited at the Danish ARoS Art Museum, the Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Italian Eduardo Secci Contemporary among others. Her work is part of the collections at the Horsens Art Museum, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Collezione Floridi and the Bech Risvig Collection.