My first encounter with Anders Krisár’s Eva was not a physical one. I saw a picture of the sculpture in a book. I was fascinated, the piece evoked memories, thoughts, and feelings within me, and I felt that I had to write down my impressions and forward them to the artist.
Krisár took great interest in my analysis, and we started communicating intensely. In person, through long Zoom conversations, and in letters, I would share my interpretations of Krisár’s works with him – and he would share the story of his life, and the origins of his works, with me.
The aim of this book is to share some of that experience. It is intended as an intimate portrait of Krisár, tracing his path toward maturity both as a person and an artist. Hopefully, it will also shed some light on how his oeuvre relates to his past.
Our method has been unorthodox – my interpretations of Krisár’s works have been instinctual and emotional but also academic and intellectual. I have used fragments of his life story as well as insights from a vast variety of academic resources, spanning from neuroscience, chaos theory, and psychology, to musicology and art history.
Often, insights have emerged that Krisár himself has not previously been able to express verbally, or even been aware of, but that are nevertheless acutely present in his visual works.
The first sculptural work that Krisár created was Family Matter, 2003. By exploring the possible meanings of “matter,” the piece elaborates on the themes of memory and genealogy, and draws on different aspects of Krisár’s extended family: a complex, imbalanced, and fluctuating structure.
Krisár cast masks of himself and members of his immediate family using a single lump of pewter. After photographing each cast, he melted it down and reused the same metal for the next mask. Finally, he would use the pewter to create a sculpture, a single generic cube.
The series of photographs can be seen to represent Krisár’s somewhat alternative version of a nuclear family: masks were made of the artist’s own face, of his mother’s, his brother’s, and his aunts’ – but not of his father’s. So in the photographs, we see the new wider structure that was created after the original constellation of a mother, a father, and their children fell apart.
In Family Matter, Krisár’s heritage – his family relations – are revealed as unstable: they are melted down and disintegrate. The casts are eventually molded into one: a sharp, perfectly solid cube; a unity that does not dissolve.
Family Matter: Cube, 2003
It is my belief that Krisár uses the masks to express his love and admiration of his mother. As she is portrayed in bronze, or perfectly cut out of marble, she stands out as a figure of extreme refinement, virtuous and victorious, full of light. Krisár sculpts his mother the way he would have wanted her to be seen, she is glorified both as a parent and as a person.
Thus, in these works, we are far from the public perception of aging, mentally ill women. The works raise awareness; in them, we see many sides of a complex story. Mental health is portrayed as a serious issue. The sculptures bear witness to the suffering it can inflict not just upon those who are ill but upon whole families, but the works still make sure to lift the mother above and beyond the limits of her disease. Despite her circumstances, she is portrayed as a powerful and healing force.
One as Two (1), 2003
Excerpts from Sculpture by Cecilia Dupire, a book on the art of Anders Krisár. Sculpture was published on the occasion of Two-fold, a group exhibition curated by Cecilia for CFHILL gallery in Stockholm. The book is available worldwide in selected stores from December 2022.
Anders Krisár: Sculpture, 2022. Cover, image spread and text spread. 224 pp. (plates: 176 pp., text: 48 pp.).