2014, Galleri Riis, Oslo


The exhibition Relevo consists of a series of monumental and medium-sized reliefs in MDF covered in chalk-based and pigmented marble paste, with broken vertical and horizontal lines as a common theme. A point of departure was Johnslien´s work with 3-D cardboard models, making use of the most basic method of constructing free-standing structures- to cut slots in the plates and join them together. By forcing the MDF plates back to their original two dimensions, the slots become one single line in relief, a line turning around itself. The turning point of the line, can be experienced as a potent centre, yet it is only a point without content – only mirroring what is on the reverse. The line and its turning point are emphasized by the subdued colours and the smooth surface resulting from the final treatment of pigmented marble paste.  


Relevo (the Latin word for "to raise") is founded in Johnslien´s studies of and experiences with Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice, which also her exhibition If you search for the object all you'll find is the name in Kristiansand Kunsthall earlier this year centered around. The optic illusion in the reliefs in Relevo refer to the Buddhist idea of the delusion, in that on the other side of the delusion exists inner calm and peace. The senses are siding with the delusion, whereas the intellect blocks the way – making us constantly create distorted perceptions of reality. Herein lies the "logic form" of Relevo´s, the reliefs seeks- through their toying with two- and three dimensions- to convey the universality of Buddhism.  

Photo: Vegard Kleven. All text and image © Marte Johnslien