Artist of the Month : Calina Pandele Yttredal

Oct 1, 2021

Calina Pandele Yttredal is a draftsman, graphic artist, painter, writer and light sculptor. In Yttredal's artistic work, nature is the theme, our relationship with nature, how we influence it and how we use it. The artist explores the interdependent relationship between humans and nature. Thematically, the artist deals with challenges around climate and the environment. But Yttredal also wants to convey the connection between the external reality we find ourselves in and our internal reflections. The result can be seen in her drawings that depict a diversity of landscapes and animals from different parts of the world, where the animals are not always depicted in their natural habitat, and humans only have a subtle presence. Yttredal has studied at the Norwegian School of Handicrafts and Art Industry and she has taught, among other things, at the University of the Arts in Oslo. The artist has participated in a large number of exhibitions in Norway and abroad, including in New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro. For her work, she received the Culture and Business Prize awarded by Innovation Norway (2009). The artist lives and works from Oslo.

‍ TF: Can you tell us a little about your artistic work?

CPY: I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. As a child, I had colorful dreams about explosions in space, nebulae or strange landscapes that I just had to get down on paper, even if it was in the middle of the night.

I was lucky that my parents understood my need and laid out large sheets of paper, charcoal and drawing pens for me, so that I could express myself. For me, drawing was a way of navigating my way through the world and life. And so it still is.

I was fascinated by light, natural phenomena and the luminous effect that some organisms have in the dark. As a four-year-old, I could sit for a long time and study insects on the ground, fascinated by how they moved, by the iridescent color changes on their bodies. I marvel at the fleeting, incomprehensible, which dreams are too, and which are nevertheless real to us through the feelings they evoke. This wonder is still at the base of my artistry. And has cultivated it further through science and writing, aware that knowledge is not reserved for the intellect, but the whole body. Art becomes a focused encounter between inner and outer worlds where feelings and facts, the fleeting and the permanent tell a story together.

TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process.

CPY: Most often I see the images in my inner gaze. Only when I start drawing them do I see what they look like, they become real. These "possible landscapes" can arise as a result of places I've visited, something I've read or dreamed, memories, news photos, etc. that I stage as if in a cinematic context, with references to legends, epic works and contemporary resonance.

These places are not physical places, because the motifs reflect my inner world set in a context that makes sense based on my existential reflections. They can be perceived as images of the fragile balance that exists in the interaction between nature and man, with the gaze directed both backwards and forwards in history. I am concerned with capturing the subtle, invisible, yet essential nuances of existence in order to invite the viewer into a world almost similar to the one we know, yet different. Through color combinations and surprising juxtapositions of elements, create a universe where things seem to belong together, but which nevertheless do not. And where the viewer asks questions and reflects again on what seemed obvious, but which nevertheless is not. The pictures can come to me in whole series. I explore and use different materials, tools and techniques to create the right expression I am looking for. I think it is very interesting to explore border crossings between drawing, painting, three-dimensional works, light installations.

TF: What inspires you? Do you work based on a theme?

CPY: I live up to what I do, go completely into a theme in search of the right feeling and expression; once I ended up paragliding alone without having done it before, to get to the bottom of the topic of escape, another time I rappelled down 30 meters into a cave to examine several thousand-year-old cave paintings in search of archaeological riddles. In Plato's allegory of the cave, questions are asked about what illusion is and what reality is. I am concerned with the subtle, the invisible and eternal, which is there continuously like a beating heart without us reflecting on it, and which at the same time influences and is essential to our lives. When I carried out an artistic decoration, I cut the glass that was to be mounted on the facade window, like the outline of Finnmarksfjellet and drew to scale with iridescent shapes and colors that represent vegetation and animals we could see through the window, typical of the place and many that are endangered. The artwork overlaps reality and philosophical questions arise. In "The Eye and the Spirit" Maurice Merleau-Ponty expresses this: "The mystery is that my body is at the same time seeing and visible. It is a self that is caught between things, a self with a front and a back, with a past and a future (…) Both the work of art and the mental image represent the interior of the exterior and the exterior of the interior that the duality of sensation makes possible ; without this duality one will never understand the near-presence and the immediately imminent visibility which is the whole problem of the imaginary."

TF: What are you currently working on?

CPY: As a result of an ongoing art project that I have worked on over time where I investigate shifts and changes in the global ecology, how, among other things, different animal species play decisive roles for continued life on the planet, I recently showed a series of paintings, drawings and graphic works at a separate exhibition. They were put together with a selection of texts from the publication "I verden" that I published on the occasion and natural elements from the protected nature reserve at Alby forest, Jeløy, in a way that is intended to open up reflection on an ecology in rapid change and man's existential challenges. In continuation of this line of thinking, I have worked with a several meter large "Portal" which is currently on display in a group exhibition in Galleri RAM, mounted on the window glass facing Kongensgate, as I did for example in Finnmark and in Paris. The organic shapes that are reminiscent of the carvings of a stave church become here an interweaving of nature and culture. Starting from two large pastel drawings entitled ”In another world” 1 and 2, which I also show at the exhibition, the roots continue to meander through the ages, bringing into the future ever new elements of conifers and endangered animals.

TF: What does drawing (drawing) mean for you / your work?

CPY: To answer this, I would like to mention an interdisciplinary project that I led at the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts in the nineties, with the participation of students from several departments, under the main theme "Drawing as an independent means of expression". With a focus on the human body, we entered into a complex process, with exploration of various angles, everything from act drawing, to studies of preparations at the Department of Anatomy, collaboration with the Mensendieck education, with mime artists, etc. The drawing helped to uncover layer by layer of both physical, sensory and mental characteristics and connections, while we asked the question of where life really was. The conversations were important and the result of the project, which we presented at an exhibition in the Tegnerforbundets Gallery, showed a wide range of issues and expressions. Drawing is a spontaneous act, as a child draws its first lines. The first human traces of thoughts and feelings through drawings in the caves over 30,000 years ago give me closeness to the present despite the time perspective, as a continuous thread between past, present and future. It has to do with courage. Dare to see what I don't want to see, as in Plato's allegory of the cave, not living in the world of shadows.

TF: Tell us a little about your work in the Tegnerforbundet's sales department

CPY: The drawings I show in Tegnerforbundet is from the series "The vulnerable" and "In the beginning". They allude to the first signs of life on Earth several hundred million years ago, both plant and animal species we know today that have existed, undergone changes, some become critically endangered, some have been declared healthy, some gone forever. Many of them seem fragile, but they are nevertheless strong and manage to come to life and continue the cycle. The "Komodovaran" is considered the world's largest extant lizard species. It can be over 3 meters long, weigh 100 kg and is critically endangered. In contrast, a bee is no more than 1.5 cm, but both are losing their habitats and moving closer to extinction also due to climate change. Without pollinating insects such as bees and bumblebees, large parts of the world's food production and ecosystems would collapse. The drawing "Legend of the future" can be seen as a reminder that it is important to preserve the cultural landscape in order to prevent the loss of biological diversity. It is made with pencils of varying degrees of softness, and is part of a larger project where "Portal" made with iridescent paint is currently on display at a group exhibition in Galleri RAM, mounted on the window glass. It is nice to see the two works together, especially when both are in the square.


See available works by Calina Pandele Yttredal in the online store.