To begin with the possibilities of the material…
- Robert Rauchenberg

Text by Ruby Eleftheriotis, writer and curator

To encounter Mette Sandfær’s work is like taking a walk round a city, embodying a
flâneur with heightened attention to the landscape’s textures, affects and forms. Her
work comes together to form a collage of the streets, in an apparent sense, and in a more
implied, subtler sense. Speaking to the more obvious sense, you can find a discarded
pizza box, a rusting pipe or an unwanted chair, all collected from the pavement. And in
the more abstract sense, through papier mache and broad pastel washes of paint, you
may feel the materiality of bricks and the torn advertisements peeling off them, and the
speckles of pale pink chewing gum on concrete walkways.

In Short-time Relations - a solo exhibition at Tag Team by Mette Sandfær - sculptural
methods and mass-produced quotidian objects dance together. Her work mimics the
choregraphies of the streets, whilst forming new choreographies amongst themselves.
Working across multiple mediums, Sandfær uses and reuses found objects to explore
the changing interrelationality of things, the spaces between them and the spaces
between us and them. Through a process of gathering, Sandfær works intuitively,
processing materials with her hands, exploring their latent sculptural potential or
hidden stories.

This solo exhibition transforms objects and materials that Sandfær has previously used
or shown into new arrangements. Often working with rules and limitations, she draws
inspiration from Robert Rauchenberg’s walks through the city in the 1960s - where he
would walk one block to find objects. If he was unsatisfied with his encounters, he would
take the next block. These parameters create a framework that, somewhat paradoxically,
primes a space for coincidences, luck and spontaneity.

Within the framework of using found materials and re-using old works, Sandfær builds
up her own language of symbols and materials, through which she writes slightly surreal
stories. They turn hierarchical order upside down, change the expected function of
objects - they find new homes, new friendships, and sometimes they fight each other.
They take on different roles: some need support, some support each other, some hold
each other down. A sock becomes heavy and a brick becomes light. Some are strange,
new alien objects, whilst others are instantly recognisable emblems of the everyday.

Like the city streets or like treasure and trash washed up on a beach after high tide,
these objects scatter themselves across the space. Entangled in each other, debris of
lives lived, they chaotically, harmoniously and curiously come together, for just a short

Kiosken in conversation:
Mette Sandfær

KIOSKEN IN CONVERSATION is a series of interviews that engages with our current exhibiting artists, KIOSKEN STUDIO residents and the Kiosken Shop community through conversations about their practices.  
Mette and I met in her studio, just down the road from Kiosken, at C. Sundts Gate 55. It was an icy, bitter January afternoon. With strong black coffee steaming in our cups, we sat surrounded by her work - where recognisable household figures (an ironing board, crutches, a blue suitcase, a high-visability jacket) met with papier mache, rope, newspaper piles and rocks. The ironing board has an air-bag strapped to it - made from the used silver pouch from a box of wine. It leans against the wall next to a bright red fire extinguisher. Mette points out that the fire extinguisher was not one of her works, but it does look at home amongst her sculptures. 
M: Mette Sandfær
R: Ruby Eleftheriotis

14.01pm Sunday 7th of January 2024
    Can you tell me a little about your time at Kiosken?
    I called my work at Kiosken Collection Trap. It included previously used materials and objects that were mounted in a grid of 3 orange bands, stretched to the wall. I tested 5 installations on the wall during the residency, starting very simple, and then leading up to the final installation, which was previously used materials mashed into a bag, so heavy it was barely possible for it to hang. The idea to hang my material up on the wall came from my fascination with trompe-l’oeil. I looked a lot at an artwork by a Dutch painter [Still-Life (1664) - Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten], where 3 ribbons hold different objects. 
    Yes, I remember in that final installation you had objects on the wall - and then on the table, or like on a bench. I hadn’t seen you do something like that before.
    I’m very interested in examining different possibilities for exposing my stuff. The table was kind of new. We had this open studio at B-Open in September, and I had just moved into my studio, and I thought, how can I tell people that I’m very interested in materials? And so I made a table with these shapes, because I think it’s quite easy for people to relate to as they can recognise the shapes and see the spaces in-between. And it’s a limited area in a way, so it’s kind of easy to… 
    To digest?
    Yeah, yeah. So I wanted to use that idea again.
    A lot of the artworks you make utilise found objects. And you re-imagine the ways they can be presented, by making unusual pairings, playing with form, and playing with the spaces between them. Can you talk a bit about your method of finding these objects and working with them?
    I work a lot with rules and limitations - I’ve always had rules. I like to work with objects that I’ve used before, and finding new ways to relate to them, and new ways they can relate to each other. What happens when two things meet together? Do they clash, or is it like a happy marriage? 
I often think in silhouettes. Thinking about the overall shapes and spaces the objects can take up. I’m drawn to using things I find, walking around the streets, rather conjuring shapes and images out of your own mind. Obviously, it is my own mind that creates the objects ultimately, but I like to leave something to chance, to luck.
    It’s like you are creating your own language, but borrowing from a language of objects that aren’t yours originally.
    Have you ever used more natural materials - like sticks, branches?
    Actually yeah. I had an exhibition at Bergen Kjøtt during my MA, where I used a lot of branches. Actually it’s my branches laying over there [points to a pile of branches leaning against a wall]. I do use branches, but not a lot. But it’s okay, I’m allowed to do that [laughs].
    But you disguise them quite a lot. And now I think about it, you use rocks a lot right?
    Yeah, they are very useful, because they are free and you can use them for stabilising. It’s a lot about trying to keep up, keep your work standing, so I use them as weight plates in a way.
    There’s often a mixture between really light materials and really heavy materials. And to me it plays with the idea of expectations... The contrast of materials makes me forget the intrinsic properties of the materials, they become new. 
    I like that there’s humour. I think if there isn’t humour it is very hard to do anything in life. You have to laugh, because everything is absurd. You know? And I like the clash between - exactly - these practical materials… And the clash between something that you cannot figure out what it is, and then, for example this jacket [points to a sculpture with a hi-vis jacket wrapped around it], that kind of brings you back to everyday life, to what you know.
    Everyone knows that the jacket is a symbol of, of caution…
    I like that you switch from something you don’t understand at all, that is maybe absurd and ugly, then you get this piece of pizza tray and suddenly you think, “woah, I gotta eat pizza tonight” [laughs]. Your mind is kind of moved around in a way.
     You play with the language of signs and symbols. It brings me back to the trompe-l’oeil too, this idea of an illusion, of playing with expectations.
Back to Top