Inspiration and ideas

When I first came to London I was captivated by it’s visual richness and complexity. Compared with the Danish countryside, where I grew up, this new impression of the world stood in stark contrast to the simplicity, flatness of the landscape, and the expansive sky over my head, that I was familiar with. One of my first impressions of living in the city was how small the sky seemed from ground level. Where I was used to viewing the horizon line straight ahead of me, I now had to look upward and the sky was shaped by the outline of buildings and towers. As I walked down the streets I found myself continually looking to the skyline, and saw how the towers and cranes punctuating the sky came to act as the visual border to my world – the edge of the place I was in.

It was this process of becoming familiarised with, and settling into, a completely different environment that led me on this journey of ideas and to make works where I use photographs representing real places that I know, to re-construct and re-interpret the city as I see it. Landmarks and significant buildings came to act as signs that connected and located me. I needed an overview and I needed to picture myself in relation to it.

I realise that I often think in symbols, with my own meaning attached to places and things. The city, with all its architectural busy-ness, is a collage made from glimpses of places I see as I walk. It is visually flat, like a big façade, which I only relate to externally and through a few open doors on its surface.

 

A door is not a door to me unless it is open – if the door is shut it is a wall.

 

I see London as one big castle with tower tops, a myriad of pathways, tunnels and underground dungeons. The River Thames provides visual breathing space and is both a lifeline and way out. Windows suggest life within and eyes looking out. Open doors carry meaning such as access, friendship and connection with life in the city. Airplanes and birds in the sky connect me to other places in the world, and symbolise freedom to come and go. The sky is more than thin air -it comes right down to our feet, where we walk…

…It is in the WHITE SPACE, in the in-between space, where we live and move, where the wind breathes, where there is visual quiet and room to be. It is the unknown ground onto which we take steps of faith. It is the unseen yet real. The “white space”, being part of the graphic vocabulary, is subtle in meaning, seemingly empty but as essential in giving contrast to the more dominating shapes and forms.

It is concrete like the paper itself. It is more than a background – it is the ground on which the printed word and picture stands.

“Walk in the White Space” is an ongoing series of works reflecting on these themes through the medium of screen-printing, embossing, paper- cut and mixed media works on canvas.

Louiz Kirkebjerg Nielsen