Hilda Hellström | For Future Reference

24 August - 23 September 2023

We are very pleased to present Hilda Hellström's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Hilda Hellström's (b. 1984) work encompasses ideas around transformation and liminal states, presented through a preoccupation in casting processes and metamorphic aspects of materials. With an empirical and experimental approach, her interest lies in how cultural associations of materials affect our perception of the world around us.


Hilda Hellström’s work has its own internal logic, centering around the potential of casting processes. Throughout her career, she has developed techniques and approaches that may be challenging to grasp at first glance. She believes that encountering unfamiliar materials or processes creates a distinct phenomenological experience for the viewer. Her works are imbued with a mystique that can be traced to Hellström’s fascination with the infathomable realm of nature. In the metamorphic casting process, the material takes center stage, and the resulting works emerge from the interplay between artist and material. The casting compound is a piece of natural force – albeit controlled and packaged – and for the artist, coexistence with the material is equivalent to coexistence with nature.


References to geology consistently permeate Hellström’s work, and she likens casting to a geological process. The terminology hints at the similarities: cast and mold fossils, composite volcano, aggregate. These are sedimented stories, transformations frozen in time. In her studio, Hellström casts objects, only to dig them out or cut them in half. Here, she takes on the role of a geologist, paleontologist, archaeologist, and craftsman. She contemplates geological time and how our extraction of minerals and metals affects the geological timeline. Humanity’s existence is intertwined with that of geological matter, and like fossils, we achieve a form of immortality through the traces we leave in the bedrock. The works reveal thoughts about our ultimate existence as part of the bedrock, the planet’s most stable register.


A previous visit to Pompeii influenced Hellström in terms of ideas and casting techniques. This ancient city is a charged place where myth, archaeology, geology, and natural forces converge. It is also home to some of the earliest marbling techniques. Against the backdrop of Vesuvius’ silhouette, there is a sense of the volcano’s omnipresence. The city’s walls and streets are constructed from volcanic material, the same material that eventually buried Pompeii. The exhibition includes a piece that can be interpreted as a depiction of a fossilized paleontologist. Much like life in Pompeii, there is something beautiful and elusive about the notion of geology’s presence both in life and in the afterlife, as if the material were as inevitable as death itself. Hellström’s work evokes thoughts about time and the human life cycle, integrated with that of the Earth. About how past and future, life and death, are neither binary nor linear, but occur in parallel and constant flux.


Hilda Hellström (b. 1984) lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2012, and her work has since then been exhibited at Göteborgs konstmuseum; The British Craft Council; MAK (Museum für Angewandte Kunst), Vienna; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Tramway, Glasgow; London Design Museum, Eskilstuna Konstmuseum; Kalmar Konstmuseum; Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg; Art Basel Miami; Shanghai Power Station Art Museum; Daelim Museum, South Korea: Design Museo, Helsinki; and MUDAC, Lausanne, to name a few.

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