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Tove Pedersen

May 25 – June 17, 2023

Press Release

Galleri Brandstrup is proud to announce our first retrospective solo exhibition with Tove Pedersen, titled "Splitthopp". The exhibition will feature tapestries , pile carpets and smaller preparatory works for tapestries from the 1960s until 2010s. The exhibition will open on Thursday, May 25th at 6PM and close on Saturday, June 17, 2023.


Text by Lotte Konow Lund, 2023.


Tapestry, embroidery, or appliqué—whichever work of Tove Pedersen's you turn over, you'll find that the back is as perfect as the front. If it's a woven piece or embroidery, there will be a ribbon sewn at the top, and on the woven pieces, the warp edges have been braided and tucked in. In the case of an appliqué, the entire back is covered with fabric, and the signature "TP" is stitched with machine embroidery in cursive loop letters and a highly visible colour. "When I create art, I'm a perfectionist. Only then," she says.


Tove Pedersen was a student at the School of Arts and Crafts from 1964 to 1968, a period during which the young women (there were no men in the class) were taught drawing, flat weaving, yarn dyeing, and materials science. In materials science, the students learned how to handle different materials such as linen, wool, cotton, and silk. The drawing instruction was divided into two parts. "We were taught figure drawing and technical drawing, and we always learned to draw the loom at full scale, regardless of whether we were weaving towels, clothing fabrics, rugs, or tablecloths. I still draw all my carpets one-to-one." However, tapestry was not part of the curriculum. "I had to teach myself," says Pedersen. "Our weaving teacher, Kjellaug Hølaas, said it would have taken too long to start in school, and she was right." But they did learn yarn dyeing, and Tove Pedersen has dyed all her yarn herself. She prefers chemical dyes. " To dye yarn with only natural colors is a romantic approach. Only chemical dyes can withstand light."


After completing her studies at the School of Arts and Crafts, Pedersen spent a year studying pedagogy at the State Teacher's College, focusing on art education. She understood early on that she would need something to support herself. "I forgot to marry rich," she says with a wry grin.


For Tove Pedersen, she is proud of her working-class background and combines craftsmanship with class consciousness, humour, and irony. It is a political matter to spend several years creating a work that does not have an epic or religious motif but instead depicts a prosaic moment in a person's life. Pedersen shows that being an artist is a job, but artists should also be free to observe and use the things they surround themselves with and engage in everyday life, whether it's enjoying a sexual intercourse with your beloved on a day off (Sunday Afternoon 1972), discovering a whole new world just below the water's surface (In Deep Waters 1989), or half-sleeping under a parasol in the south, watching the legs of boys diving into the water (In Motion 1984). Over time, she began working with appliqués, embroidery, and pile carpets, which allowed for a shorter distance from idea to finished work. Throughout the 1970s, Pedersen was prominent in the movement for a separate jury for textile artists in the Autumn Exhibition and later in the establishment of the professional organization Norwegian Textile Artists. She was active in the Artist Action 1974 and received several commissions to create banners for trade unions, in addition to numerous large-scale decorative commissions.


In the exhibition


A part of the preparation for creating a tapestry is the sample weaving. To explore possibilities and solutions, colour schemes and transitions, Pedersen has made a sample weaving for all her tapestries, including unrealized proposals for large-scale decorations. Pedersen's numerous sample weavings are a journey through an artist's life spanning five decades.


Both politics and humour are present in the tapestry Sunrise from 2007, where Tove Pedersen has placed Mickey Mouse's head on a background of colours inspired by Edvard Munch's sun in the university auditorium in Oslo. When she later wove a companion piece, Starry Night 2012, she used a complementary blue colour to balance the first tapestry. The motif in this piece was the head of a Coptic youth with beautiful eyes, taken from a weaving on a tunic dating back to around 730 AD. She has used a classic variant of Mickey Mouse's head, though classic in a different sense than the Coptic head. By placing them side by side, it's as if the two images question the baggage we bring when we observe. Do we see the two images as equals? Are we able to free ourselves from preconceptions, judgments, attitudes, and notions of high and low? Can we discover something new in the space between the archaic and the 20th-century emblem of capitalism?

"Why did you name the exhibition Split Hop?" I ask Tove Pedersen. "Split Hop sounds really cool, and I want the exhibition to be equally stylish. Besides, it's a chance to take. Sometimes, you might end up falling flat on your ass instead of landing on your feet."