In her sculptural works, Kristina Berning (born 1984) addresses the relationships between inside and outside, between what we see and what remains hidden. The title Digging Sculptures refers to her artistic concept of developing the outer shape of an artwork through the process of digging.
For the multi-part piece Low Layer High Drift (2017), the artist dug cavities into a block of clay using her bare hands, then filled these with plaster. The resulting plaster sculpture has grooves, holes and hollows running like strands alongside each other. While all of them evoke the process of burrowing, they also produce an unusually dynamic shape. As a final step, Berning then segmented the sculpture to produce six parts, in this way allowing us to see previously hidden structures of the work.
For Raukan (2018), a sculpture that is almost three meters high, Berning again resorted to digging into the clay as a first step, in order to then blow the existing shape up to a much greater size using a 3D scanning technique. In this way, the work is no longer directly related to the dimensions of the human body – the enlargement has made the traces of digging much more ambiguous, with the original character of the piece as the result of manual labor thus being overcome. What’s more, the shape gains a new and distinctive materiality through the laser-cut building blocks.
Berning develops her pieces in a work process that remains deliberately out of her control in crucial ways, thus allowing unusual shapes and connections to emerge. She explores the spatial dimensions of the particular material, hollows it out, saws it in half, recombines it, tests its stability. In doing so, she often addresses the fundamental questions of sculpture, such as the relationship between sculpture and plinth, or mass and volume. With her Digging Sculptures, Kristina Berning creates a presentation conceived especially for this exhibition, in which space, sculpture and viewer enter into rapport.