Awarded 1st prize, ‘The Seglem Prize’, at Haugesund International Festival of Artistic Relief Printing 2019 (link)

Rop i skogen (Shout in the Woods), Idun Baltzersen (Norway)

In recent years, young women have made energetic inroads into the male-dominated field of printed art. Idun Baltzersen is one such woman. Her work Shout in the Woods reflects both tradition and innovation. Her woodcut is impressive in both execution and format. It has precision and refreshing rawness in its expression. Baltzersen makes her marks and cuts into the wood with confidence and energy. Both the printing plate and the printed work reveal a love for the media, but also productive aggression.

Baltzersen has chosen to print her wooden templates on textiles. The cut subject consists of clear, figurative forms, while the printing is rough and nonchalantly executed. Flecks and other traces of the process are important components. The large format (260 cm x 260 cm) is given a sculptural character through the sewing together of several pictorial fields into one unified work. The picture folds and flaps against the wall and lacks precise edges.

The female figures who turn their backs to us hold various references: one that readily comes to mind is the aloofness of teenagers who turn a cold shoulder to people not in their click. Another is Romanticism’s figures as seen from the back, standing before sublime nature.

Baltzersen’s girls quite literally have a dark quality about them, and unlike the male figures in pictures from the 1800s, they fill the entire format without us knowing what their hidden faces are looking at or into. In contrast to the Romantic tradition, the girls’ backs loom large, with ponytails and hoodie jackets dominating the pictorial plane. Turning away from us, they block our view – or insight – into their world; the world of the next generation. Baltzersen has created an image of liberated girls with the self-confidence to reject us, and it can be experienced as both provocative and enticing.

Idun Baltzersen (b. 1987) is Norwegian but lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.

Rop i skogen (Shout in the Woods), 2018
Woodcut printed on textile, collage
2,6 x 2,6 m

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