Tori Wrånes: Mussel Tears

29 January - 12 March 2022
  • Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present Mussel Tears, a solo exhibition featuring Oslo-based Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes. The artist has been featured in numerous group shows at the gallery since 2016, however this is her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. 

     
    Tori Wrånes is one of Norway’s most celebrated artists. Known for her intricate installations and performances that combine sound, extravagant costuming, prosthetics, and large-scale sculpture, Wrånes’ practice involves fantastical interpretations of themes such as queer identity, Nordic folklore, and environmental change.

     

    As a synesthete—a person with a condition of combining senses such as sight and sound—Wrånes visualizes vocal patterns into a sculptural form. In turn, she also visualizes form in sound, sculpting with her voice and creating spontaneous languages in her performances.

  • Mussel Tears premiers sculptures, paintings, sound, and performance together to evoke dream-like narratives, where the familiar becomes fantastical. The exhibition...
    Tori Wrånes
    Mussel Tears, 2021
    Steel, concrete, mussels
    26 x 13 x 20 in

    Mussel Tears premiers sculptures, paintings, sound, and performance together to evoke dream-like narratives, where the familiar becomes fantastical. The exhibition has developed from the artist’s ongoing observation of what she describes as “the quiet outcasts of society,” referring both to elements of nature and personal relationships. The works in the show visualize a sensory experience of the world.

  • The exhibition title routes the viewer through Kristiansand, Norway, a southern coastal fishing town and the artist’s birthplace. She fondly remembers exploring the waters as a child and expresses profound sadness about environmental degradation and the possible extinction of mussels that proliferated in this area. Known to ecologists as nature’s water filters, these mollusks play a principal role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

    • Tori Wrånes Mussel Tears 2, 2021 Steel, concrete, mussels
      Tori Wrånes
      Mussel Tears 2, 2021
      Steel, concrete, mussels
    • Tori Wrånes Mussel Tears 3, 2021 Steel, concrete, mussels
      Tori Wrånes
      Mussel Tears 3, 2021
      Steel, concrete, mussels
    • Tori Wrånes Mussel Tears 4, 2021 Steel, concrete, mussels
      Tori Wrånes
      Mussel Tears 4, 2021
      Steel, concrete, mussels
    • Tori Wrånes Mussel Tears 5, 2021 Steel, concrete, mussels
      Tori Wrånes
      Mussel Tears 5, 2021
      Steel, concrete, mussels
  • Wrånes pays homage to these quiet heroes by creating droplet-shaped sculptures that mimic the mussels’ oblong shells, which also signify human tears. She incorporates the mollusks into cement, contrasting the formal qualities of the hard exterior shell with the iridescent interior, further likening them to the human body. Wrånes is interested in what we reveal and conceal, carefully considering the experience of a world outside of our bodies and within our minds.

  • In a separate room of the gallery, a sculpture of a cat and a dog are united through a shared tail. Each creature is looking back at one another acknowledging that they are forever connected. Through these sculptural forms, Wrånes addresses the dependence and interconnection of all living beings. She charges her forms with a raw and emotional sensitivity that heightens our awareness and understanding of familiar objects and relationships. 

  • Tori Wrånes
    Fifth Leg, 2022
    Resin, urethane foam, steel, and acrylic paint
    15 x 78 x 16 in
    • Tori Wrånes Garden, 2022 Watercolor on paper, silicone on plexiglass, with bronze ring Framed: 42 x 30.25 inches
      Tori Wrånes
      Garden, 2022
      Watercolor on paper, silicone on plexiglass, with bronze ring
      Framed: 42 x 30.25 inches
    • Tori Wrånes Garden, 2022 Watercolor on paper, silicone and epoxy on plexiglass Framed: 42 x 30.25 inches
      Tori Wrånes
      Garden, 2022
      Watercolor on paper, silicone and epoxy on plexiglass
      Framed: 42 x 30.25 inches
    • Tori Wrånes Garden, 2022 Watercolor on paper, silicone on plexiglass, with bronze ring Framed: 42 x 30.25 inches
      Tori Wrånes
      Garden, 2022
      Watercolor on paper, silicone on plexiglass, with bronze ring
      Framed: 42 x 30.25 inches
  • Wrånes’ unique method of communication, using sound and form to convey primal emotions and truths, bypasses the structural hierarchies of...
    Tori Wrånes
    Hoolahoop for Velvet Hips, 2017
    Rope, silicone, color pigments, brass
    52 x 12 x 6.5 in

    Wrånes’ unique method of communication, using sound and form to convey primal emotions and truths, bypasses the structural hierarchies of language and rational thought. The result is a wide-ranging, experimental, and ritualistic practice that guides us outside of our known world. 

  • Tori Wrånes
    Mothers and Child, 2022
    Lucite, photocured acrylic, epoxy, resin, urethane foam, PVC, Bondo, birch, acrylic paint, concrete, steel fasteners, shoes, and textiles
    53 x 256 x 54 in
  • In Wrånes’s fantasy world, reality remains suspended. In the central gallery a large-scale sculpture of human bodies, featuring two mothers with a child, is present. A large flute extends from the mouth of one mother through the body of the other, uniting the two individual beings. On the floor, a young child reaches up longingly to play the flute that is connecting its parents.

  • Rumbling periodically throughout the exhibition is the sound of foghorns recorded from the lighthouse on the shores of Wrånes’s hometown. The blaring sounds are strung together by a melodic vocal whirling sung by the artist. Voice, for Wrånes, is a material matter that can be shaped and can shape others. Manifesting the artist’s interest in the culmination of sound, performance, and the body is Wrånes’s performance of Echo Face, an improvised performance. Through prosthetics, make-up, and props, she transforms her physical likeness into a new being and sculpts an operatic melody with her voice. 

  • Tori Wrånes: Echo Face from Christian Brems on Vimeo.

  • 'When I sing in a non-verbal language, it’s like sculpting. Both the voice and paintings contain emotion because it is...
    Tori Wrånes
    ECHO FACE, 2020–22

    "When I sing in a non-verbal language, it’s like sculpting. Both the voice and paintings contain emotion because it is an action that comes out of the body” – Tori Wrånes

  • Tori Wrånes
    Handmade Acoustics, 2018
    Silicone, pigment, and textile on panel
    80 x 57 x 5 in
  • LILITH PRESENTS - YOUR NEXT VACATION IS CALLLING by Tori Wrånes from Lilith Performance Studio on Vimeo.
    Tori Wrånes
    Handmade Acoustics, 2022
    Epoxy and pigment powder on panel with letter-carved frame
    Framed: 12.5 x 9.75 x 3 in

    LILITH PRESENTS - YOUR NEXT VACATION IS CALLLING by Tori Wrånes from Lilith Performance Studio on Vimeo.

    • Tori Wrånes Singing Painting 1, 2016 Silicone, acrylic, and foam on panel Unframed: 24 x 20 x 2 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing Painting 1, 2016
      Silicone, acrylic, and foam on panel
      Unframed: 24 x 20 x 2 in
    • Tori Wrånes Singing painting 5, 2022 Silicone, epoxy, acrylic, pigment, foam, and mussel on panel 24 x 18 x 2 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing painting 5, 2022
      Silicone, epoxy, acrylic, pigment, foam, and mussel on panel
      24 x 18 x 2 in
    • Tori Wrånes Singing Painting 4, 2021 Acrylic, pigment, and silicone on panel 24 x 20 x 1.5 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing Painting 4, 2021
      Acrylic, pigment, and silicone on panel
      24 x 20 x 1.5 in
    • Tori Wrånes Singing Painting 6, 2022 Silicone, acrylic, and pigment on panel 24 x 18 x 1.5 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing Painting 6, 2022
      Silicone, acrylic, and pigment on panel
      24 x 18 x 1.5 in
  • Punctuated throughout the walls, are a set of action-based abstract paintings that are composed of the same silicone and pigment that form the prosthetics of her costumes and sculptures. She calls them abstract dreams. These intuitively-created works function as non-verbal, abstract language output from the body that is based on rhythm, volume, and temperament. 

  • Lapping thick textures and colors together, these voluminous paintings point to a body, even more so, when she pierces the...
    Tori Wrånes
    Singing Painting, 2022
    Silicone and acrylic on panel with metal three-claw hammer
    Framed: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in

    Lapping thick textures and colors together, these voluminous paintings point to a body, even more so, when she pierces the frame of the painting, humanizing it by penetrating it physically with metal rings. Several frames are also engraved with words that evoke the very sounds that inform each painting.

    • Tori Wrånes Singing Painting, 2022 Silicone, epoxy, and acrylic on panel Frame: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing Painting, 2022
      Silicone, epoxy, and acrylic on panel
      Frame: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in
    • Tori Wrånes Singing Painting, 2022 Silicone, epoxy, and acrylic on panel Frame: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing Painting, 2022
      Silicone, epoxy, and acrylic on panel
      Frame: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in
    • Tori Wrånes Singing Painting, 2022 Silicone, epoxy, and acrylic on panel Frame: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in
      Tori Wrånes
      Singing Painting, 2022
      Silicone, epoxy, and acrylic on panel
      Frame: 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in
  • In the rafters of the gallery, a bean bag envelops a small painting, further highlighting Wrånes’s interest in the body...
    Tori Wrånes
    Bean Bag 12, 2022
    Bean bag: vinyl, foam
    Handmade Acoustics Painting: epoxy and pigment powder on panel
    30 x 30 x 30 in

    In the rafters of the gallery, a bean bag envelops a small painting, further highlighting Wrånes’s interest in the body and the precarity of the world she’s envisioned. 

  • Tori Wrånes (b. 1978 in Kristiansand, Norway; Lives and works in Oslo, Norway) recent solo shows include Handmade Acoustics at...

    Tori Wrånes (b. 1978 in Kristiansand, Norway; Lives and works in Oslo, Norway) recent solo shows include Handmade Acoustics at Ujazdowski Castle for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland; Hot Pocket at Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo; Ældgammel Baby / Ancient Baby, Kunsthal Charlottenborg Denmark; Flute Warriors, with Red Comunitaria Trans, Kuirbog Festival, Bogotá, Colombia; and Drastic Pants, Carl Freedman Gallery London. Select performances include Stone and Singer commissioned by the 19Th Biennale of Sydney; Yes Nix, commissioned by Performa 13, New York; Colombo Art Biennale, Sri Lanka; Dhaka Art Seminars, Bangladesh; CCA Lagos, Nigeria; The Eccentrics, Sculpture Center, New York; and Naam Yai, commissioned for the Thailand Biennale in Krabi. A forthcoming performance commissioned by the Lilith Performance Studio will be presented in April 2022 in Malmo, Sweden.

  • The artist is in the permanent collections of the Nasjonalgalleriet (The National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture), Oslo, Norway; Gothenburg Art Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway; Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Lillehammer, Norway; Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway; Preus Museum, Horten, Norway; and the Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker, Norway. Her work is also permanently installed at the Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway and the REV Ocean Collection, Port of Norway. Wrånes is represented by Shulamit Nazarian and Carl Freedman Gallery.

     

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