Next up in the new Amsterdam Faces series, highlighting upcoming creatives in the Netherlands, we invited Mie to chat about art, finding your passion and corny quotes. Originally from Stavanger, Norway, the 22-year old currently lives in Amsterdam studying Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. After just having some of her work exhibited at the renowned Stedelijk Museum, we felt like this was the perfect timing to get to know the young artist better.
Nice to see you Mie! Let’s begin with your artistry. How would you describe your creative practice?
Within my creative practice, I like to work a lot with bodies; how my body functions as a vehicle for entering different contexts of knowledge production. Last year I realized I had formed all these different representations of my physical body …but now, I’m focussing on relating to bodies in much more of an imaginative, psychological way. My practice can be seen as a place for the materialization of self objects, where I explore different ways of visualizing my own symbolic logics deriving from metaphorical symbols I meet on my path.
And how do you express these findings?
I express this mainly through sculpture and performance. I find that performance is a very special medium which allows you to be present with your body while connecting with your intuition in the moment. There is this mental shift needed, which I find demanding and intriguing at the same time. I’ve also done sculptural installations, in which I find more space for myself to move in and out of a narrative while putting crucial focus on the curational aspect. I like how the narrative of a piece can change based on where you choose to place it… the environment, the context of it. I can really push a work into a more specific or rendered direction in relation also to an audience.
Has art always been your focus? If you look back maybe 10 years, where did you see yourself?
It’s really funny because in high school I was studying natural sciences. I felt super pushed by society (I had this like ‘good girl syndrome’), to get A’s and do chemistry. So, 10 years ago I was like, “I’m going to become a chemist”.
Make your parents proud.
Yes, exactly. Except, this system was always about remembering, not necessarily about what I found interesting. It was just a lot of pressure while making great friends, you know?
I feel that. The pressure to take advantage of all the educational privileges you have been handed. Knowing not everyone has that access, but also not being that interested yourself.
Exactly! When a close family member of mine passed away in my last year of high school, I really got into this cliché memento mori line of thought, really facing this “don’t take life for granted” attitude. After a while, I was like, what am I doing? Like, I don’t like this. Eventually, I left my hometown and entered an institution that allowed me to flourish creatively.
Around what time in your life was this?
This was when I was 18. It was then I moved to Florence to go to an art school there. It was there that I fell in love with myself as a creative person somehow. It became such a big part of my identity.
Essentially, it’s like you discovered a small part of yourself, which opened the door to more exploration of this side of you.
Exactly! That’s how it felt. From then on, I’ve never doubted that side of me.
Looking towards the future now, is art the only thing on your horizon? Or, do you think there’s anything else you’d like to explore?
Well, since my idea of making art is so broad, I just don’t see myself dying out of ideas/interests. I see it continuing forever. I wonder if I will have time for everything?
I think I’m probably going to switch a lot. From how I prefer to get my income (if I want to depend on a gallery), to my environment… thinking about how my work can be nurturing yet also relational to income.
Yes – money is also a key player when it comes to the longevity (or the possibility) of artistry.
I see this tendency often, where you get paid in visibility… but that’s not currency. But I also have to think about what kind of people do I want to be in possession of my art? Do I just want to sell it to the rich for a lot of money, or do I want to sell it to people who actually care about it?
Your art is integrally connected to nature and heritage, you’re from Norway. Would you describe these as your main sources of inspiration?
Inspiration, for me, can sometimes start with the material. I get very intrigued by material, the properties and what I can access in this material. Other times, it really feels like I have something to share, and I cannot share it unless I materialize it into a creative process. Other times it can really be a text that can be eye-opening or my classmates’ works and different artists.
Do you have any examples of artists/works who inspire you?
An established artist that has really inspired me lately is Selma Bekirovic. She’s a wonderful person making some interesting connections in the “human relating to animals” sphere. Also, the people constructing the Rietveld boble together with me – there are new creative inputs everywhere! I experienced one work in Paris last fall that I will probably never forget, which was called “Natures Mortes” by Anne Imhof. Her performance was probably the best artwork I have ever witnessed.
So interesting, love some of Anne Imhof’s work! Huis Marseille currently hosts Charlotte Dumas’ work, which similarly reflects on the topic of how childhood is connected to nature and how animals are connected to humans. It was super beautiful and emotional as well… I think you’d like it.
That’s beautiful. I need to see that.
Are there any collaborations that you’d love to have in the future?
My roommate William Spangaard Nielsen, who is also my best friend. Also, my dear friends Nanna Ingemann Egelund and Ivalu Antoni Carlsen who I just recently performed with at W139 and hope to further collaborate with in the future. But also with people that I haven’t met yet.
You discuss how art allows you a voice. As a universal language – while it’s not actually translatable – what message would you like to spread through your work?
So far, I’m quite occupied with this thought; what message I am spreading to others… but it’s still something that I’m figuring out. A goal for me is connection. When I share something that I’ve learned, felt, or worked through myself, it’s important for me that someone else is able to feel connected to that. I want to provide a space where people can feel (or think) certain things. I recently learned that someone cried during one of my performances, for example, and that was like, wow. This story really touched me, to hear that someone can get so emotional about something that I actually also find so emotional. We were exchanging emotions, which I think is very nice.
That’s beautiful. I can imagine that exchanging a reciprocal emotion seems like one of the highest forms of reward you could get. Mie, last question. Is there anything else on your mind that you’d like to share with me or the Glamcult audience?
Nothing I can think of. I feel like I should mention more artists, but then I can’t really think of any right now.
Maybe a corny inspirational quote?
Oh, yeah. I actually bought this book with amazing inspirational quotes – I’m going to send you a photo of it and that’s my quote.
“sending love to all beings
may all beings continue reclaiming their power
may all beings heal themselves and the world
may all beings be happy and free”
Amazing. I’ve always wondered who buys those! Thank you so much. Lovely speaking to you.
You too. Thank you so much!
Photography by Jaane
Creative Direction & Production by Felix Razum
Featuring Mie Rygh Reianes
Words by Felix Razum