The colorful installations by the Sámi artist Outi Pieski featured in Nordic Impressions are made with traditional shawl-making techniques. Her work combines hundreds of colored Sámi tassels tied to wooden branches to create an immersive, undulating drawing in space. Pieski’s art interweaves memories of the indigenous people of Scandinavia with the mountainous landscape of the north.
The Phillips Collection’s Head of Conservation Elizabeth Steele spoke with Culture Radar‘s Ann Greer about the therapeutic installation of a piece that is as beautiful as it is fragile. “The longer wings folded like an accordion, and there was the inevitable tangle. One person on a ladder would fit a wing on the frame, and the other two of us let it unfold. Then we spent the next half hour untangling. It is well made and was well labeled, it was easy in that respect, there was no guesswork. But it is fragile, and birch branches will snap easily.”
Steele notes that installing “Crossing Paths” was similar to restoring a painting, in that it was repetitive and almost therapeutic.
“We got into it, it was very Zen,” Steele chuckles. “Just staring at the artwork for about ten hours was calming.”
You can read all about the installation of Crossing Paths in Culture Radar and view the work at the Phillips until January 13.