The Poetry of Hybrids

Gunvor Nervold Antonsen: Spring Burial. Fabric montage, mono typography, objects. Variable dimensions.
On 17 November 2015, the exhibition The Poetry of Hybrids, featuring works by Gunvor Nervold Antonsen, will open at the Textil Museet in Borås, Sweden.

Underlying the exhibition is the fact that Nervold Antonsen is this year’s winner of the prestigious Nordic Award in Textiles – northern Europe’s largest textile prize, awarded by the foundation Fokus Borås. This year the jury has consisted of Eva Schjölberg, winner of the prize in 2003; Ingrid Blekastad, director of Kunstbanken Hedmark Kunstsenter; Kirsti Braein, professor at Oslo National Academy of the Arts; Lars Elton, art critic; and André Gali, editor of Norwegian Crafts Magazine.

«A hallmark of her practice is the way in which she deals roughly and directly with materials. »

Jury statement

Nervold Antonsen moves in a rough landscape that at times extends far beyond the boundaries of the textile field. We find, for example, works that also include wood, paper or chalk. According to the museum’s website, the exhibition will present recent works that convey the artist’s ‘powerful style, where two- and three-dimensional objects in various materials and techniques come together in expressive installations’.

When the jury for Nordic Award in Textiles chose Nervold Antonsen, it justified its decision:

´Nervold Antonsen’s artistic practice coincides with an ongoing tendency to re-evaluate several Modernist visual idioms by perceiving them through the lens of contemporary art. A hallmark of her practice is the way in which she deals roughly and directly with materials. This treatment calls to mind the raw and ‘primitive’ aesthetics of Art Brut and early Modernist artist groups such as die Brücke and les Fauves. Nervold Antonsen reinvents this uninhibited form of expression in installations that fuse textiles, wood and painting into what could perhaps be called three-dimensional textile paintings; the public can enter these ‘rooms’ and gain a physical sense of their energetic qualities.


September 19, 2013. Fabric montage, mono typography, oil on paper. Variable dimensions, ca 350x320x350cm.
The Poetry of Hybrids/Hybridenes Poesi. Fabric montage, oil on paper and wood. Variable dimensions.

«As a concept denoting the crossbreeding of different species, the term ‘hybrid’ can point to an unorganized situation where something new can arise.»

The jury has selected Nervold Antonsen as the winner of the Nordic Award in Textiles 2015, based on her extensive career in textile experimentation. Pictorial treatment and formal-aesthetic challenges are combined in works of art with a wide appeal. Nervold Antonsen surprises and challenges, and through her artistic practice, has created an increased awareness of the textile material in art. Her works communicate to us directly and create resonance. Their force and fragility add something important in our time.´

According to the museum’s website, the exhibition is called ‘The Poetry of Hybrids’ because Nervold Antonsen is aiming to explore and create connections between material and immaterial phenomena; ‘between experience, reflection and form’. As a concept denoting the crossbreeding of different species, the term ‘hybrid’ can point to an unorganized situation where something new can arise. According to the museum, hybridization is a ‘process of possibility’ that is manifested in Nervold Antonsen’s expressive installations. The exhibition will primarily present works produced during the last few years, but it will also include some older quilts from the museum’s own collection – quilts from which the artist has drawn inspiration. Textile materials, through their relation to history, politics and gender, have a unique ability to tell stories, says Nervold Antonsen.


«Textile materials, through their relation to history, politics and gender, have a unique ability to tell stories»

Gunvor Nervold Antonsen
Early Pictures [Red Fruits]. Fabric montage, wood, oil and spray on paper. 450x280cm.

Gunvor Nervold Antonsen was educated at the National College of Art and Design in Bergen and is well represented in several major public art collections in Norway.

The Nordic Award in Textiles is northern Europe’s largest prize in the field of textile art. Since 2000, it has been awarded by the foundation Fokus Borås. The prize, which consists of SEK 250,000, is awarded every second year to a textile artist from one of the Nordic countries.

The prize will be officially awarded at a ceremony in Borås on 17 November, in connection with the opening of ‘The Poetry of Hybrids’. The exhibition extends through 24 March 2016.