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Artist presentation: Camilla MobergMaking the invisible visible


- See how the beetle glows in brilliant colours, artist Camilla Moberg says as she points at a two-centimetre-long rose chafer crawling on the ground in September.

The slow-moving beetle really shines in a dazzling metallic green. It feels the grass with its short antennae and shuffles under a maple leaf with its six legs. It seems like it has found its winter shelter.



Rose chafers are found all over the world. This specimen was photographed in Malaysia. The Emerald works include memories of this magnificent gold chafer, among other things.

Photo: Lee Foong Lee


At best, something new is born out of a crisis. That's what happened to Camilla Moberg. The insects appeared in her works at a time when she was reflecting on the meaning of her career choice.

– Is there any point in making more stuff in a world where there is already too much stuff? says Moberg about her ponderings.

She had been working as a designer with both ceramics and glass since 1985. The thought of too much stuff started to weigh so heavily on her that she questioned her job. A glimmer of light appeared on the artistic side when she designed the Inclusive piece for the Onoma summer exhibition in Fiskars in 2016. The material came from her conversations with people from different cultural backgrounds.

– While working on that piece, I found a working model that felt right, which I later named Messengers in Glass.

These works are based on natural stones – those stones that people all over the world have used throughout the ages to send messages to each other. Rock formations have provided concrete guidance, for example, in difficult terrain, warning and encouraging people to keep going.



Inclusive, 2016. The work is the result of a multicultural project.

Photo: Katja Hagelstam



Messengers in Glass: Välke, 2020.

Photo: Jenny Moberg



Messengers in Glass: Zok. This work is based on ants.

Photo: Jenny Moberg


– I was inspired by the fact that I could use my glass art to highlight things that were important to me. When it comes to problems, the challenge is that I value both substance and beauty in my art. How to tell people about problems so that both sides are visible?

 

 

Enchanting diversity

 

Insects and small soil-dwelling creatures, mostly invisible to the human eye, have found their way into Camilla Moberg's art. Moberg is fascinated by the imaginative colours, shapes and especially the purpose of these creatures. These little bugs take care of vital things like cleaning water and air and recycling nutrients.


The insect world is an immeasurable treasure trove for those seeking beauty and meaning. Almost 24,000 species of insects are known in Finland alone, and globally the number is barely known. Moberg is constantly observing her surroundings, searching for information and interviewing researchers. That's why she has a stack of stunning insect photos on her computer – the starting point for her artwork.

 

Art communicates at home and abroad

 

Moberg's insect-inspired glass works have been well received both domestically and internationally. The last time the large, totemic Emeralds works were on display was in October 2023 at the PAD art fair in London at the Galerie Maria Wettergren pavilion. The next large-scale public light sculpture to be built in Finland will be on display at the Fokus Culture House in Karjaa in March 2024.



PAD Longon, 2023. Galerie Maria Wettergren's pavilion. The photo includes Emerald light sculptures, among other things.

Photo: Todd White


Cooperation with a glassblower

 

Moberg has chosen the hot shop of the Glass Company in the Nuutajärvi glass village as the production site for her works. She knows her glassblowers and the glass village where she has worked since 1995. Large works of art require skilled glassblowers, a wide range of glass colours and a good glass mass. Moberg does not blow her own glass, which highlights the importance of finding a common language with glassblowers. Before entering the hot shop, Moberg prepares detailed colour plans and drawings. The presence of the artist during the studio session is essential, as the process of completion is long and often involves quick decisions on forms or colours. Glass does not wait and does not necessarily agree to advance plans.



Camilla Moberg's sketch, which is the starting point when working with glassblowers.

Photo: Camilla Moberg.

Working in the hot shop with a team of blowers. Jaska Liikanen and

Samuli Parkkinen. Kuva: Janika Karttunen


But why insects?

 

– Because, if the current insect decline is allowed to continue, it will also mean the end of the human species. This is a dramatic statement, but it is true. I want to use my expertise to convey this message and remind people that there is still a lot we can do to preserve biodiversity.


Camilla Moberg graduated with a Master of Arts from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University) in 1992. Before that, she studied at the Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden and at the Free Art School in Helsinki. Her works are made in Nuutajärvi. Moberg has her home and gallery in another old ironworks village, Fiskars. Moberg has participated in many national and international exhibitions. She has been awarded several grants to support her artistic work, including twice a 5-year and once a 3-year grant from the State Design Commission. Moberg is a member of the Association of Finnish Sculptors.

 

 

Text: Marja-Leena Salo


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The Arts Promotion Center Finland (Taike) supports Lasikomppania with its communication activities. Stay tuned for future blog posts from Lasikomppania, where we will be able to get to know all the individual artists, their news and their working methods. Subscribe to the newsletter (in Finnish) at the bottom of the page to receive new blog posts and other news from Lasikomppania!


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