June 3 – 25, 2023
The skin pillars
Pillars of skin and bone stand stretching toward a glowing sun. I have the feeling of a landscape, a desolate landscape, there are no leaves, no wind. Only the creak of the limbs. The pillars that sink into the dusty orange earth also lift up the sky. They spin on their own axis, draped with folds of skin. Several of the limbs have been here for a long time, the bones are withered and the skin slides down to the ground like melted wax.
I take a few steps in between the limbs. They breathe against me, exhale through the pores of the skin, they are alive. Sweat oozes from the bark of the skin, bubbling trunks. The smell of sweat is cool, like a crisp breeze from a salty sea. The skin forms a small cave.
A fold of skin, and a crevice, the undulating skin, a hollow against the bone, they are all receptive to touch, and move and quiver slightly when I press my thumb into the fat, soft layers. The body’s largest organ is the skin, the wild patterns of cells, created and recreated in front of me.
The skin slips, melts, regenerates. The glaciers of the skin.
There is someone who comes here and looks after the limbs, they are the skin workers. They wear gloves, beige suits in a papery fabric that creaks when they move. They sweep the ground around the limbs, singing while they work, the dust swirl in front of them like the veils of bee keepers. The skin folds and unfolds, shape itself to their song. When the workers withdraw, the skin bleeds small drops of orange, resinous liquid.
My feet are burning.
The skin is a crawling child, clinging to the bones.
I stand between the pillars and after a few days a warmth slides up through my body from the soles of my feet. My own skin is starting to crumble. My feet glow with a lava-like heat, slowly they sink into the dry earth. I take root, grow between the other pillars. I bow forward. As I dig my nails into the limbs to make contact, a low moan emits. Oh, I have to be careful, if I touch them with too much force, they pull back with a soft swish, like a tendon that’s been stretched too far, shyly.
I stand in the sunset, licking skin salt from one of the limbs.
A creak from one of them like a scream.
I know if I stand here long enough I’ll begin to take shape after them.
Text by Kirstine Reffstrup
Ingrid Eggen (b. 1979, Norway) lives and works in Oslo. She holds a BA from Oslo National Academy of the Arts (Institute for color) and Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. She undertook an independent project in artistic research for 6 months at the Akademin Valand, School of Photography in Gothenburg.
Eggen has exhibited at venues such as Henie Onstad Art Center, Haugar Vestfold Artmuseum, Lillehammer Art Museum, Kunstnerforbundet, gallery 1857, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City and Ulterior Gallery, New York.
Recent solo exhibitions include the FUTURE FAIR 2022 at Chelsea Industrial, New York, TRUST – f/stop – 9. Festival fur Fotografie Leipzig (2021), galleri MELK (2021), Oslo Negativ (2021), Galleri Noplace, Oslo (2020), Fotografihuset, Sukkerbiten (2020) and Sandefjord kunstforening (2020). Her work is in several private and public collections such as The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, The National Museum in Oslo, The Henie Onstad art collection, Equinor Art Programme and Oslo kommunes art collection.
The exhibition is generously supported by Norsk kulturråd, Ingerid, Synnøve og Elias Fegerstens stiftelse for norske bildende kunstnere og Norsk Fotografisk Fond (Nofofo).