After receiving her training in Norway and France, Jeannette Christensen has worked as an artist since the 1980s. She is known for using jelly as a material in several of her works, for example in sculptures and monochromatic “paintings”. The jelly undergoes a process of natural, organic decomposition, and the works cannot therefore be considered permanent. Christensen illustrates the passage of time in various ways, relating to a familiar theme in art history, that of memento mori – remember that you must die!
The installation The Birth of Liquid Desire consists of a table, a stool, and something that resembles a fluid clump of gel. The seemingly fluid mass is on the verge of flowing over the edge of the table. As spectators, we are curious as to what has happened. We may for example think of a kitchen table: Has someone spilled something? The piece can be interpreted in a variety of ways, with perhaps the most obvious reading drawing on the aspect of time. Christensen has said that in certain works she wants to freeze time, and that is precisely what she has done here. The mass is just about to drip down to the ground, but remains suspended forever. It is first upon a closer look that we notice that it is made of glass.
The title stems from a painting by the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Another work by Dalí features a liquefied watch that is on the cusp of slipping over an edge, just like the glass form in Christensen’s piece. In an effective way, Christensen helps us to seize the moment, thereby reminding us of the passage of time.
Text: Hilde Areng Skaara
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0