Rhizom 8


Rhizom is a platform created at the art residency Kunstkollektivet 8B, in Unnerud (Denmark).
It is a reference to the horizontal world view of Gilles Deleuze in which time and place emerge through relations and as part of a network. Rhizom points to art as a network of roots that grow from below and outwards in all directions. (...), resulting in exhibition sites that pop up at various locations as opportunities arise in random encounters between visual artists away from home.

Learn more here

Rhizom 8 is a series of paper drawings and three-dimensional illustrations in fabric and wood.
These were created throughout a 3-month residency period and are the result of an interaction with the community living in the small village of Unnerud, combining local tales and stories with aspects of everyday life.
I took reference from the surrounding folklore: there was a story of the people living in Ulkerup forest, forced to depart when disease killed their cattle. Another tale mentioned a giant who threw a stone at a church in the village of Egjeberg, only to miss it and hit the sea instead. One other story mentioned a golden chain buried underground: the more one tried to dig it up, the further it got swallowed by the soil.
Impressions were also taken from visits to historic sites: a Stone Age grave, a windmill whose miller painted the inside with wildlife motifs, Højby church’s dreamy frescoes.
And everyday I was observing animals and plants amidst the quietness of fields, sky and sea.
A recurrent figure present in these illustrations is that of a person with very long hair. This character is based on Chiquinho, an old man whom I met in Estremoz, a small town in Portugal, were my mother was raised. He was an extraordinary presence 40 years earlier in that conservative town: he had long blonde hair, blue eyes, was gay and the only male housekeeper around. Despite those aspects that could have made him an outcast, or maybe because of them, Chiquinho was loved and protected by everyone.
In the illustrations, fabrics were used belonging to both my grandmothers, some of them I died with Danish seaweed and berries: yet another way of connecting and overlapping narratives.
Rhizom 8 is an exercise in merging distinct stories and places and finding their common thread. It is a reflection on the way in which memories, fantasy and reality often get entangled in our thought processes and find multiple combinations and possibilites.

Rhizom 8 was first exhibited at Nykøbing’s library near Unnerud, in Denmark.

Ulkerupfolket, 2019
Embroidery and collage on paper and hand-dyed fabris; found fabrics
120 x 350 cm

Unnerud sketchbook, 2019
Pencil on paper
Each 29,7 x 42 cm

Chiquinho, 2019
Embroidery and screen-print on found fabrics and fabrics dyed with natural and synthetic dyes; paper
140 x 450 cm

Sukkertang, 2019
Screen-print on hand-dyed linen
193 x 30 cm

Unnerud sketchbook, 2019
Pencil on paper
84 x 29,7 cm 

Troldstuerne, 2019
Acrylic on wood and papier-mâché; embroidery and screen-print on hand-dyed cotton fabric
124 cm diameter
Private collection

Tree, 2019
Screen-print on hand-dyed cotton fabric
120 x 140 cm (approx.)

Unnerud sketchbook, 2019
Pencil on paper
29,7 x 84 cm

House, 2019
Painting and collage on wood; Inside: acrylic on wood
26, 24 x 89 cm

Unnerud sketchbook, 2019
Pencil on paper
59,4 x 63 cm

Adeus, meu amor, 2019
Collage with and-dyed silk on papier-mâché
117 x 140 x 16 cm
Donated to Nykøbing Sjælland Bibliotek

Unnerud sketchbook, 2019
Pencil on paper
59,4 x 42 cm
63 x  79 cm
14,8 x 21 cm


All images and designs are copyright © Clara Leitão and may not reproduced