The art of not making..


by Helene Uffren

This blog and this exhibition are about making, techniques and the makers behind the processes and ideas. It is about identity, hence the title of the exhibition “Portraits in the Making”. The art of making has another side though – and I would like to give a brief view of my experience of that other side: The art of not making.

In my practice, I use glassblowing, gilding, photography, painting, metalwork, found objects, mirroring, woodturning, metal casting, kiln-formed glass and now moving images. I am not proficient in all of these techniques but am proficient in most of them.

To give form to my ideas, I rely in part on the skills and knowledge of others. For example, a glass blower, a metalworker and a wood turner have made parts of my pieces for this exhibition. This is because I do not have the experience or the equipment to do it myself. Not having total control on the making is twofold: frustrating at times but also rewarding. Through collaboration and exchange, new ideas and sources of inspiration often occur. I do not have an issue about parts of my work being materialised by others. It fits my goals.

Glass does not summarise my practice even if it is present in all my works – I define myself as a glass and mixed media artist. Using or being defined by only one material is too restrictive and is a constraint to me. This versatility of mediums and approach to making forms my portrait as an artist- and the participation of the viewer makes it whole-the final piece.
The viewer, too, makes the piece, as he/she is often reflected in it, as in one of my works for this exhibition “Undergrounds”

“Undergrounds” : Tiling the fake wall

This Glass and video project investigates the notion of visual displacement and takes the viewer into a perceptual journey from the familiar to the over-looked and the surreal. It is an exploration of our physical and psychological experience of space and place. Most of all it is about the interaction between virtual/physical, real/illusion that is at the core of my practice.

With “Undergrounds”, the viewer becomes part of the work, reflected and arrested by the act of looking and seeing him/herself going back and forth between a real and fictional space…into a liminal space.


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