Iben Høj’s recent work has a distinctly spatial orientation. A common feature in much of her textile art is the medium of large experimental installations with layers of colour shades and clusters of thread that alter the space around them. Blood Relations is a principal piece in the artist’s body of work and an example of her unique ability to develop and renew textile art, both technically and aesthetically.
Blood Relations is made exclusively in shades of red. This lends the construction a powerful expression and sparks inescapable bodily, visceral associations. Seen from a distance, the artwork has a graphic appearance and seems easily decoded, but on closer inspection, one discovers a wealth of strands that resemble blood vessels, in varying textures and colour shades. The dialogue between the structure and the material of the piece challenges the viewer through the encounter with the long, thin organically entangled strands, as form and space seem to merge into one through the subtle movements of the installation.
Høj created Blood Relations in a special technique in which she uses three hand-operated knitting machines to make large-scale pieces. After further treatment of selected sections of the knit textile she arrives at the variations in volume that challenge the visual sense of lightness or gravity and of where the piece begins and ends. All the threads are left-overs from previous productions. Thus, the materials in Høj’s art go from being waste products to gaining a new life.
Trapholt museum of modern art, craft and design has a particular focus on craft characterized by excellent craftsmanship and conceptual quality and is currently working with artists who involve the audience in the production of works. In 2019–20, the museum worked with Iben Høj on the installation Stitches Beyond Borders, created in collaboration with 750 private individuals in Denmark to mark the celebration of the reunification of Denmark and North Schleswig in 2020. There is a close aesthetic connection between Stitches Beyond Borders and Blood Relations by virtue of their large scale and the use of reds combined with the light and shadow effects of the knitting. Stitches Beyond Borders thus gains renewed relevance in interaction with its sister piece Blood Relations, which is presented in the exhibition Trapholt Collect 2022.
About Iben Høj
Iben Høj (b. 1970) graduated from University of Brighton, Faculty of Fashion and Textiles in 1997 and from the Københavns Tilskærerakademi (Copenhagen Cutting Academy) in 2001 specializing in machine knitting. Her work includes knitting for both clothing and interior design. She is also a workshop manager and teaching assistant professor at Design School Kolding. Høj has exhibited in the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, at Galleri Krebsen and at Trapholt and is represented with five pieces in the permanent collection of Designmuseum Danmark.