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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: TINE MIN

Instagram: @tinemin_artstudio

Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

My name is Tine Min and I work and live in Frederiksberg. I am a sculptor and poet, which is a natural combination that gives me a creative interplay that undeniably feeds each other. I am self-taught and hope that with my art I can give the world a kick of ‘FLOW ́ and at the same time show that it is possible to find a foothold and create space for new flourishing art. We need it. 

I have been an absolute creator since I was little. I could sit and draw or design strange inventions for hours at a time and my parents have always encouraged me to go the artistic route. However, it is only recently, exactly after my maternity leave that I decided to try my luck, as a thoroughbred artist. I had to reinvent myself - and my family's everyday life. I love my work, which is just the essence of me. Which should be the premise for all people, to let go of control and do what they are passionate about.

My process is sensual and intuitive - I never know what I will end up with. I let the clay play and fold itself between my hands. It is a compatible and merging process - a creative breathing space, where everything around is erased and reset in an otherwise tightly packed everyday life. I usually mix several types of clay as I think it gives something purely visual and because I rarely glaze my sculptures. I like the unpolished and raw expression. The natural structure of the clay is without gloss but incredibly beautiful and for me soothing to touch and feel. Sculptures is not only created to be admired as an object but must be touched and sensed in every way. I embrace the cracks that naturally occur at my meticulous contours as my art and optics is an expression in themselves for all that is imperfect.

I work from liquid shapes and contrasts. Shapes that break our usual patterns and surroundings, where everything is put in boxes. The boxes that are part of and shape our lives as well as our way of thinking. My works are also a break with the digital world, where we tend to distance ourselves from emotions, nature and where the distance to each other becomes greater and greater. There is a kind of anxiety that we need to face. My sculptures should stand as a stark contrast to this world. Challenge the boundaries between the aesthetic that we easily recognize and allow ourselves to be attracted to, as well as the ugly and unknown monsters that hide beneath the surface. 

Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

I have previously worked in a male-dominated world and helped to break the bias that undeniably continues to apply today, where these industries are rarely seen or associated with women in the driver's seat. I have a strong attitude towards equality and the concept ́gender ́, as it has had a topicality and complexity for as long as I can remember. On a personal level, it has in a way settled down from my own mother who was at home with my sister and I as well as the generation before, my grandmother and also my grandmother - therefore it has affected me in several respects. They were and are strong women, but the gender roles were clear, which I and women in our time try to break with. 

First and foremost, it is not only difficult for the woman, but for both sexes. The facets of finding out where we belong and how we should be and not be. In a world where gender, or nowadays referred to as the ́flowing gender ́, has been turned around and a general openness and acceptance has been adopted, there are still uncertainties and inappropriate aspects that are difficult to deal with. As a female and artist, I do not understand that only 22 percent are female artists, which Danish museums over the last 15 years have purchased and exhibited, and it is only one industry, but quite telling. Skewed gender representation and gender quotas may be boring talk, and it is not what should drive the women forward, but solely their talent and the fantastic work and thoughts behind it.

I do not know if I should work harder because I am a woman, as regardless of one's gender, it can be a difficult and closed industry when one is self-taught and relatively new to the subject. But I am so lucky, always knowing, thanks to the eternal support of my parents, what the meaning of being ‘good enough’ manages to manifest, and it has contributed to a relentless drive, even though the challenges can be many, so I consider it as part of a development journey.

I am very conscious of my gender, and it shines through in my work and to this process. These are strong proud works that stand for the sensual and should arouse emotions in the viewer. That is the art for all of us. To find out the emotions that exist in us, define or just leave them there. 

Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

There are many - as I get my inspiration from everywhere and everyone. There are so many admirable women who really set new agendas and frameworks for the new world.

Sabine Marcelis I forever admire. A powerhouse with an unchanging drive and believe in herself. Her works stand as a strong contrast to my own, but that only makes it even more interesting. They invite to play and with her strong colors and aesthetics, it's a wild craft. It is refreshing with someone who dares to play and performs it with such great awareness. 

With her insanely skilled lyrical disorder, Eva Tind is an artist who is also worth paying tribute to. She poetically and competently composes lyrics that inspire me in new ways. Challenge’s structure and paradoxes in an opaque way, where she gives much of herself to the readers. The personal touch most often causes me to create insight and reflection. 

... and I could name a handful more. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

I think we will always be unconsciously aware that we are the gender that for decades has been subject to some form of discrimination to varying degrees and it is still a question of whether we have dealt with the dilemmas and issues that these have caused until today. In some contexts, I do not feel we have moved in this long timeline. Nevertheless, in my own lifetime I have always seen women as the strong sex, as my surroundings have been influenced by them.

Giving birth to my beautiful daughter Philippa Olympia only confirmed me in these assumptions. Which of course also spawned many other feelings and thoughts that challenged me as the woman and mother in the relationship. My priorities changed from one day to the next. It is probably often the woman who take the longest part of the maternity leave and in addition also reorganize their working life for a while or more permanently. After all we more or less have to pause our careers to some degree the months or years in which we dedicate ourselves to our children.

But that does not mean that we can not make active choices about how we want the constellation in our own family and everyday life to look like and where this is based on. I will never regret the choice of the path as an artist nor the choice to be a mother - it is a new chapter that I continue to build on, which depends on the balance in my family and myself.

That said, I find it immediately challenging to break through. Since female artists do not, statistically speaking, exhibit or achieve as much success as men. Underlying this has a major impact on how women highlight and view themselves in the industry. Personally, I'm also not the type who's good at pushing and strengthening my brand on social media. It is important that we try to change our attitude to our own roles and break down some borders. It can be hard to do alone, as artists most often are. Therefore, initiatives such as interdisciplinary networks, forums, artist collectives etc. are really effective. We must think of new ways to unite us, this regardless of gender. I think the dynamics of these forces can have a positive impact on the art industry in general.

What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

I work very intuitively and the most important thing for me is that I reach the viewer in the same way. That I get them to go with me on this sensuous level and that it sets something in motion inside them. Thoughts, reflections, emotions and desires. It is the marrow of art and is by free interpretation an antonym for the static and that is why art is so important.

My work should reflect a circular mindset that they are not defined by time. Clay is a natural material that is extremely grateful, and people should not see my sculptures for anything other than what it is for them. For me, art must be at eye level - meet us where we are - lead us into the present. 

I let my works dry for a long time between my work sessions, to give them rest and peace. The sea is a great source of inspiration for me, as the mysterious element. The contrast between feeling drawn and giving in while being afraid of the unknown beneath the surface. This is where my beautiful monsters come to life and become interesting. The title of my works is ‘FLOW’. So please feel free to ́FLOW’.

At last, I want to mention that I have an exhibition in primo September 2021, at WALL Contemporary Art Gallery, Jernbanegade 20A, 9000 Aalborg. Here will a sample of my work be exhibited.

Each Monday we bring you a new interview with a female artist. Follow along at MUNTHE ART MONDAY.