Karen Lofgren

Karen Lofgren works from a feminist decolonial perspective. Exploring ritual, history and mythology, here sculptures represent human relationships between cultural systems, social experiments, medicine and wellness, and the wild.


Video Transcript

The core of this body of work was from a project that is called "Could you name what is to cure? originally and that series of work is about ritual in the history of plant medicine, mostly relying on Anglosaxon rituals or pre Roman rituals in northern Europe.

And I was researching those with a Fulbright grant last year at central Saint Martin's College in London. I first presented this work at royal projects in an exhibition that was called "What is to cure?" in fall of last year. Um, a number of the works are newly made for this exhibition and to uh, engage with this particular space in a different way. Most of the geometric forms that are behind me are based on ancient anglosaxon rituals that are about passing through or pulling through, which is a type of magical transference that is made in between a sufferer and their ailment that their fizzy physically pass through something, be it a hole in a tree or rungs in a ladder that it does one of a few different things. One is it is a symbolic rebirth. The others, the others, that it transfers the ailment to the object itself. And the other idea is that it would create a magical barrier between the sufferer and their ailment.

There are objects that are meant to be semi geometric and kind of organic, and they're meant to refer to systems of organizing wild systems or civilized approaches to the natural world or, or cultural approaches to wild systems. So when I think about these sculptures, I really think of them as two things as sort of figures and as movements correlated to ritual movements of the body and healing rituals. So they are, to me very much embodied and they're very much occupied, you know, and they're meant to be figures. So, um, for example, the idea of performance inside of an installation like this is antithetical to me because I think of the objects themselves as being performers.

I think of them very much as being embodied or alive.

I guess I would like people to think about the object as they look at them and as they emulate through the space and to draw their own correlations and to bring their own stories to it. I don't necessarily want to be the boss of their experience. Um, I have a lot to say about the work. I do have a research based practice and in that capacity I can speak quite endlessly about my approach to considering these objects. I would like to consider, I would like people to think about their bodies in relationship to the correlations of their bodies in these works in scale, in pace, in measurement, in reach, and in gesture.


Audio Transcript

Karen Lofgren seeks projects that require extreme dedication and offer chances for research and deep understanding. Her interests in medicinal healing, mythology, and contemporary ritual build her spiritual creative practice. Cast Amazonian leaves and flooding gold assert a divine presence, but shape the gallery on a human scale while you walk through the space. Follow her sculptures as they extend like limbs from floor to ceiling, and trace your own movements alongside these cosmic and natural bodies.


The artist spent time in Peru’s Amazon and in London’s libraries exploring histories of medicine, from jungle plants to ancient surgical tools. Lofgren is fascinated by modes of knowledge – cosmic, mythological, rational, physical – as they are used to heal the body across cultures and time. Her sculptures represent a universal, embedded knowledge within the body, beyond what we think we know. Lofgren seeks to reconnect with the inherent magic of the natural world, in spite of our propensity to push the wild away, or control it.