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Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Untitled, 2012, shelf, Velcro, shoe-lace, four framed tapestries, 59 1/2 x 35 3/8 x 31 1/2".

Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Untitled, 2012, shelf, Velcro, shoe-lace, four framed tapestries, 59 1/2 x 35 3/8 x 31 1/2".

Ann Cathrin November Høibo

STANDARD (OSLO) | Hegdehaugsveien

Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Untitled, 2012, shelf, Velcro, shoe-lace, four framed tapestries, 59 1/2 x 35 3/8 x 31 1/2".

For “Christopher Burden on My Shoulders,” Ann Cathrin November Høibo’s first solo exhibition, the rigor of the stark white cube was rumpled. Two towering white aluminum shelving units obstructed the viewer’s way through the space. A pair of seashells appeared on a wall otherwise considered too narrow for art, positioned according to the precise height and alignment of the artist’s breasts; this was Høibo’s pastiche of Madonna’s famous cone brassiere, Untitled (Sea Shells), 2011. The weighed-down shoulders of the exhibition title would be a second reference to the artist’s body; a third, the bronze cast of a pair of Rollerblades (Untitled [Roller Blades], 2012), taken from the ones she wore as a teenager, barely visible on a ledge strangely high above reach.

This is an art that leaves the studio as material components and finds its shape only during installation. Høibo’s wayward style might be a headache for gallerists; to viewers the work is an intriguing body of unsettlingly open-ended compositions. Alluring to look at but immune to approving glances, these objects just stare warily back at you. The narrative dynamic at work is one of intervals: communicating a bit, then withholding. Take Høibo’s inclination to hide art: In-between, small details were irking and working—a life-size bronze cast of instant noodles in a drawer, a piece of bright red Velcro under a shelf, an odd piece of woven wool seemingly astray, taped to the wall and hidden behind some drawers.

As omnipresent as the artist’s body was the body of her signature work tool, the loom; Høibo has a background in textiles. Though only a few works were actually woven—most prominently the four softly colored wool, silk, and cotton pieces, each of which is titled Untitled (Weave), 2012, and sealed behind glass in a wooden frame—it was as if the dim repetitive sound of the loom was beating in the background of the show. In spite of their IKEA stickers, her towering Untitled (Shelves), 2012, were no longer domestic furnishings—at home, who would pile the modules an exaggerated eighteen levels high? They’d become mere building blocks, and it might have been the grid shape of the loom’s warp that repeated itself in their pattern. Another shelf piece sported a type of grid. The central panel of the found object from a local parking garage supporting all four of the Untitled (Weave) pieces renders a geometrical pattern.

But if this practice is haunted by the warp’s grid, it is equally informed by threads and fabrics. Remember those noodle threads, cast in bronze, and the lengths of fabric purchased from haute-couture retailers now forming a soft platform under the white shelves. There was the braided seat of a child-size chair, and of course the woven wool, silk, and cotton works, either framed or astray. Like irreversibly tangled hair, Høibo’s threads are impure, organic interruptions, neglected and suspect, unlike the white, clinical surfaces of their surroundings—either hiding and thriving in obscured, dark places, or overpowered and neutralized behind glass.

Johanne Nordby Wernø