Astrid Svangren

Ballad of Living and Dying

Astrid Svangren’s relief and painting is made of mussels from the Isefjord. In the work they form … a woman, a butterfly or perhaps an embodiment of the sea itself?
This work specifically combines the local history of Holbæk (its connection to the sea as a trade route) with the location of the work in Ahlgade, the main street of the town with numerous shops and businesses. The work was inspired by fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who has used mussels for several of his creations.

Mussels are wondrous marine animals — their hard exterior shell, with the gleaming mother-of-pearl treasured for jewelry and decoration contrasting with their soft, delicate insides. As in nature, the mussels in Svangren’s work appear in clusters: often found in large groupings on rocks and other things, attached to a surface to avoid being crushed by the surf. Mussels attach themselves by so-called byssal threads. Formed in a gland positioned at the rear end of their “foot,” they evolved as the mussel’s way of remaining steady rather than whirling away alone into the dark, dangerous ocean: Their way of clinging to life and evading death.

b. 1972 in Gothenburg, Sweden, lives and works in Copenhagen.