Wednesday 9 December 2015


ARABESK – a series of books made in relief print and hand-cut stencils on 11-12 grams Japanese paper. Each book has 4 – 7 sheets. The paper and the ink is so transparent that you always see something of each sheet. The books have black covers. Edition of 1 to 5. Year 2014- 15.
Here you see images of ’Arabesk 12’.

The paper is translucent, soft, airy, and completely silent. Quick movements of the papers is physically impossible. Each sheet has one visual element, a shape which is mirrored as you turn the page.

The fragile paper is printed with motives developed from Arabic ornamentation. This expression was originally created out of mathematics and geometry, to avoid imagery that might lead to idolatry. I wanted to combine the book as a system, with this geometry to see what that could bring. I find it fascinating how the images switch between flat and spatial, and that despite the strict patterns, associations may vary and go towards modernism, the oriental, and paradoxically also towards figuration.

The transparency causes overlaps between the pages that create new shapes and new colors. The sheets melt together in a way which makes it almost impossible for the reader to predict the next sheet’s exact pattern and color, or to remember precisely the last motif. It plays with the illusions of form, color, space and order. The image is transformed with each turn of a page and becomes ephemeral.

A book starts to exist the moment its pages are turned. Since the book is a media of intimacy, presence and touch, haptic communication inevitably establishes meaning in itself, a communication which invariably will be in some kind of relation to the mental content. It is an arena where perception and thinking operate together, it might also bring awareness of your own perception.

Books have been holy objects for many different reasons. The fragility of the paper and the actions necessary, may add a ritualistic element to the act of reading. I see the reader’ act as a performance, a slow motion ballet. In a materialistic culture of mass consumption and noisy, offensive expressions, I find it appropriate to react by focussing on tranquility, care, and consideration.

Like mandalas, which often are written in sand to be washed away, I have tried to create a space for a contemplative experience, displaying the ever changing character and relativeness of existence, where different elements always are colored and influenced by their surroundings.

One time based media can express another; see a slow motion page-turner, a real interactive media by clicking:

Arabesk 4:
Arabesk 9:
Arabesk 12:

Randi Annie Strand, visual artist, born in Norway 1962. Lives in Oslo. MA from Bergen Academy of Art and Design (92). Language, signs and sensory experiences are central elements in her works. Her ideas has been realised through different media and techniques. She has had many solo- and group exhibitions in Norway as well as abroad. Purchased by The National Museum, KODE Art Museum among others.

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