Crystal curtains

Artist: ingegerd råman Tags: Permanent art

There are many stories about what happens when we die. Journeys through tunnels towards blinding light, light as a passage, and a passage like a misty yet distinct boundary to another existence, with no return.


Cecilia Hjelm/Statens konstråd

When we visit the leave-taking room, this boundary has been passed. Someone has died. Those who remain have to go on, without the one they have come to bid farewell. Ingegerd Råman’s assignment was to create a dignified setting for this leave-taking, with a design that was ‘timeless, pure and simple’, without being ‘culturally or religiously offensive’. Thanks to her great craftsmanship, she has achieved much more than that. Crystal Curtains seems to invoke life itself.

The location of the design was determined before she received the commission: The glass walls from floor to ceiling in the main entrance and on the floor below, where they separate the leave-taking room from a small garden outside coved by an arbour. The glass is now swept by vertical stripes of varying density, transparency and depth. At entrance level, sand-engraved, white-painted, burned-in lines give the impression of a gentle rainfall. At the same time, they make the clear glass visible; the thin membrane between two volumes of air that Ingegerd Råman has devoted her entire career to refining.

The glass partition to the leave-taking room has a denser pattern. Opaque from the outside, but transparent from the inside. The light falls through the misty, sand-blasted glass with painted lines, white as smoke. The screen, a sheer curtain that billows softly in the wind; a comforting cover of frostbitten snow.

The glass panes were made at Orrefors in close cooperation between the designer and its two most skilled engravers, at a time when the glassworks is once more threatened with closure. The workmanship is impressive. Each line is drawn freehand. The merest body tremor and the line would deviate, the glass would be ruined. But the hand did not falter. Not once.

When we cry, our tears fall on the one we mourn, but also on ourselves, our memories and the life we shared in a time that will never return. Tears of fury, joy, love, frustration… this room offers security, space and time for them all.

Lena From