Curatorstext av Kristina Möster Nilsson
“The work is a cross section of a barely three millimetre thick pine twig. Standing in front of the building, one sees pith, marrow, kernels, annular rings, resin canals, wood and bark. As one moves inside the stairwell, cells, vascular bundles, tissue and stomata appear. The cells in the pine twig may be regarded as one of the most basic building blocks of life for plants and animals. In each cell, all of the particular characteristics of life are represented.”
Jens Henricson describes his commission for the Police Education Building at Umeå University with formal precision. Measurement of Time is an intervention on the glazed façade at the entrance. The glass is 17 metres high and 8 metres wide. The original is an almost unimaginably small pine twig. On the glass it has been enlarged 6,000 times. The shift in scale transforms the reproduction of the tiny elements of nature into cosmic fiction. Viewers can choose to view the image as a description of nature’s structure or as an abstract subject. Art balances between fantasy and science.
A Part of the Campus and the Sciences
The architecture of Umeå University’s campus is characterised by yellow brick buildings surrounded by squares and park landscapes featuring many artistic interventions. The Police Education Building is a space for research, education and practical training for a professional career in the police force. The art had to take its starting point in the technical conditions of the building. In order to create a comfortable indoor environment the inlet of sunlight through the large glazed façade had to be reduced, which was done by the motif: a digital print with glass ceramic paint.
Conceptually, Measurement of Time is close to the multidisciplinary approach at the Police Education Building in Umeå, whose objective is to integrate several academic research areas into the police training course. Henricson is an artist who works in investigative projects for long periods of time, often in conjunction with medical research. His art has touched upon the body and life and in recent years he has focused more on gardens and broken garden architecture. Light, glass, permeability and transparency in combination with vegetation and the architectural garden spaces have constituted his artistic material. Measurement of Time is a compilation of interest in the structure of all things living and gardens.
Kristina Möster Nilsson