Nina Saunders: Sculptural Works
Born in 1958 in Odense, Denmark, Nina Saunders studied Fine Art and Critical Studies at Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Working across a wide range of materials, her artwork and installations play with the functions of objects, which appear familiar but question our preconceptions.
Saunders strips domestic objects of their comfort and use, turning them into odd, subversive works of art which project a disturbing sense of humor. Reclaimed sofas and chairs with floral patterned upholstery seem to melt into amoebic forms flowing across rooms, or take the form of bizarre creatures with swelling cushions and awkward angled legs.
Saunders’s work range from small objects such as upholstered hairbrushes and oddly-shaped, vinyl-wrapped dust pans with zippers to larger works, such as the 2017 “She May Not Be Your Friend But She is Your Hairdresser”, a sculptural work fashioned from a 1950s hairdressing chair, a deer head, plywood, foam, and deerskin.
Even when a Saunders installation scene seems normal, the effect can be mildly disturbing. In Saunders’s 2002 installation “Forever”, the scene is an ordinary middle-class room with limited-budget furniture, containing a potted plant, a gash in the wall, and a rocking swing suspended from the ceiling. Playing in the background is a loop of singer Engelbert Humperdinck singing the Demis Roussos song “Forever and Ever”. Although containing normal, recognizable objects, the scene is strikingly reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode.
Nina Saunders has exhibited her works at many international locations including the Pallant House in London,;Note Art Contemporanea in Arezzo, Italy; and The British Council in Brussels. Her work was in the group show “Hidden Histories, Untold Stories” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Nordic and Danish Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale; and the Museum of Modern Art in Vaasa, Finland.