Karl-Christian Geleff

2015 — Ongoing

Duet Knit
Sculpture by the Sea

Aarhus, Denmark

Anne Dalum & Ane Drewsen on Karl Christian Geleff’s Duet Knit

Knitting performance is created with the help of members of the audience who sit and knit in pairs around the trees on circular needles.

We walk through the forest.  The first thing we notice is a big red knitted tube hanging around a tree.  Another two trees are being worked on with knitting;  one lilac and the other dark blue.

The material looks like a wide elasticated nylon ribbon, the knitting needles look very big and difficult to use.  The mood is very relaxed and cozy.

Karl Christian’s main focus is to talk with all the new people involved with the knitting.  He explains that by working in this way with people, the participants engage with him and each other.  This connection provides an opportunity for people to get an insight into each others’ lives as they work together in pairs on the knitting.  Karl Christian points out that the focus of Duet Knit is on two people, possibly strangers, working together to create the work.

Some people have suggested that the work could be undertaken by the artist alone but Karl Christian points out that the process and interaction of two people is what Duet Knit is all about so the fact that members of the public take part is critical.

Karl Christian gives every participant a knitting certificate in the form of a special wristband;  in doing so he cements the ownership of the work with each of them and demonstrates his appreciation of their contribution to his piece.

Karl Christian is also conscious that “the materials have their own language” and he has specifically chosen soft nylon tape which is nice to touch.  This is important to him as he believes that, in general, sculptures should be touched.  A different aspect to this which is important to him is the ability of materials to surprise.  This is particularly clear in some of his earlier work in which he knits with steel wool.  In Duet Knit, the element of surprise comes from the use of bright colours which do not blend in with the natural surroundings; thus making the knitting stand out.  He is conscious of the aesthetics of the work, choosing the colours carefully and not permitting random changes of colour in the knitting.

Karl Christian says “Many visitors think that Duet Knit is a fun idea, appreciating the fact that they can take part and be involved in creating the work.  Nearly all visitors who approach the art installation first notice the strong red colour.  When they get closer to the work, they often say that the work gives the impression of dresses on the trees.”

Karl Christian has succeeded in creating a surprise with colour and material.  In doing so, he presents an open and easily accessible piece of work which people seem to understand and relate to.