The sculptural work of Swedish artist Malou Palmqvist is defined by balance and form. Simultaneously geometric and organic, her works could almost be based upon the debris that washes up after a storm—she does, after all, live on an island.
With a background in fashion design, and a family working in the creative industries—her father is an artist and designer, and her mother is an author—Palmqvist’s movement into sculpture seems an evolution of her own artistic practice. Her works are cleverly balanced; she calls them, “three-dimensional collages” as opposed to sculptures. At her home in the Swedish archipelago, we spoke with her about the juxtaposition of formal elements in her work, and how the colors of the island—and the archipelago itself—direct the ebbs and flows of her practice.
What is your creative background, and how did you come to work as a sculptor?
To be able to see an object from all angles has always been interesting to me. To touch and feel and to walk around it, to get an idea of how a piece has been created is fantastic. Art, design and literature have always been very present in my life since childhood. My father is a fine artist and a graphic designer and my mother an author.
Where are you located, and how does this affect your work ?
I currently live on an island in the archipelago in Sweden. It is a car-free island so I drive a loading moped. Calmness and simplicity and the combination of clean, geometric with rough and organic shapes are things I take from here. I work a lot with natural pigments and dyes.
I am close to nature on the island and I use mainly natural organic materials and old craft techniques, like going back to our roots.
A lot of your work seems to concentrate on balance: not only literally in their construction, but also in the juxtaposition of their formal elements, is there a reason behind this?
My creations focus heavily on texture and form. I like to keep the shapes simple, geometric and I work with them as components, trying out various arrangements until I find the perfect combination. The sculptures are almost like three-dimensional collages, I am always on the lookout for the odd and the ugly, it can’t be too perfect. Something needs to differ and be slightly off. It mightbe a color combination, or clashing surfaces and textures.
My preferred material is stoneware and wood carving as well as creating new agitates combining stone with plaster mixed with pigments to create one of a kind marble effects.
I like the idea of playing with the notion of gravity, offset and collapsed. When the hard, rigid materials appear weightless, almost as if they are hovering in space. Not knowing what is about to happen, like catching a movement. The way they are put together, a bit offset creates an imbalanced balance. I want to create the feeling as if the boundaries of gravity has been pushed.
All images © Katarina Di Leva