Artist Interview: Tove Storch

Tove Storch | Interview (Draft)

Tove Storch is one of six artists currently displayed in UMOCA’s exhibit, Object[ed]: Shaping Sculpture in Contemporary Art, which explores how visual artists use three-dimensionality as a language to reframe and expand notions of objecthood. Storch, who lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark, creates conceptually-based sculptural works that often involve visual conundrums. She transforms two-dimensional ideas into three-dimensional sculptures. Her Object[ed] sculpture, Untitled, is a layering of thin steel rails and sheets of paper, which are covered in two-dimensional drawings. Storch conflates the lines on the paper with rigid metal rods, suggesting a curious process of “thinking in images.”

Storch has been working with sculptures for over 10 years, starting with painting in art school. “I was quite interested in the physical aspects of the paintings: glossy, mat, things glued onto the surface, the painting lying on the floor,” she says. “That slowly developed into a sculptural practice. What inspires me, now, is gravity, mistakes, feelings, and attempts.” Through processes of trial and error—and believing it is possible to navigate through any subject matter with art—Storch explores possibilities in materials while creating her artwork. “I’m interested in how working with materials and physical conditions take these explorations to strange places,” she says.

One of Storch’s goals in her pieces is to convey her ideas in a specific and precise ways, thinking on this even at the start of her projects. “I pace around, trying to focus and forget at the same time,” she says. “Then, I suddenly know the direction things have to take. The rest is trying to figure out how it’s practically possible.” This preciseness has led Untitled to being one of the most curious pieces in UMOCA’s Object[ed] exhibit, leading museum-goers to desire to probe between the railings to gaze at the two-dimensional drawings on each page. “[Untitled] allowed me to make beautiful, intense, random, and spontaneous marks on paper as part of my practice and as a way to exercise my brain,” says Storch. “Going through this process of figuring stuff out made me very aware of shyness and privacy. I thought this was an interesting subject, and the drawings I was making found a purpose as building material for this introverted work.”

Storch anticipated the curiosity of her viewers and combatted the power of their gaze by decidedly placing steel-railings above and below each drawing. “The surfaces become worlds with space and volume in them,” she says. “It is as if imagination is being squashed by heavy steel when they are stacked like this. I really like emphasizing this by looking at the papers as they divide the sculpture, just enough to make the metal not touch itself—a barely voluminous piece of material.” Her sculpture lends just enough information to capture museum-goers’ attention, but ultimately it is their imagination that is needed to complete the work. Cleverly, Storch molds her viewers into a part of the artwork—three-dimensional figures surrounded by and filled with space. “You have to finish the work using your own imagination,” she says. “You make space in your head.”

Each of Untitled’s drawings are not necessarily connected or understandable; instead, the drawings are sporadic, a culmination of Storch’s thoughts turned 3D. “I ended up making peace with having shifting opinions and stored the pile of drawings like a boiling pot of unresolved matter,” she says. Ultimately, storing these visual thoughts has paid off. Her sculpture now sits in the middle of UMOCA’s Main Gallery, a part of the Object[ed] exhibit which explores how visual artists use three-dimensionality as a language to reframe and expand notions of objecthood. Storch mentions that her time at UMOCA has been a positive one. “The team at UMOCA has been extremely helpful,” she says. “It was a really great experience to work with them all the way through the process.”

Storch also has some great advice for future artists: “It is an important thing to trust oneself, to trust what you are interested in, and your feelings about things,” she says.  After all, it was trust in oneself that led Storch to creating Untitled, a vulnerable yet bold and captivating sculpture. In the future, Storch hopes to gain access to a workshop where she can weld metal and have access to materials in order to create spontaneous experiments and future gallery projects.

You can view Tove Storch’s work in UMOCA’s Main Gallery until December 17th. For more information, visit http://www.utahmoca.org/portfolio/objected/.