Q&A with Sofia Hultén

Berlin-based artist Sofia Hultén grew up in Birmingham during a time of major industrial decline. This contextualises her choice of subject matter and materials, using found mass-produced objects and industrial waste as the basis for her philosophical, humourous curiosities. Having trained as a sculptor at Sheffield Hallam University, she now redefines our pre-existing idea of ‘sculpture’, instead as an expandable media with a performative potential.

In our Q&A, Hultén talks about her background and how it has shaped her work.

Sofia Hultén, Ikon Gallery, 2017. Photo: Stuart Whipps

How big a part does comedy play in your work?

Sitcoms were important for me when I moved from Sweden to Birmingham as a child in the 70s, they were a way in, some common ground. Something from the timing and set-ups of sitcoms has stayed in the way I make work, so most pieces start with an idea because I think it’s funny.

When installing an exhibition how do you go about deciding what work goes where?

Rhythmically, like a choreography. If the install time allows, I like to spend some time walking through the pieces, seeing how they bounce off each other.

Sofia Hultén, Ikon Gallery, 2017.        Photo: Stuart Whipps

In what ways did the time you spent in Birmingham influence your art?

I think it had a lot of influence on the materials I work with. The library of stuff I carry around in my head is largely based on what was around me growing up, so that clashes with the reality of now living elsewhere, and the things I am thinking of being difficult to find.

Are you forever re-ordering processes in your mind?

Yeah it’s like a gigantic evil riddle most of the time..

In your work you often use objects found on the streets. What makes a good object for an art work?

It has to sit in the sweet spot between being something and nothing, interesting enough to want to work with, disgusting enough to not really want to pick it up, something you have to get over yourself to say ‘yes I chose to work with this’.

Sofia Hultén, Ikon Gallery, 2017. Photo: Stuart Whipps


Hear more from the artist herself at our event Sofia Hultén in Conversation, taking place on 15 November, 6-7pm.

Hultén’s current exhibition Here’s the Answer, What’s the Question? continues until 26 November 2017.

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