Agneta Gynning

How did you become an artist, and did you know early on that you would be working in arts, or did you begin with something else? Were there other artists in your family?

Agneta Gynning:
Lars Gynning, my uncle, was a well-known artist. He lived in Paris from the 1930’s and many years on and studied for famous artists such as Otte Sköld, Isaac Grünewald and André Lhote. Lars Gynning painted and made tapestry with Pinton Frères in Aubusson, France. I loved my uncle and he always encouraged me to paint. When I finished school I wanted to study art, but my parents thought it would be too difficult for a woman to be a painter in life – so I obeyed them. Instead, I became a teacher and later on I started working in publishing.

My mother was born in 1911, she was a great art lover and took me to museums and art galleries ever since I was a kid. She also brought me to Paris, where she lived a few years when she was young. I was eleven years old when she introduced me the Louvre and other museums in Paris. So I guess my passion for art also comes from her, even if she didn’t want me to become an artist.

However, I have always been painting and selling my pictures to friends. When I joined an evening class in sculpting in 1990 I knew that I had found a way to express myself – in art. After some time I got in contact with a sculptor who later became my teacher, Viktor Praznik. He helped me to cast my first bronze figures and I started to take lessons from him during two years. He also introduced me to working with stone. For many years now I have been working periodically in a studio in Pietrsanta, Italy. Not long after I started creating sculptures I also had my very first show at a gallery – it opened up to many more exhibitions.

Can you describe your working process? Each artist is so different when it comes to approaching their work. How do you approach your creation?
I often think of a theme or a feeling that I want to express and then I get a picture in my head that I start working from. Or I just take a walk by the sea and suddenly I have a picture in my head that I want to create. Sometimes I make a sketch to be able to remember, but most often I just work from the idea that I see in front of me. Lines and movements are very important to me.

What are the primary themes of your work?
Feelings and relationships.

Who are your favorite artists and why?
Rodin and Maillol are some of my favorite artists. I love the classical sculptures they made. The precise anatomy that you can see in their figures is so fantastic. Henry Moore’s sculptures are also a great inspiration because I can relate to his work.

Why do you think art is important for the world, and why is it important for you as an individual artist?
I think art is important in many different ways. Both as an experience of beauty that evokes nice feelings, but also a way to show the darker side of life and the unconscious.

Art can be so many things and of course also provocative. Art is important because it is something we can share all over the world that can give light to what happens and build bridges without words.

For me it is important because it is what I love to do. When I create my sculptures I am in a different dimension. It is a place of meditation and sometimes when I work in the studio time cease to exist. When I stop working, it is as if I woke up after a good night sleep.

Although, as much as I love working with my sculptures, it is often hard to take the steps into the studio when I am starting on a new project. I guess it is because it feels like I give a piece of myself.

I want to express love and make people connect to the feeling I put into my work – feelings that we share all over the world.

For me, it is also important to find new material to work with. It can give a new dimension to the same expression. I love bronze because it is a beautiful and classic material. I also love stone because it is a challenge for me to be as patient as you need to in order to be able to create something from it. It is also very interesting to look at what needs to be taken away instead of built on. It gives a different perspective. With rubber I added color to my work. This is a great experience for me. It is also a material that you can play with and form in a very fascinating way, and I feel that there is so much more to explore.

If I make the same sculpture in these three different materials, it would come out very differently and people’s reaction are therefore interesting to watch. Also, there is a tradition in working with bronze and stone; but rubber is new to most of the public in art and many people are now curious about it.