Print this page

Sieglinda Karl-Spence: Spirit of the Land series

The Artist

Sieglinde Karl-Spence was born in 1943in Germany before emigrating to Australia in 1953. After extensive periods living in England and Germany, she works in Launceston, Tasmania. Sieglinde graduated as a jeweller from Middlesex Polytechnic London in 1978 and her practice has focused on installation and performance, involving works of a site specific  and transitory nature. Sieglinde prefers to work with natural fibres and materials having felt unhappy working with metals.

Her work is in several major collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Queen Victory Museum and Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.

Spirit of the Land III by Sieglinde Karl-Spence

Spirit of the Land Lichens by Sieglinde Karl-Spence

The works of Art

The series of necklaces  called 'Spirit of the Land', are stunningly beautiful works and show at an intimate level the wonders in our environment.  One outcome of of working with natural fibres is that these are very fragile. Much of Karl-Spence's art practice is in temporary installations and site specific works that are not intended to retain a permanent home. The works  share with much of Karl-Spence's output this delicate fragility, it is the sense that they may soon fade break, fall apart that gives them an added level of intricacy.

The works are encased in display boxes within a display cabinet and accompanied by digital photographs  which reproduce their appearance. This manner of display transfigures the works from art to artefact, from jewellery which may be worn into specimen that cannot be touched. These works are about texture, surface and material, yet their encasement renders them untouchable. Karl-Spence's works are comments upon the natural world, in the past she has also used her art to commemorate and comment upon indigenous culture. The title of these works, Spirit of the Land evokes once more the natural and the spiritural. Here the spirit has been encased in glass and taken far from home, arrested in a moment of delicate, pristine, beauty and yet poignantly removed from its place of origin.


Artist biographical notes, University of Canberra Art Collection file