Photo: Romy Finke, Van Eyck.
Pine, urethan, bite guard in glass with mouth water, angle grinder, journal, carpet tiles
Sculpture in four parts
Text by Lex teer Braak for Open Studios, Van Eyck:
In 2015, Anna Ihle decided to model her lifestyle as an artist on the standard Norwegian working week of 37.5 hours. This is a radical departure from the inherent desire (or compulsion) that artists conventionally experience to be continually at work, and to regard this as their wellspring of happiness regardless of income or social status.
Anna Ihle wanted to avoid being a subject of research by management experts and sociologists into the artist’s inherent drive and the pleasure to be obtained from it, or into how this knowledge could be turned to the advantage of industrial employers so that the wage slaves will happily return each day to resume their labours. By proclaiming her working week regimen, Anna Ihle issues a critical and ironic commentary on the socially undervalued status of the artist.
For her work Grinding, Ihle sculpted with an angle grinder a version of her bite guard, required to prevent damage to her teeth by involuntary tooth-grinding during sleep. This affliction is often triggered by factors like stress due to social situations, depression and neurosis.
The dimensions of the sculptured bite guard are such that she can lie down inside it, as a form of protection against the distress of nocturnal bruxism. But it can also serve as a memorial for all those who suffer from being ground down by the system, because they are unwilling or unable to conform to it.