Cecilie Nørgaard

Working Title

The pattern in Untitled (JOB) is copied from a tablecloth I bought because I loved its pattern.
I wanted to get deep into it, to understand its dynamics and rhythm, so I sketched it out in a
painting. Reproducing a pattern feels like an organizational task, about detecting repetition,
similarity, and deviances. And, perhaps, ways of fitting things together. Somewhere inside of
the work, a possibility of expanding the pattern in an alphabetical direction dawned on me.
The pattern and the letters operate on two different cognitive levels that eventually combine
inside of the same structure. Untitled (JOB) had to stand open for several months before I
could finish it, a process through which connections between ornamental and behavioral
patterns as seen through a prism of labor developed. These ideas carried through the rest of
the works.

Several months later, I found A Handbook of Ornament, an instructive book on making ornamental
patterns from 1898, intended for scholars of applied arts. The patterns in the book are
compiled on the basis of the character of the pattern, rather than national or practical contexts.
For example, the book refers to grid-structured patterns as based on “networks”. That
caught my interest because of the social connotation and how the mega-modernist symbol of
the grid is presented as an instructional form to reproduce another’s work. The pattern in the
painting is copied from the book and set as surrounding or margin for a depiction of a copying
machine, the kind found largely in institutional spaces like schools and offices. In Copy Job I
wanted to have the grid map the surface of the canvas as an institutionally framed discipline
of repetition and reference (network) rather than originality.

Square Workspace is a grid becoming figurative—a section of cubicles. I assume relationship
between a modernist notion of the grid and a capitalist way of organizing workers in office—
and their idealizations of regularity, similarity, repetition, materialism, and other such categories.
Because these categories are also traits shared by the practice of ornamental patternmaking,
and because I still wanted to look more at the ornamental in the context of performed
labor, I turned generic workers into daisies. To contrast before-mentioned idealizations, the
scene is framed by a muddy, organic scenario of brown and yellow.

These are examples of the thinking and symbolic play that continues to excite me and that I
exercise in the paintings to make them reflect on themselves. Panel Discussion sets out to do
so by way of several of the dichotomies I find inherent to painting as a medium. Here the grid
speaks of basic width and height, front and back. The picture is divided in central and marginal
space, inside and outside, that is furthermore divided in flatness and perspective, figuration
and abstraction. What the painting depicts in its figurative realm is an empty conference room,
potentially waiting to be filled by debaters.