Toolbox: Anja Carr’s Sewing Machine

In our new feature, we ask artists to describe the one item that they couldn’t do without. This week, Oslo-based artist Anja Carr talks about the sewing machine she used to make furry t-shirts for her latest exhibition.

I spent the summer indoors in my studio in Oslo, cutting animal silhouettes out from fake fur—the long-haired type—in different colours and shapes, and sewing them onto t-shirts. I’ve destroyed a couple of sewing machines over the past ten years when working with fake leather and thick, fake fur to create anthropomorphic animal costumes for my performances. It happened again this summer, just when I realized I had to make at least four fur t-shirts a day to reach my goal of ninety-six, in addition to photographs, an installation and twelve plastic wall-works, before my exhibition opened in September. Luckily I found a very cheap second-hand sewing machine from the 70s the same day, white and orange. To me, these old, heavy types are less easy to destroy. Finally, all ninety-six t-shirts became part of an interactive installation at my solo show FOIL, with forest-green walls and the floor covered in survival foil, matching the silver cloth racks. In hunting, foil means “the track or scent of a hunted animal”. I like the idea of shopping as another form of hunting and how the exhibition expands when people buy t-shirts, take them home and post pictures of themselves online.

Above: Anja Carr
Top: Anja Carr’s sewing machine in front of her latest costume, used in a performance at Fotogalleriet, Oslo


Anja Carr is showing at The Oslo Museum of Contemporary Art

Kunsthall Oslo, Until January 21