Occupational Knots
Take a piece of string. Tie a knot in it. Now glue the two ends of the string together to form a knotted loop. The result is a string that has no loose ends and that is truly knotted. Unless we use scissors, there is no way that we can untangle this string. 
– Colin C. Adams, The Knot Book: An Elementary Introduction to the Mathematical Theory of Knots

Magnhild Øen Nordahl’s new group of works is titled “Occupational Knots” after a chapter in Clifford W. Ashley’s “The Ashley Book of Knots” (1944). The book contains nearly 4.000 practical knots, and the chapter Øen Nordahl refers to lists a variety of occupations from the archer to the yachtsman alongside recommendations on which nodes are most useful for whom. The sculptures are accompanied by a fanzine ascribing them to selected occupations, and further to Mathematical Knot Theory, a topological hypothesis intending to classify all substances in a comprehensive tabulation system. Øen Nordahl is interested in the epistemological question of how knowledge is created, systematized and finally embodied. With the new group of sculptures, she applies knots according to their suggested usage and investigates the potential of Mathematical Knot Theory, which had been discredited but recently came into use again in certain fields of biology and chemistry.

Stefanie Hessler

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Foto: Jean-Baptiste Béranger