Heather Jones: When we last spoke, we discussed your working process leading up to your (at the time) forthcoming exhibition at Galleri Opdahl. I would like to start from that moment if it’s ok with you. Can you describe for us the opening of your solo exhibition at Galleri Opdahl in 2014?
Elin Melberg: The opening at Galleri Opdahl was different compared to my other ones in many ways really. Many of my close friends and family were there, seeing the works for the first time, and as the hanging was very minimalistic, each piece was very direct and vulnerable and filled with the underlying content; me dealing with the recent loss of my father. I had to work with myself big time before the preview, and almost wanted to pull out. It was very challenging to talk with the press about it, as it was so personal and fragile to me, and there were a lot of topics I wanted to avoid. I managed to pull me out of my incredible nerves, but because it was so personal, it was the first time I properly questioned if what I was doing was right. Was it fair towards my mother and sister, my dad’s close friends and relatives? Did I share too much? After debating these questions, I decided it was the right thing to do. This is what I do. It would be wrong not to do it, even though I felt like I lost control of something personal and fragile for a while.
On the opening day, I had gone through all my concerns quite a few times, and I was as ready as could be. I did not want the exhibition to be like a second funeral, but I wanted to express something vulnerable, sad and fragile in a worthy way. The whole theme of the exhibition, although personal, did document a universal topic: the fragility of life and how easily a person can go from having control to losing control.
The opening was like a two hour-long performance; I had to float. With the preview being just after the removal of the Barbara Hepworth-sculpture, there was also a tense feeling in the gallery and between the different groups that visited. In other words, the space was packed with a lot of people filled with strong feelings, and the oily smell from my piece Float/Black fluid made the tension complete.
Overall, I was very happy with the exhibition and how it was received, both from my family and friends, general audience and the reviews. I am glad I went through with it. It taught me a lot, even though it was a very hard thing to do at the time.