I work with several medias and expressions, with different concepts of light, presence and absence, including photography, installations, sculptures, video and sound works.
My works are often site specific. In front of every project I analyze the site; its history, its basic concept, the architectural layout and dimensions, as a base for the story, the “art grip”, – the passing fairy tales.
My themes often concern about the concept of movements and pulse, shifting presence, meeting points and haphazard moments.
– some important notes
• 1991-1995, Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo
• 1989-1990, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris
• 1984-1989, Statens Håndtverk og Kunstindustriskole, Oslo
Solo Shows – the last 5 years:
• 2011/12, Skarnsundet bridge, Inderøy. Programmed light dance.
• 2010, Konsthallen, Kulturens Hus, Luleå, Sweden.
Group Shows – the last 5 years:
• 2017, Personal Structures, 57 Biennale di Venezia, Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy.
• 2016, 10th Arte Laguna Art Prize 2016, Venezia, Italia. the finalists exhibition LandArt section
• 2015, Light Festival Staro Riga 2015, Latvia. International Year of Light
• 2015, International Light Installation Festival Beepositive, Vilnius, Lithuania. Light installations, LEC- wire
• 2015, Land-Shape, Land Art festival, Jutland, Denmark.
• 2014, Solund Light Art Festival, Solund municipality, Norway.
• 2014, Land Art Rebild, Rebild municipality, Denmark.
• 2013, The Art of Not Making, Hå gamle prestegard, Norway.
Public Art – the last 5 years:
• 2017, An Instant of Standstill, hovering sculpture in transparent neon cast acrylic. Setermoen Military Camp/KORO, Bardu, Norway.
• 2017, House Mouse and The Ant, translucent photos on glass. Mysen Public Dental Clinic, Norway.
• 2016, Interference, Mirage and Waiting Pictures, sculpted facade, altar wall piece, video projections. Smia Culture house and Chapel, Drøbak, Norway.
• 2014, …the Sylphide comes from the East, Drawings, Tu primary school, Klepp, Norway.
• 2012, Splæsj!, installation. Lunde primary school, Skien.
• 2012, <i>Equilibrium, hovering sculpture. NAV, Kristiansand.
• 2012, Blopp, wall drawings. Teie primary school, Nøtterø.
• 2012, Trude, sculpture. Leistad nursery school, Trondheim.
Scolarships – the last 5 years:
• 2016, Project support Vederlagsfondet, project Opus Groma
• 2016, National Scolarship
• 2015, Nordic Culture Point, Mobility Funding
• 2012, I. Lindbäck Langaards foundation.
• 2016, Imago Mundi Global Art Collection Norway, Luciano Benetton Collection, Italy.
• 2004, 2001, Arts Council Norway
THE TRANSPARENCY OF TIME
By Trond Borgen
The moment, as the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard points out, is ambigious – for it is here that time and eternity touch, ”where time always intercepts eternity and eternity always permeats time. Only now does this division make sense: the present, the past, and the future.” This is a concept of time that contains an abstract classification of its passing. There is no better art form or medium than photography to make this abstraction concrete: the photograph, as frozen time, is the moment preserved and given to the viewer, in the absence of that very moment.
It is this that Roland Barthes, in his essay ”The Rhetoric of the Image,” calls the melancholy of photography: the photograph, as a developed image from the past, is itself the agent of developing: and what it develops is melancholy, because the depicted is already history. Thus it creates a painful awarness of both closeness and distance, and in a definitive way it keeps us away from what it brings close.
Viel Bjerkeset Andersen work with time as a dimension in her photographs. Never interested in the photograph per se, she uses it to define her relationship to time and space, creating site-spesific installations. In her multi-exposed pictures she captures time in a different way than ordinary photographs do: not only does she intercept eternity, not only do her images give us the moment in the absence of that very moment – Bjerkeset Andersen also catches the passing of time, in the gaps between her multiple exposures and between the postures of the bodies depicted in them.
This is a way to make time transparent. Her images see through the passing of time and make the room they exist in a space of transience: It is as though we see glimpses of people who ones lived, who onse were in this room. They stand fourth from the walls, go into the room, and then withdraw. As were they the shadows of the past, materialising, but yet waning in the present, in a combination of conceptual art and physical, tangible art that makes time transparent. In a sense the people in her images are melancholy witnesses of life that ones was, of a presence that can now be grasped only as transient process; for they might soon recede into nothingness.
This is actually what happens, in a very literal way, with the three women depicted in Layers: they appear in a grid that comments on the geometry and the grid structure in the room where they are shown; but, because of the fact that they have been so delicately copied that they are susceptible to daylight – they cannot resist ultraviolet light – they will gradually recede and disappear during the exhibition.
Here time becomes twice transparent – first through the multiple exposure of the images, second through the fading process that will finally extinguish the shadows from the past, in the future. This melancholy transience creates a mood in the exhibition that is similar to the atmosphere one finds in a Tarkovsky film. Profound and moving, always with a sensation of loss at its core.
The series Layers is, in a way, a modern version of the old story of Eurydice, not meant for Orpheus’ eyes as long as they were in Hades. When he still looked back to see her beauty, she faded and was lost forever.
So when Viel Bjerkeset Andersen deals with identity, she is not interested in the individual. She actually disguises the individual human being in her exposures and reworkings of the same image – breaks it down, so to speak, so that it is Man, in generic sence, that is left. The concept of identity it thus tied to man as an existential being, a product of passing of time. Left in her space is the human archetype, the core of human existence. In his Tavistock lectures C. G. Jung pointed to the collective unconscious as a carrier of primordial images – mythological basic structure which shape archetypes: ”The deepest we can reach in our exploration of the unconscios mind is the layer where man is no longer a distinct individual, but where his mind widens out and merges into the mind of mankind – not the conscious mind, but the unconscious mind of mankind, where we are all the same.”
It is this layer that Viel Bjerkeset Andersen approaches in her art. Identity, then, is for her tied to life as process, where the passing of time is essential to our experience of our existence. When she turns away from ordinary photo paper and instead transfers her images to other materials, not intended for photographs, details are blurred and the pictures turn softer and more tactile. She likens this to shrouds where the dead have left an imprint – the faint shadow of the past still with us in the present. It is as if she has caught the invisible, the almost etherical presence in the room.
Text from the catalogue published in connection with the solo exhibition in Lokaal 01, part of the 7e Zomer van de Fotografie in Antwerpen, Belgium. 1998.
Other bibliography: Tankens form, kunstkritikk av Trond Borgen. s 147, 150. (ISBN 978-82-8140-020-7)
Outdoor art project at Medborgarhuset, Säffle city, Sweden. 2011
“Viel Bjerkeset Andersen’s sculpture stands outside Säffle’s Civic Centre like a strange, shining vehicle; – a stranded hovercraft of steel that entices children to crawl into its hollow centre; a winking eye that mirrors the sky, over the town, with its parabola shaped iris; and by night, it emits a weak, persistent glow as if something within, the energy it has managed to collect during the day, starts to seep out.
“Counter Point” as the piece is called, is rich in associations. In line with it’s location at the functionalistic Civic Centre, one’s thoughts are drawn to the abstract modernists form play as well as the myths and fantasies of popular culture.
With its simple, reduced profile it connects to a tradition of public art that it is part of, but also stands apart from; it fits in but then again it doesn’t, it is on the one hand vaguely familiar and on the other enigmatically different.
In this way it expresses the uncertainty and duality that, in these times, affects life in a place like Säffle, a minor city in western Sweden that, feeling the pressure of unemployment and negative migration in the wake of globalisation, is groping for a tangible identity; – but also believing that it has traditions that it must manage. “Counter Point” anchors this ambivalence to the spot. The ambivalence is not to be seen as a negative, but as a possibility, a source of energy. Even a city needs to gather energy, every so often.
Viel Bjerkeset Andersen has, in earlier works, used light to illustrate the intangible stream of energy that flows through public space, those spaces and corridors that give a city or a society its character. In her light sculptures she translates these streams into a visual form that makes them appear particularly concentrated at precisely these places. In Säffle, with its unusual shining sculpture and the soft lawned amphitheatre that surrounds it, “Counter Point” becomes such a place; – a place where, in other words, the city’s pulse becomes visible; – like a parabola towards space and a gentle internal light.”
Text by Dan Jönsson
Art critic in Dagens Nyheter, the Stockholm based newspaper.