Red sculpture is located in the waiting area outside the orthodontic clinic in Tannbygget ("The teeth building") on UiT’s campus. In the two waiting areas directly beneath the sculpture there are two similar sculptures (also made by Gjedrem) in blue and green. Since these waiting areas have glass railings, the three works function as a unit, but also separately as individual expressions. According to the artist, the waiting areas appears to be floating in the air, and he has tried to capture this impression in his sculptures. Red Sculpture is a red artifact in the round. Its color makes it stand out from the surrounding green sofas.
Gjedrem is fascination by the sea; this is obvious in Red sculpture, particularly in its wave-like lumps, that make the sculpture look like liquid in a formative process. The artist himself, labels the sculpture as abstract, but its resemblance to liquid and its placement complicates this label. Most people expect sculptures to be relevant to their context. In the case of this particular sculpture, the context of the Tannhuset, where dentists are educated, makes the observer aware of the resemblance of the sculpture to a gigantic bacterium – the organism, in a smaller scale, that dentists have waged war on. Even if this resemblance, as the one to liquid, is not complete, it still challenges the abstract label of the sculpture.
Eirik Gjedrem is an award-winning ceramist with an eye for the abstract. Throughout his career he has won, to name a few, the Norwegian award: “Kunsthåndverkprisen” in 1997, and a merit award in the prestigious “The Fletcher Challenge Ceramic Awards”. Gjedrem is one of few Norwegian artists to practice the press mould technique.
Benjamin Nicolai Berglund, Bachelor student in art history, UiT The arctic university of Norway
Are you on your way up the stairs from the first to the second floor of the Culture and Social Sciences library, you will see the sculpture Delicacy dog from 1978 by Øyvind Åstein sitting close to a column beside the stairs. The dog looks a bit sad. Perhaps he is waiting in vain for his owner, or perhaps he is just relieving himself.
The piece of art, which is made of polyester, has received much attention from visitors of the library. Especially, it is caressed by children, but it also gets much attention from students, sitting as it does on its own. Åstein is known for his use of humor and irony in his art. So, what is there to say about making a luxury dog like this and calling it a Delicacy dog.
Marit Bull Enger, art historian, advisor, Culture and Social Sciences library
Narratives around identity often involve dualistic tension between different cultures. In a series titled Modern Nomads (2001–03) artist Marja Helander uses photography to explore her dual background, urban life in Helsinki in sharp contrast to Sámi roots in Utsjok, Finland. Helander experiments with her identity by placing herself in various landscapes in the North often in humorous settings. Helander draws inspiration from the Arctic landscape. In the landscapes we find historical references such as ancient monuments.
In Mount Annivaara modern man-made elements, like power lines, contrast with the desolate pristine landscape. Her art presents a subtle, partly humorous reflection around serious issues of modernity and the consequences of human impact on northern landscapes. Helander appears small beneath the massive power mast and appears lost in her traditional Sámi environment. She walks in the landscape, following in the footsteps of her ancestors, but the frame of reference is different.
Helander (b. 1965; Helsinki, Finland) studied painting at The Lahti Institute of Fine Arts, Finland (1988– 92) but chose to focus on photography for her master’s degree at The University of Art and Design in Helsinki, graduating in 1999. Today she also works in moving image in her art. Her work is part of the collections of RiddoDuottarMuseat, The Photographic Museum of Finland, University of Lapland, UiT The Arctic University of Norway/Public Art Norway (KORO) and SpareBank 1 Nord-Norges Art Foundation.
A colour photography displays several buildings by the seashore in Kåfjord, Northern Norway, where the artist lived as a child and adolescent. On the beach there are two boathouses. Further back is a barn, a farmhouse, a caravan and some high-tension wires. The barn and the farmhouse are well kept, but the boathouses display different degrees of decay. A meadow in the background is interrupted by a steep mountainside.
Geir Tore Holm, who has a coastal Sámi background, is interested in tensions between Sámi and Northern Norwegian identities, as well as between nature and culture. The coastal farm at the photo is not displaying any stereotypical Sámi signs, such as the reindeer, the Sámi in his national costume, or the Sámi tent. Yet the farm by the shore of the fjord is a genuine Sámi settlement. Sámi have lived permanently at such sites for centuries. The photo demonstrates conflicts between culture and nature. Buildings, high-tension wires and the meadow are incorporated into the scenery. In the foreground nature is about to take back the landscape, it's only a matter of time before the boathouses are gone. The photo demonstrates the passage of time as effectively as a 16th century still life painting.
Holm has been working with video art, sculpture, photography, performance and installations. He has written as well as lectured about Sámi contemporary art since he completed his education at the Art Academy of Trondeim in 1993. It is relevant to his art that he also is educated as a landscape gardener, and that he is a farmer. He was the project manager responsible for establishing the Art academy of Tromsø. He has received several scholarships and awards, such as the Savio award and the the Norwegian government's guaranteed income for artists.
Rognald Heiseldal Bergesen (Ph.D.), lector in art history, UiT The arctic university of Norway
A blue-grey bust made of painted concrete is placed on a wooden stand. It is located on the floor of the indigenous room/ Áloálbmotčoakkáldat at the third floor of the Culture and Social Sciences library. The head of a longhaired person is resting in two hands, symmetrically touching the chin with their palms like a collar. The eyes are closed and the facial traits are crudely shaped. The block shaped character of the stone is apparent. The stand consists of a wooden log carried by four bones, lifting the log above the floor. Each of the bones are joined by cones to the log. The log is moderately decorated, among others by a vertical split, in which a tile is positioned in the upper part. Along the bottom edge of the log and on each side of the vertical split, a field, slightly deeper than the rest of the logs surface is carved. The bones of the stand is made of four reused beams. Their surface, grey of age, is interrupted by lighter wood in the kerfs.
The materials of Gaup’s sculptures are often concrete, wood and aluminum. The surfaces are normally simplified. Terms like abstract expressionism and geometric abstraction are used to describe his works. Gaup has been interested in Sámi mythology and epic poetry, which is apparent in his techniques, materials and iconography. Figurative elements like masks and animal symbols are often used. In “Without title” many of these characteristics are evident. The face of the bust is reminiscent of a mask, and the simplified surface of the concrete points at abstract expressionism. The systematic construction and use of materials of the stand display a sensitivity for Sámi traditional handicraft. The closed eyes and mask-like features of the face are leading our attention towards trancelike or dreamlike conditions and death masks.
Gaup (b. 1943) was educated at the art school of Trondheim. His teachers were Karl Johan Flaathe and Siri Aurdal 1973–1978. He was instruone of the founders of the Sámi artist group (The Masi Group) in 1978. He made scenography of the Sámi National Theatre (Beaivváš). His works are bought by among others The Sámi Cultural Council, The Norwegian Cultural Council, The Sami Collections and The Art Museum of Northern Norway.
Hansen, Hanna Horsberg, Fluktlinjer. Forståelser av samisk samtidskunst. Avhandling levert for graden Philosophia Doctor, August 2010
Rognald Heiseldal Bergesen (Ph.D.), lector in art history, UiT The arctic university of Norway
Arnold Jonhansen is one of the few artists who have kept to the medium of printing, despite its declining status in the contemporary art scene over the past thirty years. He has been faithful to this medium and also taken part developing it further. In recent years, he has experimented with photography and developed stencil printing and folding techniques.
Johansen’s pictures concern humans and the landscapes they inhabit, with motifs showing aspects of the coastal culture in Finnmark, his home region in the north. Everyday life and close relations are often points of departure in Johansen’s portraits. They tell stories about desperation and personal crises, but also about strong personalities and individuals who never give up. His portraits place us close to aging and weathered faces that are marked by history, experiences and different life situations. Johansen elevates the theme of portraiture to a universal level by highlighting some of the most fundamental and existential questions about our lives, questions about being human.
In The Man (Kåre Kivijärvi) we see the furrowed, aging face and strong personality of Kåre Kirijärvi (1938–1991). The first artist to exhibit photographs at the Høstutstillingen (autumn exhitition), in Oslo in 1971, Kirijärvi was also the first Norwegian photographer to attain broad recognition as a visual artist. Johansen’s The Man expresses more of Kivijärvi’s personality and temperament than his actual physical appearance. We take note of the figure’s charismatic charm, for example, which is highlighted by an “electric field” consisting of small sparks around his head. In addition, we detect hints of a smile that, together with the partly blurred, serious gaze noticeable behind his crooked glasses, add up to a dynamic expression. Kirjijärvi’s face is full of deep furrows and lines revealing traces of a lived life.
Arnold Johansen (b. 1953) was born in Nordreisa, and is currently living in Tromsø. In 1981 he gratudated from the National Academy of Art (Statens kunstakademi) in Oslo. Already as a student, he distinguished himselves by producing works that combined photography and graphics. Today his works are represented in collections at the National Museum (Nasjonalmuseet) and Northern Norway Art Museum (Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum) among others.
Lise Dahl: «Arnold Johansen», i SpareBank1 Nord-Norges kunststiftelse – Utvalgte verker fra samlingen, utstillingskatalog, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø 2011, s. 78 - 81.
Lise Dahl og Sandra Lorentzen: Inexhaustible Beauty – Uendelig skjønnhet, utstillingskatalog, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø 2014, s. 24 - 25.
Kristin Løvås, museumslektor, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum
An eight-meter-high panel of glass is joined by metal screws to the wall close to the stairs in the great hall of the administration building. The hall is covering more than three stories and is crowned by a glass ceiling. A membrane of water is falling from the top of the glass panel to a pool underneath the stairs. Originally the lower level of the hall was furnished as a market. The fountain made a larger unity together with green plants and a canteen. There are tiles of pink marble from Fauske in Nordland in Norway at the edges surrounding the pool as well as on the stairs and the floor of the great hall. The bottom of the pool and the wall behind the glass panel are painted green. The large windows open up to natural light that reflect on the glass panel at different ways as one is passing by.
The piece of art is made of several kinds of materials, glass, water, paint, concrete as well as marble, and is mobilizing several of our senses. It gives an opportunity for meditation and calm to those who make a small stop while passing by, and to those who previously relaxed in the canteen.
There is something limitless about the piece of art. Where does it start and where does it end? Does it end by the pool, or continue on the pink marble in the rest of the room? Is it a sculpture, a painting or part of the architecture? Is it culture or nature? The transparency of the glass panel and its wavy edges translates the natural fall of the water into a man-made language. The Fountain unites the three stories of the hall and relates the hall to the landscape and the sky outside the building.
Zdenka Rusova (b. 1939) moved to Norway from Czechoslovakia in 1970. Her works are mainly graphics and drawings. The figurative language is abstract, usually with references to body parts, horizons, landscapes and dream-like rooms. Often the pictures are poetic and melancholic or in search for some inner truth.
Rognald Heiseldal Bergesen (Ph.D.), lector in art history, UiT The arctic university of Norway
Ola Enstad, Stimen – på vei mot dypet (The shoal – heading into the depths), made of cast polyester and steel wire, can be found in the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education at the University of Tromsø.
The artwork consists of a shrine of 18 floating, yellowish and glass-like figures. They are mounted on steel wires which is further attached to the wall. Because of the tight steel threads, a diagonal line appears so that the figures together work in a targeted way. The figures have different colour-shades and positions that immediately create movement within the artwork. The artist show us that all the characters together constitute a whole, but that the figures also stands out from each other. The work is placed high on the wall and the figures swim slightly downwards as if they were swimming into the deep. Enstad has used the room in several ways to create depths and contrasts, which in turn can yield more interesting interpretations.
Marion Carstensen Olsen, Bachelorstudent in Art History, University of Tromsø
Jåks’ miniatyrskulptur Liten Háldi er fantasieggende. Det samiske ordet háldi viser til et åndelig vesen, kanskje en skytsånd. Háldi er fremstilt på reise i en båt. Samtidig er skulpturen sterkt abstrahert. Den forteller om et møte mellom to former, mellom en glatt og en ru overflate, mellom to materialer, to farger, to teksturer. Reisen går i konkret forstand over vann eller is – eller den henspiller metaforisk på alt levende. Den virkningsfulle speilingen tilfører andre dimensjoner i møtet mellom fysisk reelle og virtuelle rom. Det er en monumental komposisjon – de små dimensjonene uaktet – en hyllest til kunst, materie, sanselighet, ånd og liv.
Svein Aamold, Professor of Art History, University of Tromsø
Skulpturen God dag (“Moskus”) står i ytterkanten av Campus, i grensesonen mellom fjellbjørk, lyng og ryper og det stramme universitetslandskapet. Steinblokka av larvikitt er tung og organisk og har hode og kropp som skifter etter hvor vi ser den fra. Også den blankpolerte, bølgende overflaten skifter etter forandringer i været og gir oss en daglig status som forsvarer skulpturens tittel. Plassert på en liten høyde ved en av hovedankomstene til campus synes skulpturen som skapt for dette stedet – ja, som noe naturgitt og bestandig. God dag (“Moskus”) ble imidlertid laget for et helt annet sted og formål. Det er den japanske kunstneren Makoto Fujiwara som har hugget og glattpolert steinen, som først ble plassert i kulturlandskap Åkersvika utenfor Hamar i forbindelse med OL i 1994. Ti år senere ble skulpturen flyttet til Tromsø og bidrar her til en campus-identitet i grensesonen mellom natur og kultur, mellom det stedegne og det importerte.
Elin Haugdal, associate Professor of Art History, University of Tromsø
Britta Marakatt-Labbas broderifrise slynger seg elegant langs den buede veggen i Solhallen, der presise sting formidler mangefasetterte scener fra samisk historie, mytologi og hverdagsliv på det 24 meter lange lin-kledet. Både verkets størrelse, detaljrikdom og det tidkrevende arbeidet som ligger bak, er av imponerende skala. Likevel virker verket aldri dominerende. Samisk historie har aldri tatt opp stor plass i de nasjonalstatlige historiefortellingene, slik heller ikke broderiet som kunstform har opptatt stor plass i kunsthistoriebøkene. Maleri, og særlig storskala historiemaleri, har vært i toppen av sjangerhierarkiet det meste av tiden. På lavmælt vis påpeker og utfordrer Marakatt-Labba ulike lag av dominerende strukturer, i et verk som har vært en viktig daglig påminning for mitt eget arbeid som kunsthistoriker ved UiT.
Monica Grini, førstelektor, medie- og dokumentasjonsvitenskap, UiT
Almost at the top of a long flight of stairs, in a busy part of Teorifagbygget, Ida Lorentzen’s painting A dream itself is but a shadow offers the passersby the opportunity to pause, be it physically or mentally, briefly or at length. The depicted interior visualizes time at a standstill and challenges our perception of space. Its vacuity appears both disturbing and calming - what is this room, what is in this room?
Hege Olaussen, assistent professor of art history, University of Tromsø
Fotografiene til Kristin Tårnesvik på jusbiblioteket er fra serien Hot spots, 2007. «Alltid beredt» står det på fotografiet av taket på en Esso bensinstasjon. Teksten er speiderbevegelsens hilsen og kan være et hint til speiderbevegelsen som en fremmed, semi-militarisert friluftskultur i Sápmi. Teksten og Esso stasjonen kan forstås som en ironisering over oljeselskapene som til enhver tid vil være beredt til å hente ut det de kan finne profitabelt.
«Hot spots» kan forstås som viktige steder, samtidig som det i 2007 var naturlig å tenke seg at sammenstillingen av bilder fra et subarktisk landskap og adjektivet hot, har med global oppvarming og klimakrise å gjøre.
Fotografienes kontekst, jusbiblioteket på UiT Norges arktiske universitet, gjør at bildene dessuten må ses som kommentarer til debatten omkring rettigheter til ressursene i Sápmi og hvordan dagens profitt og kommers tjener andre interesser enn den samiske urbefolkningen.
Hanna Horsberg Hansen, førsteamanuensis på Kunstakademiet i Tromsø. UiT Norges arktiske universitet.
Two naked feet are hanging above a cobbled street. A transparent picture of the face and torso of a child is overlapped by the paving stones. The work of art is a typical silk screening on paper, hanging on the wall at the library of Psychology and Law together with two other silk screenings from the same sequence (Bilete 1976 I and III). Together they make a triptych. All three are combining techniques from graphics and photography. In Bilete II the feet are engraved with nervous lines and the use of rough tools, printed on a double exposed photography - the street and the child. The background motif is repeated in all three works while the main motif in the foreground is changing, a lifeless man and a breastfeeding woman with a child, in addition to the two feet.
The feet, the face of the child and its gaze in Bilete 1976 II are powerful signs of human presence. The street is hard, cold and lifeless. There is something disturbing about the hanging feet and the part of the body we do not see. Are the feet and the child different parts of the same person? Past and presence, stations during the path of life? Is the child a witness or a victim of war? Is it warning us, blaming us or asking for help through its gaze?
Kleiva (1933-2017) was a left wing political activist. During the 1960s he printed posters opposing the Vietnam war. Gradually his art is dealing more with interpersonal relations along with his political commitment.
Rognald Heiseldal Bergesen (Ph.D.), lector in art history, UiT The arctic university of Norway.
Herleik Kristiansen's (b. 1947) art production includes of a large collection of graphic works with animal motifs. Showing a herd of reindeer in different sizes, Reinflokk is an example of this. Another example is the work hanging next to Reinflokk in room SVHUM A2021, with the descriptive title Fugl, dyr, fisk (bird, animal, fish). Both works are linocuts in black-and-white. In Reinflokk Kristiansen has cut away the white (and partly grey) areas, that is the contour line of the reindeer, the antlers, tails and the many small and closely placed dots, which give the impression of fur on the reindeer's bodies. The areas he did not cut, including the background and the reindeer hoofs, are those that have added colour (black) to the canvas. Visually, the light parts of the image come out. In particular the antlers, whose organic, wavy shapes brings forth associations to a thicket or bush and seem to form its own decorative and stylised pattern on a background of reindeer bodies.
In Reinflokk we see a large gathering of reindeer standing closely together behind and on top of each other in a limited space. Our view is restricted, however, and the composition is cut on all sides (with heads and parts of the reindeer bodies being chopped) and what we see seems to be a part of a larger scene of more animals. This seemingly arbitrary "zooming in" to give a close view of nature in lieu of the more distanced and composed landscape is characteristic of Kristiansen's graphic production. It repeats for example in Fugl, dyr, fisk and the undated linocuts Fugler i Snøstorm (birds in a snow storm), Hettemåker (hooded gulls), Edderkopp (spider) and Humlesurr (bumblebee buzz). The view in these works seems connected to Kristiansen's sensuous relationship to nature. As a child Kristiansen used to look for birds, study their nests (he can still determine the type of bird from its egg), and lay with his body and face against the ground while searching for worms and other insects (Danbolt 2015, 26). Reinflokk may be based on a similar close observation of reindeer. The artist may have seen reindeer during his childhood on the island Tomma in Nesna municipality. Alternatively, he saw reindeer while a youth or adult in Kvæfjord, where he arrived as a new inmate on Trastad Gård, an institution for psychologically disabled youth, at the age of fourteen (Danbolt 2015, 20, 76).
Kristiansen's Reinflokk is an example of so-called outsider art, which is art created by socially marginalised individuals working outside any established art institution (Rossner 2009, 31-32). Today Kristiansen has his own studio at Trastad Design in Harstad, while his collection is on view at Trastad Samlinger. He has exhibited across the world and his works have been acquired by institutions such as the National Museum in Oslo, Art Council Norway and Northern Norway Art Museum in Tromsø (Rossner 2009, 33). UiT The Arctic University of Norway holds three of Kristiansen's linocuts in their collection: Reinflokk, Fugl, dyr, fisk and Pop-Jesus.
Danbolt, Gunnar. 2015. Outsideren Herleik Kristiansen, Sør-Troms Museum.
Rossner, Simone Romy. 2009. "Outsider Art", Rapport, 5 (October), 30-41.
Ingeborg Høvik, associate professor in art history, ISK, UiT The arctic university of Norway
A black-and-white photograph displays a part of lake Leipimäjärvi in Northern Finland underneath a partly overcast sky. From a viewpoint just above the surface of the lake, among rush and waterlilies, one can see a small, wooded strip of land at the opposite side of the lake where the sky meets the treetops. The sky is reflected on the surface of the lake, that is covered by a crisscross of rush making several cracks in the reflection, as if resembling craquelures of old oil paintings. A narrow, horizontal space is shaped between the clouds and their reflections. A piled cloud in the middle distance accentuates the remoteness of the opposite side. The dark water and the vegetation in the foreground indicate a murky bottom of the lake. There is a play of double meanings, such as sea-sky, reflection-reflected, photograph-painting and reality-dream in the picture. One is led into several spacious spheres gradually replacing each other: sky, land, on the sea, below the sea, bottom, horizon and endlessness.
According to local Sámi tradition Leipimäjärvi is a sáiva lake, meaning a lake with a double bottom. Sáiva mountains were related to sáiva lakes. They were based on the idea of the world of the dead and was inhabited by humans as well as animals. Sacrifices to the sáiva was made upside down; for example, the sacrificial tree was placed with its roots at the top. The relation between the Sámi and his/her sáiva spirit was reciprocal as well as inherited. The spirits were helping during fishing and hunting as well as in other occasions, and the Sámi had to provide with their own life as well as belongings if necessary.
The photograph hangs on the wall in the conference room U-VETT, Teorifagbygget, Building 1, 4th level. It is a part of the project Mytisk landskap (Mythic Landscape), consisting of more than 200 photographs of sacred places in Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Arvid Sveen (b. 1944) is educated as architect, and is working as a visual artist, a photographer and a graphic designer. Some of his works are acquired by Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat - De Samiske Samlinger, Nordnorsk kunstmuseum and Kemi art museum.
Rognald Heiseldal Bergesen (Ph.D.), lector in art history, UiT The arctic university of Norway
Guttorm Guttormsgaard’s The Labyrinth extends like a spiral from a small well in its centre to its margins at the university plaza. It is both beautiful and monumental in shape as well as content. Several tonnes of stones are gathered from regional locations such as Senja and Rebbenesøya. Slabs are gathered from Stortorget in Tromsø. They fill the labyrinth. Some are laid out in an arbitrary fashion, but most of them are placed in an elaborate order. The largest and heaviest of the stone formations are made by Guttormsgaard’s fellow artist Annelise Josefsen (b. 1949). It is supposed to give associations to ruptures in mountains, and to serve as a guardian of the Labyrinth.
The project lasted for about four years. With devotion for the northernmost region of Norway, Guttormsgaard was inspired by the people and the landscape of the region as well as the enigmatic stone labyrinths found along the coast of Finnmark. A labyrinth is a part of the ancient Greek epic drama The Iliad, and thus the piece of art also can be read as a part of Western culture. Sámi labyrinths were probably related to funeral ceremonies and can be read as means of transmission from one psychological or spiritual state to another. Some theories explain them as means of protecting Sámi culture from external influence.
In the summer the labyrinth with its flat and open design is approachable for everyone. It is a favourite site for a rest in the sun. Covered in snow in the winter, it is only the well that is visible, lit up in the polar night. A gentle trickling of body temperature water tells us that here is life. At the bottom of the well we can see the starry vault of heaven, with the Milky Way and the star signs in precise order. From archeology to astronomy – a micro cosmos, the endless within the limited, or the small inside of the large, solid as well as floating, and everything in between.
Guttorm Guttormsgaard turns 80 this year. In his home in «Blaker Old Dairy» he has built a life work, an archive of artefacts, art and books. On his Facebook page he writes that "The assortment is personal as well as passionate". He is mostly known as an engraver, but has also worked with other techniques, and has previously executed extensive exhibitions, among others at the universities of Oslo and Bergen as well as at Oslo Spectrum.
Lise Dahl, art historian at Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum
The sculptures group by Gitte Dæhlin is in deed eye-catching through the windows of the the Culture and Social Sciences library when your are passing through the main street of the Campus. And inside of the study hall the tall sculptures are integrated parts of the room.
The work is indicating three time spans – past, present, future – and consists of three parts: two portable life-size figures, each carrying a "column" of glass, and one stationary sculpture. Actually the latter is integrated in one of the sustaining pillars of the of the building. It displays the hands and legs of four persons that are sitting and reading in four different kinds of writings. The persons represent different characters in a north norwegian town: the fisherman in his sweater and boots, the Sámi woman in her ethnic outfit, the businessman-bureaucrat in his grey suit, and the colorful rocky student. One of the individual sculptures shows a mumified/bandaged female figure with mythic feathures that leads our thoughts back to pre-historic times. The other portraits a man burdened with a huge box of glass filled with cricled newspapers. The wornout clothes, the hair and the non-scandinavian appearance might give several assosiations. He is the only figure in motion, thus defining Gitte Dæhlins title of the work: There was – there is – a collumn will arrive.
The two freestanding figures are about 180 cm tall. Their melancolic faces are displaying the kind of expressionism typical of the art of Dæhlin. Today it is obvious that the skulptur group is almost thirty years old. The colour of the clothes has faded, the textiles are scattered with spots and rifts, the newspapers are yellow, eventueally it will all disintegrate. An aspect of perishability has become an obvious part of the work. Dæhlin made these skulptures of reused textiles. They should not be hidden behind montres. The way they are exhibited in the study room of the library, they live and grow old together with the people that use the library.
Helen Nina Sundvall, art historian, lector of visual arts, Breivang videregående skole
At the indigenous room/Áloálbmotčoakkáldat of the Culture and Social Sciences library the woodcut Ratkin is displayed as the last in a series of four. As a whole the series is based on illustrations of reindeer, but in Ratkin the artist has moved his focus from the reindeer as a concept to the symbolic values of dividing something into different groups. When a reindeer herd is collected, it is divided into groups in order to separate certain animals, e.g. unmarked calves. The picture's motif is inspired by the reindeer herd seen from a bird's-eye view. This is based on the artists experiences with reindeer herding from helicopter. The composition of the picture is shaped like the membrane of a Sámi drum. At first glance you will see a woodcut, the particular shape of the membrane and many black figures against a white background. By a closer study, you will see that the picture is full of symbols representing reindeer, humans, weapons, different animals, birds, plants, a car and a helicopter. The motifs are divided into groups and separated by lines resembling wooden branches.
According to the artist himself, he is fascinated by the separation of reindeer. In Ratkin the roles are shifted and it is the reindeer or other animals that divide humans, and separate good from evil. The motifs show many symbolic constellations that are humoristic as well as sarcastic – and maybe even frightening – a serious topic with an ironic twist.
Hans Ragnar Mathisen/Elle-Hánsa; (b. 1945) is a Sámi painter, graphical artist and writer. He was educated at the State school of art, craft and art industry paint course and the State's school of art, painting and graphic arts. The motifs of his pictures show his commitment to the Sámi people, its myths and legends, and the landscapes of Troms and Finnmark. He characterises his own pictures as naturalistic, but with elements of symbolism and some irony.
Frøydis Henriksen, art historian, lector of visual arts, Breivang videregående skole
Espen Sommer Eide's Material vision – Silent reading make us reflect on art and science, on senses and technology, and the visible and the invisible. His artwork consists of six pictures (photographs, drawings and graphics), glassed and framed, and a video, which is a documentation of the artistic research, or a kind of filmed performance (the illustration of the current text is one of the six: Material vision – Silent reading 1). The video is made up of several passages, all recorded on Bjørnøya, and it shows the artist's use of an eyetracker that detects the eye's motion on this remote island. Through the video camera and a self-made computer program, the eye's movements are drawn up as lines or dots on the film and in the pictures. Also, a specially crafted tuning fork is connected to the eye tracker and creates sound related to the visual perception of the landscape. The artist makes his perception of the landscape audible and visible. In the first video passage, it is clear that the view follows the heights and valleys of the landscape. The human eye wants to track and measure, it seeks horizons and focus on details. In addition to the recording video, the artist shows a strong control of the visual perception on the landscape. In one passage he moves his gaze down the mountain side as if a book with clearly defined margins. In other passages he shows how the view refines and delineates. And when a bird suddenly flies past, we follow the movement on pure impulse, while the artist holds his concentrated look, like a researcher. The last picture in this installation, Material vision 6, seems independent in relation to the video and to Bjørnøya. In the background of the picture there is a text page, and on top of this is the concentrated eyetracker lines that hides everything except the last text line, which for the insiders refers to the philosopher and phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty's unfinished manuscript published after his death. In English translation it is: "The Visible and the Invisible. The Intertwining - the Chiasm". Giving up his project of writing a book on truth at the end of his life, the philosopher instead worked on a book on the visible and the invisible. The relationship between visibility, sensation and truth is a strong tension in Espen Sommer Eide's art at the Science Building.
Elin Haugdal, associate Professor of Art History, University of Tromsø
For most people driving under this footbridge across the road between the MH-building and UNN, it's probably not that easy to perceive that it's at all a work of art they see above them.
In his work as a graphic artist, Skedsmo (born 1950) often used gradations of geometric shapes - shades of the same color beside each other give the impression of light and shadow and the surface gives us an impression of three-dimensionality and depth. The motives are often geometric shapes and figures, some very simple, others with a complexity reminiscent of Escher's impossible constructions, or highly abstracted expressions. The reverberation from his background as a design student at Westerdahl's advertising school in the early 1970s is clear. The artistic tools are relatively simple and the strength of the image rests on a strict composition.
Skedsmo has taken this style of expression into the construction of the facade decoration in the footbridge between the medicine faculty building and the hospital. Basically, there are only two tints in the bricks that are used to break up the facade, with red and yellow, respectively, as dominant primer colors.
The shapes can remind of the pointed zigzag pattern often used when splicing woodwork. The reddish surface has originated from the MH building, and the yellow from the hospital. The work can thus be read as a clear symbolic expression of how research / education and practical application of knowledge are joined to form a sustainable whole.
Jan Martin Berg, art historian, manager Galleri Svalbard
Essen 1960 (også kjent som Kålhode, Essen tema «Photooptische Abbildung» og Elevarbeide) er et elevarbeid Kåre Kivijärvi gjorde mens han studerte «subjektivt fotografi» under Otto Steinert i Tyskland på slutten av 1950- og begynnelsen av 1960-tallet. Fotografiet kan minne om den amerikanske fotografen Edward Westons fotografi av et kålblad fra 1931. På lik linje med andre modernistiske kunstnere var Weston opptatt av å undersøke de spesifikke egenskapene til det mediet han arbeidet med. Det handlet for eksempel om å utnytte mulighetene som et skarpt fokus og uvanlige vinkler ga – fotografi skulle bidra til en ny måte å se tingene på. Weston isolerte ofte ting fra hverdagslivet og fremstilte dem med et jevnt, skarpt fokus som ga god detaljgjengivelse. På samme måte som Kivijärvi gjør i Essen 1960, eksperimenterte Weston med lys- og skyggevirkninger. Til forskjell fra Weston var Kivijärvi likevel mindre opptatt av å finne frem til noe rent fotografisk. Han ble etter hvert mest kjent for sin grafiske stil, med sterke kontrakter mellom det helt sorte og det helt hvite, der det fremstod som om motivene grodde frem av mørket. Selv om Essen 1960 fremstår mindre dramatisk enn verk som Trålergaster, Svalbardbanken og Fra de store banker kjennetegnes alle motivene av at de fremtrer med en form for ro som Kivijärvi oppnår ved komposisjonsmessig å balansere motivene. Enkeltmenneskene og stedene som utgjør Kivijärvi motivverden er viktige. Likevel klarer han alltid å formidle noe allmenngyldig og generelt menneskelig.
Hanne Hammer Stien, Ph.D i kunsthistorie, universitetslektor, UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Det femti meter lange veggmaleriet bukter seg på skrå nedover Farmasibyggets nordlige glassfasade, synlig både fra vestibylekorridoren og fra atriet utenfor. Slik en elv renner gjennom fosser, stryk og rolige partier, følger det korridorens trapper. Thor Erdal (1951–) anvender ofte sterke farger i uttrykksfulle kontraster. Mange av hans arbeider har et fortellende preg, gjerne med utgangspunkt i Lofotens kystlandskap; de tidligste var figurative mens de senere mer symbolske og preget av abstraherte, geometriske former. Livets elv kjennetegnes av skarpe fargefelt i rødt, blått, gult og grønt som danner et stilisert landskap, der mer eller mindre tydelige menneskeskapte strukturer trer frem. Enkelte steder aner vi hus, byer og båter, så vel som fjell, jorder og vann. Fortellingens nederste – og siste – del består av mange små, runde former som flyter over i hverandre, nesten som amøber sett i et mikroskop. Er dette kanskje en referanse til organiske materialer som alt levende brytes ned til etter døden, eller til fagene biologi, medisin og farmasi? Som et langstrakt lappeteppe av ekspressive fargekontraster kan maleriet også fremstå som et fremmed fabeldyr i farmasibyggets stramme struktur. I tillegg har det fellestrekk – både narrativt og komposisjonelt – med Britta Marakatt-Labbas langstrakte fortelling, Historja (2007) i Teorifagbyggets Solhall. Og i antikkens Hellas var tempelveggenes øverste del prydet av langstrakte frisefelt hvor lapither, kentaurer og andre mytologiske vesener bekjempet hverandre. Livets elv er et frisefelt tilpasset et nordnorsk landskap i et kontemporært formspråk.
Rognald Heiseldal Bergesen (ph.d.), Universitetslektor i kunsthistorie, UiT Norges Arktiske universitet
Per Inge Bjørlos Kvile er et stort linoleumsnitt på papir i svart-hvitt som henger over et sett stramme, røde sofaer i universitetskafeen, Kaffebaren C8H10N4O2. Gjentagelsen av verkets mørke farger i kafeens disk, skap, menytavler og krakker samt motivets dominerende kaffebønneaktige form gjør Kvile til et passende verk her. Videre kan tittelen, som viser til en liggende menneskefigur omsluttet av en sitronformet oval – en båt? – i et landskap bestående av en rolig sjø og nattehimmel, selvsagt knyttes til kafeens funksjon. Samtidig som det er mye i Bjørlos bilde som kan assosieres med ro og hvile, er det noe foruroligende ved bildet. Til denne følelsen bidrar bildets tvetydige perspektiv, som på den ene siden kan leses som bestående av en i virkeligheten umulig kombinasjon, der vi både ser litt opp mot horisontlinjen og samtidig rett ned i en båt. Alternativt er det kun ett perspektiv der det vi ser er en undersjøisk scene og båten – et symbol på ly og trygghet – isteden blir til tverrsnittet av en klaustrofobisk menneskelig kapsel. Den diagonale linjen menneskefiguren ligger i, med tyngden av overkroppen øverst, skaper en ustabilitet der vekten av tyngdekraften gir en følelse av at personen vil falle ned eller mot betrakteren som står foran. Med bena samlet og armene på magen, ligger figuren som en gravlagt person, og den kompakte kroppen synes å blottlegge skjelettet som i et røntgenbilde. Som i mange av Bjørlos verk, utforsker Kvile de mørkere sidene av menneskelig eksistens og bildet er en noe ubehagelig påminnelse om vår sårbarhet og forgjengelighet.
Ingeborg Høvik, førsteamanuensis i kunsthistorie, UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Maleriet viser en verden av oppløsning, der mennesker blir trykket ned av krig og ødeleggelse. Formspråket er lett abstrahert med gjennomført organiske former i pastellfarger med toner av rosa i midtpartiet omkransa av grader av lilla og lys blå. Det gir et umiddelbart uttrykk av idyll før man studerer motivet nærmere. Midtpartiet viser ei fortetta gruppe av blanke, metalliske fragment som gir assosiasjoner til krigsmaskineri og bygninger i ruiner. En blomst i et geværløp gir klare assosiasjoner til fredssymbolikk. Blomster svever også rundt i det luftige billedrommet. Under den tette konsentrasjonen av metallfragment ligger to kvinner bøyd under tyngden, liggende på kne på en speilblank flate som reflekterer de kvite, selvlysende kroppene deres. Den ene er helt nedbøyd, kuet. Den andre har hodet hevet under tyngden av metall og ser direkte på oss med fast, åpent og svart blikk. Bildet er malt med akrylmaling. Derfor har det en blankskimrende og lysende karakter.
Ekeland var hele sitt voksne liv erklært kommunist med stort engasjement for enkeltindividets situasjon i en krigersk, menneskefiendtlig verden. Samtidig var han en engasjert tilhenger av et ekspresjonistisk og surrealistisk formspråk. Her viser han sitt samfunnskritiske budskap uttrykt i et estetisk vakkert formspråk. Han setter kontraster opp mot hverandre. Andre kontraster er hardt metall mot mjuk menneskekropp og blomster. Overmakt satt opp mot avmakt likeså. Bildet blei malt i 1984 under den kalde krigen. Da var også angsten for atomkrig og den totale ødeleggelse sterk universelt. Økologisk ødeleggelse var del av dette og kan tolkes inn i bildet.
Motivet med svevende blomster og blomst plassert i geværløp, er symbol som kan balansere mot det banale. I denne sammenheng kan det fungere. Det formidler på sin særegne måte optimisme i den verden av oppløsning i krig, undertrykkelse og økologisk krise som er maleriets hovedmotiv.
Maleriet henger i auditoriet, Medisin og Helsefagbygget, UiT
Audhild Olaisen, kunsthistoriker