I had the pleasure to meet Norwegian Artist Viel Bjerkeset Andersen at the Open Oslo festival where practitioners all over the city open their studios for people to visit (Open Oslo, 2015). Bjerkeset Andersen’s work mainly deals with large urban spaces. Her vision blends naturally into the environment becoming an integral part of it. The shapes and materials feel as if they have been taken from a futuristic work of science fiction, yet at the same time, they feel familiar and welcoming (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1 Viel Bjerkeset Andersen, The Sphere (2002). Sculpture
After Open Oslo, Bjerkeset Andersen agreed to meet again for an interview. We talked about her inspirations and motivations as an artist; how animation and music forms part of her practice; and her impressions of the art world. It is impossible to cover her long trajectory and the depth of her work here but I would like to surface some of my impressions.
Music is an integral part of Bjerkeset Andersen’s inspiration and research. Being an animator myself, I was very intrigued when she mentioned music and animation when reflecting upon her own work, which one might perceive as static. She sees rhythm in the way people experience her creations. Just like experiencing music or animation. It’s important to break the monotony by creating variations of beat through time. She mentioned a specific example of a 14 Km tunnel where she is proposing to “disturb the monotonous feeling” (Bjerkeset Andersen, 2015: 18.45) by placing luminous shapes inside. The aim is to break the monotony for the driver passing through this tunnel by creating a variation in the scenery, thus creating an live animation and eventually making the tunnel safer for drivers. Although sculptures are mainly static, it is clear that Bjerkeset Andersen understands animation from an animator’s perspective. I felt very inspired by how a practitioner from a different field from my own can understand and explain my practice with such detail and clarity.
“At the beginning I was told that public Art is just rubbish” (Bjerkeset Andersen, 2015: 25.05). Bjerkeset Andersen has over 25 years of experience and she is a well known artist today. But she did experienced alienation from the Art world in her first years. Although her field has gotten recognition in recent time, the Art world continues to be narrow minded (Bjerkeset Andersen, 2015: 23.28).
The Art world is a challenging scene and this feeling is still present today for other practitioners. I will expand on this subject on my next post: Oslo Open Part 2: Interview with Yola Maria Tsolis.
Bjerkeset Andersen, V. (2015) Interviewed by Carlos Villarreal Kwasek for IDI Research and Practice Blog, 6 May 2015 [online] Available at: Sound Cloud [Accessed 6 May 2015].
Open Oslo (2015) Open Oslo. [website] Available at: Oslo Open [Accessed 11 May 2015]
List of Images
Fig. 1 Viel Bjerkeset Andersen, The Sphere (2002). Sculpture. [image online] Available at: viel.no [Accessed 9 May 2015].