This month we are focusing on art books. Art books offer a fascinating entry point to highlight an artist's body of work, giving the reader a unique opportunity to become better acquainted with the artist's vision. These books vary in scope; some prioritize images, while others include in-depth text, both offering creative perspectives that enrich everyday life.
Sebastian Helling (b. 1975, London) received his BA from the London College of Printing (2001) and has a double MFA from the Royal College of Art in London (2003) and the Oslo Art Academy (2011). Helling’s work with painting and drawing is neither abstract nor figurative, neither gestural nor compositional. Layers of artistic languages overlap and deny each other. In the same spirit, his wish for communication (or anti-communication) is trapped within the relevance of the artwork. What we are presented with, then, are explosive drawings and canvases with splashes of paint and text, sometimes spray painted on, at other times applied with a brush and then stroked and smudged with his fingers. It is this tension between the positive and the negative that allows him to focus his work on the final outcome rather than a specific narrative or particular reference point - rather, they are embodiments of Helling's constant tearing apart and building back together again, an endless cycle of nature.
The book "You Rock," launched in conjunction with the US / THEM exhibition at QB and Blomqvist in the fall of 2018, continues this cycle. The 400-page publication represents the first volume presenting Helling's works on paper. Here we get a closer look at the artist's spontaneous and dynamic working method. The book's content, consisting of sketches and image segments, reveals an artist in constant motion. Fragments of text, attempts at symmetrical compositions, vague figurations, and newly discovered figurative "forms" of various characters, confront the reader page by page, providing an exclusive insight into an artistic process driven by an almost compulsive need to create.
Bjørn Båsen →
Bjørn Båsen (b. 1981, Eggedal, Norway) has a BA from The Arts Institute at Bournemouth and an MA from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Båsen’s works invite the spectator into a whole new world. His skillful perspectives make one feel as though you could take a leap and fall into his illusion of a blissful wonderland. However, in his world of porcelain puzzles, cracks are always present and propped with references to deep and often dark matters. Båsen’s oeuvre is filled with references to mythology, past and present decadence – the fairytales of former glory meet the realism of today.
"Wonderland" by author Siri Meyer, is the first monograph exploring Båsen's work. The book leads the reader into an exploration of Båsen's artistry, which spans painting, graphics, and installation art. Båsen, as a craftsman in the grand European tradition, draws lines to the cultural landscape of Eggedal, where Kittelsen also found inspiration. Like a modern day Askeladden, he collects fragments of civilization, finding beauty in what is left and decayed, from rococo furniture to antique porcelain. From the ashes of history, he raises a new, enchanting world, where beauty and eeriness exist side by side, and doomsday is presented with a seductive twist. The book navigates through themes such as Eggedal, The Eye, Decadence, Wonderland, and The Uncanny, reflecting Båsen's ability to draw inspiration from a range of sources, from decadent novels and science fiction to contemporary visual culture.
Christian Tunge →
Christian Tunge (b. 1989, NO) holds a BFA in photography from the University of Gothenburg (2015). Tunge works primarily with photography, printing and art books. He is interested in how todays society relate to images, and several of his recent photo series deal with digital image sharing. Tunge has made a name for himself within the graphic medium and has in resent years produced several of his artworks as prints rather than traditional photo-prints. In 2022, Tunge was awarded the Norske Grafikeres Fonds graphics prize for a series of riso prints exhibited during the annual Autumn Exhibition. Tunge explores photography as a medium and photography’s development in today’s society in a number of ways. In addition to his own artistry, he is the founder of the art book publisher Heavy Books, which specializes in printed publications from young artists. The publications are at the intersection between books and works of art, and come in limited editions. Tunge is also one of the people behind the artist-run photo gallery MELK, which opened its doors in 2009.
The publication "Too Familiar To Ignore, Too Different to Tolerate" by Tunge examines the behavior of honeybees and the structure within the beehive to reflect on our human condition. It consists of staged photographs rich in symbolism and references to contemporary pop culture and global politics.
Hilde Honerud →
Hilde Honerud (b. 1977) is a graduate of Napier University of Edinburgh and the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. In recent years, Honerud has worked with the interplay between geopolitical events and the individual from a humanistic perspective. She works closely with her subjects, often over long periods, to convey the experience and reality of the person being photographed. Inspired by Jon Berger's essay "Uses of Photography", Honerud sees herself more as a recorder than a reporter, a role she considers crucial to communicating the seriousness of the events she documents.
In a time where images are ubiquitous and catastrophic events seem to be commonplace, Honerud questions how we can convey serious incidents through images. Her method combines a documentary style with elements of conscious manipulation. The publication GYM, which includes introductions by Susanne Østby Sæther and Estelle Jean, founder of YSR, reflects this duality.
Espen Gleditsch →
Espen Gleditsch (b. 1983, NO) holds an MFA from the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo. Gleditsch works mainly with photography and text. His projects often take historical events, artworks or architecture as points of departure, where shifts of meaning and misinterpretations have played a decisive role in their dissemination and reception. In recent exhibitions antique sculpture, architecture and colour have been recurring motifs. In his works, Gleditsch explores the mechanisms behind historiography, the construction of historical narratives, unintended shifts of meaning and diffuse borders between subjective experience and objective facts.
In the photo book "mmmMarbles", Gleditsch explores the ancient Parthenon friezes as they are presented in the Duveen Gallery at the British Museum in London. The location of these sculptures is controversial; Greece has long demanded their return, while the British Museum argues that the friezes are better preserved and more accessible to a wider audience while exhibited in London. Gleditsch's photographs contribute to the discourse on the circulation and maintenance of the sculptures.