artist / participant

press release

Klosterfelde is delighted at this opportunity to present new works by Vibeke Tandberg (born in Oslo, 1967). The starting point of Tandberg’s work is a play with depictions of the ‘self‘. Her early photographic works focus on compelling issues of gender and identity from a social, political or psychological angle. Since the exhibition Reading the Newspaper without hands (Klosterfelde, 2005) Tandberg’s work has been developing consistently towards an examination of the ‘self’ through the use of text.

Tandberg’s title Mumbles is a reference to her book of the same name, which was published in August 2011 by onestar press Paris . Inspired by the prose of Samuel Beckett, the text is about a protagonist whose voice takes on a life of its own. ‘Mumbles’ wanders blindly through the body of the narrating character. After some time, it realises that it is stumbling in an endless circle in search of its origins. Mumbles can be read as a metaphor of the way in which language shapes our consciousness: “I read the Beckettian experience as a search for the conditions of subjective experience and as a life force through language, both profoundly human." (Vibeke Tandberg, 2011)

The new works on canvas present no more than a few words: Hand hand, And arse, As, Or eye, Eye Eye. Depending on our way of viewing, the sentence fragments fluctuate between image and text, pointed comment, wordplay or sound games. Through the openness in form and content of her written self-portraits, Tandberg resists a strict categorization in meaning. The artist’s entire oeuvre is permeated by the attempt to see herself from the perspective of another person.

In her installation comprising five videos (2011), the physical level constituting the theme is interwoven with complex emotional states. What we see are hands writing and texts: I can´t breathe/ I breathe/ I can´t breathe/ I breathe . The hands initiate words, which – once written down – repeat themselves and then disappear again. The short, silent sequences belong to a series of works produced since 2010, in which Tandberg is concerned with the writing process as the production of language.

For the Hair Scans (2011), the only non-text-based works in the exhibition, Tandberg positioned her head on a scanner, turning her face away from the screen. Without the photographer’s subjective eye, the scans simply reproduce objective evidence of the artist’s existence. While the text images and the videos seek to interpret the ‘self’, the scans represent an index: the distance between the woman being depicted and her depiction starts to disappear.

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Vibeke Tandberg