Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mountains of the Mind

Oslo's National Museum is organised very well on thematic grounds. There was a lot of criticism when Tate Modern opened with a Richard Long right opposite a Monet, and to some extent I agreed that this tended to diminish both works, but the idea of juxtaposing responses to landscape from different eras is something that I do enjoy (as should be evident from this web log). In Oslo there is an excellent room with striking contemporary works like Marianne Heske's Mountains of the Mind (1988), Per Bernsten's View No. 4, Eggedal 1985 and Hiroshi Sugimoto's Norwegian Sea, Veseralen (1990), placed among nineteenth century Norwegian landscape paintings. Among the latter are Kitty Kielland's beautiful Summer Night (1886), a small Friedrich-like painting by Thomas Fearnley, Old Birch at the Sognefjord (1839), and Johan Christian Dahl's vast and detailed, View from Stalheim over Naerodalen (1842), parts of which are like a hyperreal Chinese mountain landscape.

Johan Christian Dahl, View from Stalheim over Naerodalen (1842)
Source: Wikipedia Commons

I bought a postcard of the Marianne Heske work, a video image of a mountain scene with what appear to be heat-sensitive colours. I can't find the exact image on line but there is a similar one here and a different video image here. Another example in a similar style is Full Moon Mountain (1987). I had not encountered Heske's work before. It says here that Heske created "canvases made up of enlargements of video photograms which had registered the emergence of lava in a volcanic eruption" - I am not sure if this is a reference to Mountains of the Mind? Visually Heske's work brought to mind the more extreme Symbolist and Expressionist landscape paintings - the design of the National Museum invites such comparisons.

No comments: