Petter Solberg is a visual artist currently based in Oslo, Norway. His work includes sculpture, painting, poetry and animation. Since graduating with an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 2010, Solberg has exhibited in both group and solo shows home and internationally, and has participated in residencies in Norway, Denmark and Germany. Much of Solberg’s work is created in a state of playful ambivalence where the process keeps shifting between different media and materials, and where different ideas and narrative possibilities are explored. The works often consider different aspects of contemporary culture and society, usually expressed within fictional narrative contexts.
My work process exists in a continous state of ambivalence. My ambivalence towards different aesthetics, themes and forms. The shift in interest between analysis and mystery. The love of simplicity and sober realism and the simultaneous faith in the seductive and magical powers of language, both visual and textual. I strive to create work that simultaneously reveal and conceal. As one element comes to light, another element is hidden. The mystery does not disappear, it’s simply displaced.
I shift between different expressions like sculpture, painting, animation and text. This approach allows me to explore recurring themes from different angles. It also allows for ideas and imagery to change and shapeshift over time. What used to be a sculpture, may one day become a poem, and vice versa. The use of different techniques and media also forces me to slow down and take my time with each element, which is why I often compare my creative process to a destillation process. This approach is particularly useful for animation, where, in order to understand movement, I have to take the time to slow down.
I prefer working in series instead of single works. I keep working on various neverending projects that are all part of the same overarching process, but represent different aesthetic and conceptual standpoints. These projects tend to start as reactions on previous projects. This way my artistic ambivalence is reinforced, so that I’m always slightly off balance.
Whereas one project may be based on the conviction that less is more, another one might say ‘fuck that! Keep pouring!’. I like to imagine that my projects originate outside myself, founded by somebody else. This process-focused role play lets me explore ideas that might otherwise have been scrapped according to ‘my actual’ taste. While this approach usually exists as a hidden tool, on occasion it is revealed to the audience as a performative element.
I also work with text, both as an independent literary process (poetry and prose pieces), as well as part of text based art. I decided to study creative writing in addition to art partly because I had wanted a deeper understanding of the structural similarities and differences between text and image, and because I felt that there was still a lot of unexplored potential in text based art.
When I paint I tend to start with one of the core fundamentals of two dimensional painting – the illusion of depth. I like challenging the viewer’s suspension of disbelief by interrupting the perceived perspective depth with areas of flatness, variying surface texture and contradicted/mirrored or twisted perspectives.