The dualistic approach or assemblage of two different styles of sculpture (figurative and abstract) offer an alternative way of expressing two different states of being; one anchored in the physical world and the other offering the more symbolic interpretation.
In the case of Soundarya, her arms are folded behind her back, resigned with eyes closed; a snake like vestige protrudes from her stomach, supporting her. It is the vehicle for her movement, deciding her path, one she herself has no control over.
The cocoon, symbolizing change, is a reoccurring theme in my work. The cocoon is usually combined with the female figure. Although I have combined it with the male figure as well, I feel that the subtle change from within is more of a feminine trait.
In Blue Cocoon I, II, III, the figures have their arms in different positions, moving from waist level to the base of the neck, indicating three levels of change.
Lina was a piece commisioned by a couple from the west coast of Norway. The sculpture`s title "Lina" was a name given by them, dedicated to their Grandmother.
As was also the case with the Norse Gods of Old in Thor and Odin, as a God's popularity diminishes, we tend to refer to them in different terms, replacing the word GOD with "myth" or "legend".
Seeing these shifts throughout history, in a Gods popularity, I made a tribute to one of these forgotten Gods.
The Native American Goddess Koyangwuti, also known as spider woman, is a metaphor for SHE who creates from a central source.
According to legend SHE will one day pull all of her creation - back to her source.
Her web represents the grids or matrix of our reality.
Mark III Angel Glider, 2005
Measuring 100x170cm, this was the first large piece made and was exhibited at the
"Young Nordic Artists" exhibition at a museum in Greifswald, Germany, as part of the Nordicher Klang. The sculpture was stuck in customs and arrived a week late. I was told, in all seriousness, that I should have included a bottle of spirits in the crate to ensure a speedy transition through (former East German) customs.
The male and female figures are without arms and feet, dancing in pale moonlight.
The sculpture Inside and its depiction of the female figure bending over the male one can easily be mistaken for a sexual act. Looking more closely one sees that portions of the male stomach are missing.
Often the male is seen as the aggressor. With this piece the tables are turned. The act of cannibalism is a metaphor for female aggression and dominance. The questioning and casting aside of male superiority and the ensuing state of helplessness is one to challenge the male ego.
Here the bound female body lies in two separate pieces, a result of male aggression, and the urge to destroy what one cannot control.
The piece is inspired by the poem:
"If she answers thee with no
Wilt thou bow and let her go?"
By W. J. Linton (1812-97)
From Faint Heart
The sculpture Milk was originally part of the series on exploring the aesthetics of violence and was designed to squirt red liquid (blood). As one walks toward the sculpture an infra red sensor picks up the change in temperature and sets off pumps inside the pool, pumping liquid through her mouth and a slit in her neck, which is partly hidden by her hand.
A gurgling sound is heard.
The white milk offers the viewer a broader base to interpret the piece than the red liquid. One should also bear in mind that the sculpture Milk was made in 96, long before the work on Rejection, Hypothesis or One too Many.
At the time no parallel was drawn between these sculptures in terms of interpreting the liquid as anything but milk.
The sculpture Pump for More Blood was inspired by David Flincher's "Seven", and its aesthetically pleasing depiction of The Seven Deadly Sins. The film leads one to question why we, especially we males, enjoy viewing violence.
I wanted to put this to the test and made an interactive sculpture. On pressing the button marked "Pump for More Blood" red liquid is ejected from the severed wrist, potentially satisfying the viewer's lust for the macabre at every push of the button.
The sculpture was a great success.
This is the first piece integrating the cocoon shape. Originally consisting of three figures, one at the head and another at the foot of the horizontal figure. The two standing figures were removed and replaced with the cocoon and the hands holding the metal wire. In this piece the cocoon was used to express a bound static state, and not one of change as in the later cocoon series.
Although this piece was originally conceived as a sexually violent piece it changed character and evolved into the version seen here. The hands holding the wire were also removed later, softening the piece considerably, allowing for a different interpretation.
In the sculpture Hypothesis, the waste of certain bodily fluids (all eleven litres of them, on numerous females, none of them bearing any fruits, so to speak) is illustrated by a sort of self portrait.
This sculpture was originally built in a wooden frame, but after an accident at my studio (Hypothesis slammed into the Embryo sculpture), I was forced to rebuild them both in steel frames.
The accident happened eight months and two weeks before the birth of my son. The glass used in the Embryo sculpture cracked (turned out it was too thin), the liquid poured out and forced the Embryo sculpture crashing into Hypothesis, leaving the floor of my studio covered in a layer of "embryonic fluid" and "sperm".
The first version of this sculpture was mounted in a wooden frame with the title:
"The Aesthetics of Drowning, or, A Runny Nose, or, One Blowjob Too Many."
The sculpture was, as part of the title states, meant to illustrate "The Aesthetics of Drowning" and was originally designed to pump air through the nose and mouth, forming bubbles in the water.
The secret recipe for the "sperm" is simple vegetable oil. It is whipped into an opaque state by the pump, imitating sperm, and being lighter than water bubbles slowly up to the surface (a lot slower than air).
Embryo was inspired by Massive Attack and their video Teardrop. The high pitched vocals of Liz Fraser from the Cocteau Twins, the throbbing slow beat, and the baby in the womb are a great combination.
Although this was the starting point, I wanted my piece to be of a non human (humanoid) embryo, hinting at something alien or gene manipulated, placed not in a womb, but in a tank.
A water pump moves the figure slowly around inside the tank filled with a reddish liquid. Although embryonic fluid is clear, the red liquid offered an added dimension, hiding the figure, letting it glide in and out of sight.
Rejection features two abstracted female private parts rejecting a sperm like liquid. The liquid is pumped down from the top of the tank, through the openings and bubbles slowly up to the surface, where it is pumped down again, an indefinite cycle of rejection.
This piece is related to Hypothesis and deals with the female rejecting male fertilization. This insidious and hidden form of "rejection" is not necessarily a conscious choice made by the female, but is none the less one that affects the male ego, leading to irrational conclusions, feelings of rejection, and perhaps even the creation of sculptures such as this one.
The true "Elephant Man" was named John Merrick and lived in Victorian times. He was horribly disfigured by his illness, displayed at freak shows, and was finally rescued by Dr. Frederick Treves and has since come to symbolize "perseverance in the face of affliction".
The sculpture, The Elephant Man, is in contrast athletic and without physical disfigurements, the ugliness is on the inside. The lead tentacle reaches out and confronts the figure "in the face", making its presence known. The title was originally suggested by an Indian cab driver,"..looks like he has a big hungry elephant in his stomach.."
Inspired by the descent of the Goddess Inanna into the underworld, the sculpture deals with a journey to the hidden layers of the unconscious psyche.
According to the myth, upon entering into the underworld, Inanna the Queen of Heaven and Earth, is forced to leave all her earthly possessions behind, and enters through the gates naked and vulnerable. There she is judged with the Word of wraith, Cry of guilt and Eye of death and her corpse is left to rot. She is saved by the God of Wisdom and Water, and brought back from the underworld, with a new awareness of what pain and suffering are.
In this sculpture her journey is symbolized by the lower abstract part of the sculpture forming a bridge or step. Her ordeal and suffering are illustrated by her grazed and cracked body.
Blind Arrow started its life as a political piece.
"Blind Arrow Systems Inc" was my comment on Anglo-Saxon willingness to use military force as a "problem solver".
The figure sits perched on top of the "arrow", with eyes shut, acting as the missile's, "Blind" guidance system, somewhat reminiscent of modern warfare.
The piece was later exhibited at the Alfred Exhibition celebrating the centennial of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Arrow, also called "Upper Arrow" was a more aggressive piece. With clenched fists and a frown the figure heads for its goal.
In the 2002 exhibition the three Arrow figures were exhibited in the adjacent room to, and heading in the direction of, the three female cocooned figures.
All three male figures were sculpted directly in stoneware clay and were not glazed, offering a contrast to the reinforced smooth epoxy material used in the abstract arrow shapes supporting them. The grey colour was originally chosen for its similarities to the grey used in military planes and munitions.
I particularly like the title "Round Arrow", as an arrow is seldom round, but rather sharp and straight. This piece illustrates the male ability to circumnavigate obstacles, going around and past them on the journey towards his goal.
The hands are in an asymmetric position, supposedly moving up and down, fine tuning its movements around unseen obstacles.
The abstract and lower part of the sculpture represents the vehicle for this movement on a subconscious level.
The sculpture has also circumnavigated the globe, and has so far been exhibited on three continents: Asia, Europe, and America.
The female figures are on an inner journey, symbolized by the cocoon and by the base of the sculpture, where there is some intent and direction in the abstract shape.
The movement in the female figure is one associated with inner change (cocoon), rather than the male movement, associated with change through movement (arrow).
The Sleep Walker lends inspiration from classical Egyptian art. But in this case it is not a descent into the netherworld, but a journey through our own chaotic time.
"The Sleep Walker seeks a care free life. With arms folded, protecting his exposed body, he glides through life. His eyes closed, ignorant of his own flight, striding through the city in great bounds."
In keeping with the spirit of the sculpture the Sleepwalker was pushed through town from my studio to the exhibition space at the docks (Aker Brygge) in Oslo.
The sculpture also later became the focus point for the 2003/04 exhibition "Draumkvede" in Belgium.
The Old Norse word "Draumkvede" translating into Dream Song.
Sleepwalker II was made as a partner for the first Sleepwalker sculpture, one at rest and the other in motion.
Sleepwalker II has found his stance, with his arms behind his body, he no longer feels the need to protect himself.
The sculptures were also designed and exhibited to work visually together, the V shape of their legs becoming a visual element binding all the sleepwalker figures together.
The sculpture now stands at Skt. Petri Hotel in Copenhagen, perhaps watching over the guests as they sleep.
In the female Sleepwalker III sculpture the "V" shape is found at the base of the sculpture. In the Draumkvede exhibition the two female sleepwalker sculptures were exhibited across from one another, the shape of their feet < > joining them visually.
Her hands, although empty, were sculpted to hold objects, artefacts to aid the figure on its journey, much the same as the Crook, Flail or Ankh found on some royal Egyptian mummies.
In contrast, the Sleepwalker IV, seen below, has its hands closed, unable to hold any artefacts.
Angel Glider is built around the idea of a pre historic Angel design.
Much in the same way as one model of car is replaced by another; Mark III Angel Glider is envisioned as one of the first Angel designs. Made for a time when a denser atmosphere and fast winds prevailed, allowing this Angel to rely on its gliding ability.
As the atmosphere changed the Mark III Angel Glider was perhaps replaced by the wider winged "Feather Design", so well known today and depicted by many artists in recent centuries.
SF is a tribute to the feminine.
The figure is balanced on a base in the shape of a cross with arms of equal length by two metal bars and will easily swing to and fro when touched, giving an unstable impression. The female figure is emerging, her feet protruding.
In this piece her feet fill a central and symbolic role.
The beige coloured parts of the figure exhibit a type of grazing, the surface seems to be cracking open, allowing the female figure to emerge.
In Laurence the legs are encased , and fused with copper valves.
The piece lends inspiration from my brother, Laurence, who sat in a wheel chair for six months after injuring his legs.
I envisioned some sort of healing process with this piece, the valves serving as a release point for the ailment.
Dream Sniffer, 2006/2003
I see this figure as sniffing for dreams, catching a whiff of a foreign dream. Intoxicated his knees are ready to buckle.
Dream Sniffer is a remake of Sleepwalker I from 2003.
The two versions, though different, represent two flights from reality; one through sleepwalking, and the other intoxicated by the dream itself.
The outstretched arms and elongated legs represent the never ending list of requirements and demands we place on our own time and attention.
Visually similar, this sculpture represents the self crucifixion; with bloated and deformed arms we are witnessing the results of this "vast embrace".
With eyes wide open he is aware of what is in store for him.
His arms are clasped to his side, encased in a cocoon like vestige.
The lower part of his body has been elongated.
His feet are tense.
This constant tension is typical of this man's world.
The rail like base of the sculpture ensures his journey on a fixed track.
Instead of adapting the environment to suit his needs,
"Skater" is envisioned in a future society where man has adapted himself to suit his current environment.
The skating blades, the cracked and grazed body and icy coloring ensure a perfect adaptation to this icy environment.
Roller has been adapted to a warmer climate.
Lending inspiration from the siege towers of the middle ages, I see this figure as rolling slowly, unstoppable, towards his goal.
The Forgotten series,
The Right Hands
of God , 2007
A series of earth crusted, weather worn, figurative elements interacting with organic - industrial shapes from an uncertain future.
I originally worked on several pieces combining industrial shapes and figurative parts back in 94 at the beginning of my Masters degree.
At the time I opted for a more macabre direction to my art, but am now back to square one (so to speak) a decade or so later.
The Right Hands of God has two right hands.
This Angel is a tribute to two different religions and their common ground.
One of the six "Articles of Faith" in Islam is the Faith in Angels.
Similar to the sculpture David, the arms and body form a cross, this Angel also combines a crescent moon shape in the tail.
Focusing on my own insecurity, what I imagine others might be thinking (dreaming) of me, I wanted this piece to confirm my doubts.
Traveller is the third and final piece in the "brother" series.
The kayak has two compartments where the feet and hands are placed, detached from the body, to be reattached when the traveller reaches his destination. A symbol for the process of detaching oneself from vital parts of the self on challenging journeys through life.
The figures arms have been fitted with prosthetic whale like flippers, adapting to this new environment.
Taking into account a linear evolution, our society will become ever more dependent on the machine.
My vision is based on a self repairing bio-mechanical creation.
Visually; black and brown, earth crusted and oily - drillers - for oil perhaps?
On the "emotional" level, Project Core is intended to resonate with the desire to burry oneself and disappear from the surface.
- Interestingly the Immaculate Conception was first solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX as late as 1854, before this date Roman Catholics were free to either believe in it or not, without being accused of heresy.
The sculptures also symbolize a change from within- the emerging male and female.
Madonna and the Three Eggs (far right) illustrates the period leading up to (incubation and birth) of the Trinity; the Son the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Emerging Male 2005
Emerging Female 2005
A series of Angel designs, new versions adapting to a change in environment by form and function.
The sculpture Angelos Flagellum represents the first stage in an Angels creation, ("Flagellum" refering to the spermatozoons tail ) followed by the sculpture Mark I Pollywog, representing the "tadpole" stage.
Angel Diver V.1 and V.2 were adapted to a time when life was developing in the seas. Mark VI Angel Glider is a present day version of an angel. An increase in the population and a corresponding increase in the angel population, watching over their human counterparts, made this space saving / folding wing design necessary.
This series is a continuation of the sculpture Mark III Angel Glider from 2005.
V2 Angel Diver
Angel Diver V.1
Mark VI Angel Glider
A Perfect Cast
Expecting the birth of our daughter, I was anxious, afraid of everything that could go wrong and hoping for "a perfect cast". This piece is inspired by this period of waiting.
I also made an attempt to visually illustrate the Earths` population by colour.
Limiting myself to three shades of colour made this task a bit of a challenge.
Most of Africa, India and Pakistan were designated as "dark brown".
The Middle East, China and the Far East as well as South America became "beige".
Most of Europe and North America were "white". I used this method for the top 62 countries by population, so there may be a certain margin of error.
This piece consists of forty seven casts and two originals. Visually I wanted to expose the joint lines of the piece moulds in which they were cast, illustrating the process by which they were made.
Mark I Pollywog
Fishermans Friend and Mariann are inspired by my visit to the West coast of Norway. The Fishing industry generates an enormous amount of wealth for this community (gold fishing garment), also resulting in many "stay at home" moms.
Mariann is the perfect manequin wife, ready to don any outfit. But perhaps what I wanted to show was what lay beneath all the frills.
From Wikipedia on Octopus nervous system: "An octopus has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain. Two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have a remarkable amount of autonomy. Octopus arms show a wide variety of complex reflex actions arising on at least three different levels of the nervous system."
Much in the same way as a woman controls or tries to control the environment around her, her actions are instinctive and sometimes take on an autonomous life of their own.
The sculpture "Oversupply" simply illustrates the mother as a milk producer and an object of desire for her child. This point is further illustrated by the back of the sculptures head, bearing the stripes of an overgrown candy cane, with a blue tear running down the side of her face, hinting either at the joy or pain of motherhood. One drop of milk hangs suspended from her swollen pink breast.
I then re- published a self censored verion to their servers: See here
An important piece. Fire Starter deals with our, and specially a womans belief in that she can deal with most anything.
Protected only by oven mittens and a fire helmet she sweats it out.
A fire starter. In her own life.
This series can be seen as a departure from most working processes typical of my other works.
These sketches are fast paced, intuitive and sculpted in a broader range of "isms" than usual.
Abstract, figurative expressionism as well as classical works are represented in this intuitive mix.
The sculpting process is usually done in less than 30 minutes. Mounting glazing and documenting the sketches actually takes more time than sculpting them.
As a contrast, other smaller works of comparable size, usually take several hours, if not days, to sculpt. As a consequence, 30- 40 % of these quick sketches never make it past the sculpting stage, and are dumped. It's a bit of a hit and miss process.
I began sculpting these sketches in late 2008,and it has been a relief and inspiration to work on a body of work that is just what it is. Relaxed and quick pieces from the intuitive mind.
Wannabe is a series dealing with Western women and their hopes, dreams and aspirations seen from a male perspective.
Titles from top left: Fighter, Half Naked Nun, Actress/Bimbo, Deep Space, The Good Homemaker, Thin.
(there is also a seventh figure titled "Bad Girl" not included in the thumbnail to the left)
Scandinavian Burqa lends inspiration from the Scandinavian social democracy.
A frame of mind in which all are created equal, and should behave and dress in a similar manner.
In much of Scandinavia, and in particular Norway (where I live), setting oneself outside this accepted norm is frowned upon.
Another aspect typical of Scandinavian culture is a relaxed attitude to nudity. Sunbathing topless is socially accepted, although I am told, not at the moment fashionable.
Scandinavian Burqa was a result of these two Scandinavian irregularities.
The underlying current in Western European countries would suggests that Muslims should conform to European values, rather than expressing their own.
I also experimented with caucasian skin, in contrast to the black niqab/purdah in the duo Caucasian/Scandinavian Burqa.
Here and There
This duo lend inspiration from Ibsen`s A Doll`s House.
In the play Nora realizes that she no longer wants to continue her false fasade, and she walks.
A series of in all 19 cast stoneware Muslim space helmets; expressing a distopian future of religious conflict in the heavens. Passages from the Qur`an (English translation) are written on several of the series, to express the growth of Islam, to space: The final frontier.
To further express the conflict, 6mm projectiles have been shot at some of the helmets, forming crucifixes, The Star of David and in some cases just at random. "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" is repeated on the helmets with bullet holes. The unperfirated helmets have a selection of other passages from the Qur`an.
Three series have no texts from the Qur`an.
Originally titled "Love in a Time of Swine Flu" the piece was conceived in 2009 (finished in 2010) at the height of the swine flu pandemic (hysteria) in Europe.
18 000 deaths have since been contributed to the swine flu pendemic, some 4% of the total annual influenza deaths worldwide.
Obviously this has sparked a number of Swine Flu vaccine conspiracies.
My depiction of Kenny almost being shot in the dick while peeing the first letters of the prophets name in the snow, seeks to question and illustrate religious censorship by violence, and the self censorship by artists and the media when dealing with the prophet Muhammed.
Kenny is Almost Shot in the Dick while Peeing "Muh......" in the Snow was in part inspired by the "almost" bombing of Viacom (broadcasters of the show South Park) in Time Square in the spring of 2010, after receiving death threats from the group Revolution Muslim prior to the airing of episode 201.
Episode 201 features the prophet Muhammed in a bear costume.
Comedy Central subsequently modified Parker and Stone's version of the episode, obscuring all images and bleeping all references to Muhammad .
Kenny was first exhibited at the National Museum of Art and Design in Oslo in a Juried exhibition in 2011. Kenny became the poster child for the exhibit, featured on the cover of the catalogue, posters, and on a large banner outside the Museum.
Safe Shopper and Play Safe were finished in early July 2011.
Originally based on a vision of a dystopian future in which the mundane acts of shopping and child`s play would require urban protection wear.
The grazed surface structure was used to contrast a seemingly safe and protected existence with a fragile state of being.
Children of God
CASA-Children of God
JASA-Children of God
JASA (Jewish Aeronautics and Space Administration) Space helmet designed for the Orthodox Jew, with elongated wings for the beard and braids, and a rim to mimic the hat worn by followers of this Faith.
The Star of David, followed by the letters ASA, have been inscribed into the steel column. Texts from the Torah, mostly from the book of Genesis, have also been written on the helmet itself; to symbolize the transfer of beliefs from earth to the heavens (space).
Children of God- Muslim, Jewish and Catholic faiths in space.
Space helmets in the MASA series (Muslim Aeronautics and Space Administration). Muslim astronauts helmets respectively designed for the bearded Mullah and veiled female astronaut.
In the piece "Children of God" we see the father flanked by space helmets for his son and daughter.
CASA (Christian Aeronautics and Space Administration). Only the white clerical collar distinguishes this helmet from the standard NASA issue. Barely distinguishable texts from the New Testament form a cross over the helmet. The visor is almost closed as to hint at the hidden nature of this religion.
Bombsuit Babies w. Mother.
The Bombsuit Babies Series consists of 15 pieces, all cast in different colours, mimicking an industrial produced product like a car, which comes in different colours. The protective suits are an analogy for our desire to protect our offspring taken to the extreme. Although it could be argued that protective suits for children also have a real world use today.
Work on this series of 15 bombsuits and one six breasted mother stared at the end of 2012, and was finished a year later in December of 2013. A test series of the helmet front was experimented with in 2012, casting in multi coloured epoxy (a two component plastic) in various combinations. The suit was then sculpted in ceramics, and multi coloured casts in both ceramics and epoxy were combined with the helmets (see pics here of construction).
The series consists of 11 epoxy bombsuits, 4 ceramic bombsuits, and one mother made from both epoxy and ceramics.
The multi breasted mother lends inspiration from the classic sci-fi film Total Recall).
A trio from the series was first exhibited in Venice at OPEN in 2014.
Sheeple. People+sheep= Sheeple
Based on the theory that the general population lack free will. The populous of any country act more like a herd of animals than free thinking individuals.
Free will is sapped from the individual through religious dogmas, state and local laws, and more or less through any organization or corporation who`s aim it is to represent the individual.
What you eat, how you dress, what you believe in, and how you act is to a very large extent based on the individual turning over his or her right of autonomous decision to said organization/religion/corporation who they believe to be more competent.
This transfer of free will, mostly voluntary, results in a population of sheeple.
Time Out. The piece deals with the shame an abused child may feel for actions they have no control over or blame for. Put to shame in the "time out" zone, her feet hardly touching the ground, naked and unprotected except for helmets and boots, with liquid dripping from between her legs.
The sculpture was first exhibited at KODE 1 Museum in Bergen in 2014 as part of a larger exhibition.
Muhammad and His Beloved Daughters is an attempt to juxtapose Muhammad as a loving father to his daughters up against the myriad of negative imagery of the Prophet in Western culture.
So I have depicted Muhammad, not with his sons, but with his daughters.
Looking at his actual life: Muhammad's first wife was 15 years his senior..She was a career woman (owned a lucrative trade/caravan business). Muhammad had sons as well, but none that survived early childhood. He forbade the killing of infant girls, and vocated for the right for women to freely choose their husband and keep their inheritance after marriage. This leads me to believe that he loved his daughters and wanted the very best for them. Contrary to
some Muslim countries keeping women "under the thumb" of Sharia Law.
Regarding the legality of sculpting a likeness to Muhammad:
Here is the Fatwa authored by Sheikh Taha Jaber al-Alwani, an influential Islamic scholar regarding a similar positive depiction of Muhammad in a frieze at the Supreme Court in the US, from 2009.
The Islamic legal opinion written by Mr. al-Alwani concludes:
What I have seen in the Supreme Courtroom deserves nothing but appreciation and gratitude from American Muslims. This is a positive gesture toward Islam made by the architect and other architectural decision-makers of the highest Court in America. God willing, it will help ameliorate some of the unfortunate misinformation that has surrounded Islam and Muslims in this country.
In a culture whose literary heritage is replete with disdainful images of the Prophet Muhammad . . . it is comforting to note that those in the highest Court in the United States were able to surmount these prejudices, and display his image among those of the greatest lawgivers in human history. Isnít that effort a noble gesture that deserves from us, who believe in him as the Prophet and Messenger, every encouragement, esteem, and gratitude instead of disapproval, condemnation, and outrage?