Kulturnatten – Cultural Night in Lund: “Salång PåGång”

Unbelievable as it is, Kulturnatten is here again: Saturday September 20.

Here is what you may experience in my studio: 30-40 works you have not seen before, a special feature, new types of frames, travel and other photographs on various media plus two short debates.

Sålång Pågång continues for about a month – after Kulturnatten by appointment only on 0738 52 52 00 or at janoberg@mac.com.

Black Girl With A Pearl Earring # 6 © Jan Oberg 2014

Black Girl With A Pearl Earring # 6 © Jan Oberg 2014

I’m excited about it! I have had so many things to do in my other “world” – that of war and peace – where sad things like Israel-Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine have taken almost all of my time.

All works at Kulturnatten are new

It feels great, therefore, to now devote myself to processing, creating and printing various images that I have taken both this year and earlier.

I will introduce 30-40 new works – on fine arts papers, canvas and metal. Part of my joy comes from having the freedom to experiment with a diversity of media (PhotoGraphics technique) – as you’ll see.

Black Girl With A Pearl Earring

The feature I have in mind this Kulturnatten revolve, to a certain extent, around my pastiche on Vermeer’s “Girl With A Pearl Earring” from about 1665 that I have written about previously here.

I am happy to tell you that it has made its editorial appearance in the September issue of Sköna Hem, Sweden’s largest interior design magazine.

From Sköna Hem  (Beautiful Homes), September 2014

From Sköna Hem (Beautiful Homes), September 2014, page 104.

I have experimented with how to present Black Girl With A Pearl Earring. However I consider the variation more important than the theme therefore it will be exciting to showcase the different expressions in terms of sizes – from postcards to 61-91 cm (A1) – and media I have on offer – fine arts papers, canvas and metal.

You know, with me you get numbered and signed works taylor-made in sizes and media according to your wishes.

For the first time I will show some of them “live”.


Since last I have experimented with both making my own frames and buying frames at flee markets. I’m curious to see how various forms of presentation can shape a more attractive whole than just putting up prints on the wall. However, no glass in front – never!

Travel photo and pictorialism

There will be works Continue reading

Art Basel 2014 (5) Photography and painting dialogue…


Joel Meyerowitz's photo of Cézanne's studio

Joel Meyerowitz’s photo of Cézanne’s studio

You may have guessed that I am looking for art photography in particular here in Basel? You are right! And I am happy to report that there is so much of it; photography is as accepted as an art form as, say, painting, film, sculpture, prints and multiples. Secondly, there are interesting “dialogues” between photo and painting.

Gerhard Richter – whose exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation outside Basel I shall return to – comes to mind. Many of his paintings appear as photography (until you get closer). But there are also many other examples of how the two art forms speak with each other.

One such example is Joel Meyerowitz and here in Basel he shows a kind of photo narrative at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York. A couple of years ago he visited Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) studio in Aix-en-Provence. He managed to get the permission to take pictures there and was drawn to the grey colours of the studio in which various of Cézanne’s objects and belongings were exhibited.

Next he took pictures of these objects – as if de-coding Cézanne’s paintings and seeing each object in them as a piece of art, a motif for another sort of painting – created with his camera.

Cézanne's studioexhibit  to the left and the single objects in it to the right. By Joel Meyerowitz.

Cézanne’s studio exhibit to the left and the single objects in it to the right. Photographed by Joel Meyerowitz.

I found that interesting, explorative and brilliantly beautiful. Could be done with many other artists – illustrating both time and space in the art and how high quality work may always be seen in its company and add something new. Continue reading

Art Basel 2014 (4) – 14 Rooms

Imagine a large empty factory hall  in the middle of which you have a square room with doors into 14 smaller rooms…

The entrance to 14 rooms

The entrance to 14 rooms

You are of course curious about just what is happening behind these doors and there is a brochure explaining it in details. But still – you have to get in, be there…experience the mysteries that a closed door always evokes (and not the least when there is a guard who let’s you in one-by-one after having been waiting in a queue for some time).

“14 Rooms” has been created by Foundation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel, three very prominent cultural institutions in Basel and it is curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist. It is situated close to the main Art Basel Fair but independent of it and the one-day entrance ticket is CHF 18. 14 Rooms is about performance art.

Here are some examples of what you actually experience:

In Yoko Ono’s room you see nothing. The installation, or whatever you want to call it, is pitch dark and called “Touch Piece” which she created for the first time in 1963 and now here. You walk in a see nothing – also not when your eyes have adapted. In the brochure you are encouraged to touch whoever you bump into there and thereby challenge your sense of intimacy and privacy, as it’s expressed. The touches I experience were very avoiding – a little laughter perhaps, an “Oh, sorry” and no attempt to really touch, rather a confusing about meeting some stranger there in the dark and avoiding a touch.

As I had been in there a couple of minutes and carefully set one foot in front of the other I sensed not another human being but a wall. I followed it around to the entrance point and think that by then I was alone there.

I honestly can’t tell you what I felt or thought. It was merely a little fun, a little tickling and I liked to hear people’s laughter or nervous “Sorry” – remember, we are in Switzerland and everything is uptight even in an experimental setting like this. Perhaps there is something outdated in 2014 about an idea from 1963 and that at that time it was revolutionary and lead to more than avoidance? (No photo possible).

Otobong Nkanga’s “Diaspora” (2014) was more lively: two black women carry a Queen in the Night plant in a pot on their heads and sing, speak to the plant and, sometimes perhaps, to each other and the visitors. Much of the text is about loneliness and feeling to be outside , being picked at. And the floor is painted as a topographical map. (Photo possible – as all other visitors did it against the rules). Continue reading

Art Basel 2014 (3) – SCOPE (B)

This is the second article about SCOPE in Basel, June 2014, the first here. And among the artists I’d like to introduce to you here is Patrick Tschudi who lives and works in Lima, Peru. At first his works may appear flat and cool, all the people have a round black head and colour is applied very sparsely and never mixed. They are C-Prints in limited editions.

At the same time there is something touching about them.

Patrick Tschudi

Patrick Tschudi

It seems that he is occupied with the role of individual human beings in cities and other spaces where there are masses of people, strangers. The black ball heads are not necessarily a sign of de-humanization but, perhaps, more a way of saying that while we are all individuals we are all exactly that: human beings who don’t have to feel alone but may enter into relationships because of what we all share as human beings?

I find the two people on the bench overlooking a harbour with that huge industrial complex and bridge far away quite moving although I don’t see any obvious attempt to appeal to the spectator’s emotions in Tschudi’s work.

You may see many more on his homepage. The various series and categories have titles such as “believers”, “nowhereland” and “signs”. Perhaps I am attracted to these prints because they are so clearly affiliated with photography.

I have no idea how Tschudi goes about creating them but the point of departure could be a photograph which is processed or, rather, re-created in Photoshop. But that’s just speculation.

What is also interesting is the attempt to reduce everything to its pure forms. His images of everyday activities are reduced to shapes, there are no details. There is a kind of haiku quality to  Tschudi’s works also in the sense that they are not supposed to convey any emotions. They are factual and you may put whatever “meaning” into them you like, if any.

Here are two such works from his homepage.

Patrick Tschudi    trippin' away, lambda print under acrylic glass, (diptych) 50cm x 50cm each

Patrick Tschudi
trippin’ away, lambda print under acrylic glass, (diptych) 50cm x 50cm each

Oh, simplicity and sophistication in one! Continue reading

Art Basel 2014 (2) – SCOPE (A)

Compared with the main Art Basel space, SCOPE is a joy. Much less commercial, more diverse, more open space – and you can often meet the artists themselves, not only their gallerists. And there is more humour and no posh attitudes.

SCOPE is artist-driven. It is situated a good long walk up along the Rhine River’s right side well beyond the Johanitter Bridge – and with the Novartis company on the other river bank. Here you can take as many photos as you like and with any type of camera … :-) And – it is a rather  large building but you never get lost, it doesn’t have the labyrinth character of the Art Basel space downtown.

At SCOPE everything is less Continue reading

Art Basel 2014 (1) – It’s the money, stupid

Basel, June 19, 2014

Prelude: You can’t use your camera unless you pay – rip off!

The commercialisation of the art market is rampant. A work that suddenly a very high price at an auction is considered – by people who have little or no knowledge of art, much less love of it – to be great. This type of art is concentrated these very days in Basel at the Art Basel 2014 – the world’s largest fair for contemporary art fair that opened today here in Basel.

Art Basel Mirror

Art Basel Mirror © Jan Oberg 2014

Not that I ever dreamt about being able to buy a piece of art here today, but this absurd commercialisation hit me in a peculiar way before I even got inside.

At the entrance, showing my pre-purchased electronic ticket, the young lady say: But you can’t have that camera – pointing to my Nikon D 7000 around my neck – with you inside. Excuse me, I said, truly suprised – I could last year, what has changed? Since she can’t explain to me why I can take my iPhone with me and take pictures of anything I like at the fair but not an DSLR, she tells me to go to the cloakroom and I’ll get it back when I leave later today. And she has the nerve to add that that won’t cost me anything! Thank you very much.

Before leaving in the late afternoon, I went to the information and asked for an explanation. Continue reading

Art Basel 2014 – will write about it

I’m happy to provide you with this good excuse to rest your eyes for a minute on various kinds of beauty and new insights, small and big, about the world we inhabit together:

My latest works are now on my homepage under “Recent editions” – rather diverse in terms of style and themes.

Browse a bit, see what you like and click the blue top-right button for information about each work (whether you want to buy one or not, that’s where the info is).

Next, the event in the global art world this week is Art Basel. 286 leading galleries from 34 countries present works by more than 4,000 artists, ranging from the great masters of modern art to the latest generation of emerging stars. The show’s individual sectors represent every artistic medium: painting, sculpture, installation, video, multiples, prints, photography and performances.


Art Basel 2013 © Jan Oberg

Art Basel 2013 © Jan Oberg

I’ll be there for as long as it lasts – Thursday to Sunday – and post some notes the next few days on my art photo blog.

The beauty of modern technology is that we can share and tell stories that enrich others at no cost.  Writing these posts about Art Basel helps me process the overwhelming impressions and also share with anyone interested and those who can’t be there themselves.

There will be lots of photos in my posts and of course they will also be on my Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. Hope you will take a look if yu have time!

My very best to you! And welcome to Art Basel…
Oh yes, it’s not only the Fair itself. It’s also Scope, Volta 10 and other places all over town…
Here some useful links