Tonje birkeland, norway
Contact: On request
"THE OBJECTIVE OF THE CHARACTERS is to encapsulate an entire artistic practice. Since 2008 I have, through The Characters, given women a position within landscape while exploring the authenticity of history. On expeditions, female explorers are staged in Unknown Territory. Materials have been gathered from before, during and after their journeys, yielding stories and installations, with photography in large formats portraying Characters # I – V.
The romantic motives of the male wanderer have been well-documented and well-portrayed in art history. In my project, the characters are female. The heroine moves in pristine territory: in front of her looms grand exploration; beneath her, history is formed. However, despite grand vistas and sublime experiences, expeditions come at a price, both in the past and today.
The Characters demand physical presence as well as sensitivity for storytelling. Each project leads closer to the objective of a gallery of personas of female heroines from the past, who, through narrative, fantasy and photography, can fill a void in our history and reveal contemporary society’s challenges: globalized colonization on the one hand and the loss of the great adventure on the other." - Tonje Birkeland