Collections and research

Absolute Installation

Marianne Heske

The conceptual artist Marianne Heske is one of the pioneers of video art in Norway. She used its early technologies to create novel impressions of the natural landscape.

© Marianne Heske, Voyage Pittoresque, 1983–1984, videoinstallation

Space, place and time are compressed and made to collide in this installation. Heske takes her title from the illustrated travel books of the late 19th century which provided information to the average citizen about unknown parts of the world; a literal forerunner to today’s media focussed travel industry. The installation has also lent its title to a series of video paintings (inkjet on canvas) Heske made a dozen years later. Both installation and the later paintings reference the established tradition in Norwegian painting that celebrates the grandeur of the natural landscape.

Both initiate an imaginary journey for the viewer / reader. Heske has re-coded and transformed these conventions of embellished, painted and written record of a landscape, with factual video recordings and she mixes them into a multivalent scenario, creating a time capsule for the imagined voyage. Designed to resemble the inside of a tour bus or the office of a travel bureau, its curved, canvas roof recalls a tent or a campsite school room. Wall maps give an impression of location. One is invited to reconnoitre; become a passenger or a scholar; watch a virtual landscape pass by or learn about its beauty and difference. Heske’s videos are a record of her journey from Norway to France in the early 1980’s. She has created an archive of the past for viewing in the present.

Marianne Heske was born in Ålesund in 1946. She lives and works in Oslo.


Gavin Jantjes