Konstmuseet i Norr has talked to Espen Tversland, whose exhibition Hope Springs Eternal can be experienced at the art museum 5.3–22.5 2022.
Espen Tversland (b. 1970) lives and works in Brønnøysund, Norway. Tversland studied animation and video art under Kjell Bjørgeengen and Dagmar Demming at the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo from 1998–2002. Tversland’s video works have been exhibited around the world at various art, film and technology festivals. This is the artist's first exhibition in Sweden.
You live and work in northern Norway, what role does nature play in your art?
Living in the north, including the southern gateway to the north, means that nature is always nearby, by the sea, in the forest or in the mountains. Going on a multi-day trip on foot changes the presence, perception of time and perspective on what is important in life. But since nature is a part of everyday life, at the same time all interventions and infringements in nature become extra visible and painful.
You are interested in the intersection between untouched nature and human influence. What do you find there that inspires you?
My motivation is to create art for the near future. Man as an ongoing evolutionary experiment that is inevitable. Every single individual, animal, fungus, plant and other undefined living tissue is nature's latest attempt at "life" – I do not know myself what nature wants. Homo sapiens appeared in an ecosystem that is much older than humans and as a species we are dependent on other ecosystems, such as microbiological bacteria. Without them, we would be dead in a few days.
I am aware that over time human nature has created cultures and concepts that affect, oppress and destroy other people, other living beings and ecosystems. As a species, we have created global and local climate problems, mass extinction of species and point of no return changes in nature and the environment.
The intersection between untouched nature and man is a point where we can research and visualise changes in concept and philosophy about how man should function and live in a thin biosphere on a small blue sphere in a giant universe. A place where humans can begin to change their perception of what place and what role we have in the ecosystem.
What question do you often return to in your artistic practice?
How do you create art with the necessary emotions, questions, understanding and poetry so that you can express something about the human condition?
Your internship is process-driven. What does that mean?
The fact that my artistic practice is process-driven means that I often go in circles in my work. Over time, the circle changes size, direction, structure and colour. For each change, I learn something new or find other connections. These changes can in turn lead to new circles, i.e. other works of art, art expressions or other perspectives on the same idea. It is this exploratory form of creativity that is important to me, not the goal.
What attracts you to video art?
I work not only with video art but the expression and technology brings with it many opportunities that are interesting to me. The ability to create external rules such as gravity, time and physical objects is enticing and necessary. Right now I am looking for objects and shapes from the world in Hope Springs Eternal with the aim of creating physical sculptures.
Is Hope Springs Eternal basically a hopeful or a pessimistic work?
Hope Springs Eternal is created in a pessimistic state of mind for humanity and its actions. But the work of art exists and can be experienced by other people. People who actively seek out the unknown and other perspectives, who want to train their own imagination, something I think this work and other art can contribute to. A fearless imagination is one of the most powerful "weapons" for change in the future.
Read more about the exhibition Hope Springs Eternal here.