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Peter Fulop | Noah Rose | Brian Connolly | Sigbjorn Bratlie | Kathleen O'Leary |


Sigbjørn Bratlie, Artist in Residence 2015/16

Residency Exhibition:

Portfolio of previous work:

Artist Statement: Sigbjørn Bratlie works with video, performance, installation and painting. Bratlie’s art practice has a conceptual and analytical undertone with humour being an important part of it. A key ingredient in his way of working is what he likes to call “the artist as anti-hero” -i.e. the artist who desperately tries to create profound, deep-felt and groundbreaking work, but who usually fails miserably. This strategy accounts for a lot of the humour in his work, a strategy that allows him to see serious matters from an unexpected angle.

Bratlie is influenced by contemporary visual culture: where the production of artworks in the midst of an overwhelming flow of TV, movies, advertising, fashion and cartoons. To him, these phenomena are like an incessant background noise, one that makes it difficult to speak clearly and succinctly and makes it difficult to hear oneself think. The artworks are often “filtered” through one or several layers of cultural references, but are ultimately about the search for a voice, both artistically and personally. As a whole, they form a sort of navigation through contemporary visual culture.

There is also a distinctly hermeneutic approach to contemporary visual culture. It is conceived in order to search for meaning in cultural phenomena; since a teenager, he was interested in foreign languages, etymology and grammar, to the point where today he is understood in simple situations in about a dozen different languages, amongst them Italian, Icelandic, Estonian, Latvian, Finnish, Polish, Greenlandic and Irish.

His art projects over the last few years have dealt directly with communication in a foreign language, in keeping with what he calls “the artist as anti-hero”, he has embarked on performance projects where he spend a year teaching himself a foreign language. Then he will produce a video in which he, in a particular setting, will try to communicate in this language. These videos focus on situations where access to meaning and mutual understanding is made extremely difficult due to lack of vocabulary, misunderstandings, bad grammar or bad pronunciation.

Biography: Sigbjørn Bratlie (born in Oslo, Norway, 1973) trained at University of Central England in Birmingham and St. Martins College of Art and Design in London, and has been working as a practising artist since 2002. His art practice has to a great extent been project-based, and he has worked both individually and with various artistic collaborations in the Nordic and Baltic Countries, as well as in Poland, Germany and England. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions throughout Norway, and in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Gdansk and Berlin.

In 2012, he was one of three selected artists to take part in PolArt; a collaboration between Tromsø Centre for Contemporary Art, the University of Tromsø and the Norwegian Polar Institute, whereby he participated in a two-week scientific cruise in the Arctic Ocean, north of the archipelago of Svalbard, along with oceanographers from various different countries. This experience formed the basis for the ensuing exhibition ‘PolArt’ at Tromsø Centre for Contemporary art in February 2013.

In 2015, he was one of 7 artists to receive a travel grant from the organization UKS in Norway. This grant brought him to Nuuk in Greenland, in order to produce a video.

Since 2011, his work has extended into long-term performance projects based in language and communication. These projects have been facilitated by yearly grants (arbeidsstipend, “work grants”) from BKH in Norway, and have so far taken place in Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Greenland. His art project for Leitrim Sculpture Centre will be based around the Irish language, and preparations for this project have been going on since the autumn of 2015; first through intensive language studies over 5 months, and subsequently through 3 weeks of volunteering at Gaelscoil de hÍde, in Oranmore, Galway, in the spring of 2016.