Christen Sveaas Art Foundation This is the Night Mail, Selected by Ida Ekblad
Notes from the website : - In Zotero
This is the Night Mail is the first line of W.H. Auden’s 1936 poem describing a train journey across a sleeping Britain as it carries the nation’s mail. It accompanied a film commissioned by the Post Office with a soundtrack by composer Benjamin Britten. The poem has inspired Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad in her selection of works from the collection of Christen Sveaas.
Ekblad is renowned for her polychromatic paintings that can expand into environments. Coming from the land of the longest and the shortest nights, she shares with artists featured here a fascination with the nocturne.
Ekblad explores how moonlit interiors and landscapes frame dreams, dramas and transgressions. She includes 19th and 20th century masterpieces by Norwegian artists, such as the planetary compositions of Anna-Eva Bergman, disturbing fables by Theodor Kittelsen, psychologically-charged nightscapes by Edvard Munch and dreamy nocturnes by Harald Sohlberg. Imagining the display as three train compartments, Ekblad also shows contemporary night scenes by artists such as Sophie Calle, Martin Kippenberger, Ed Ruscha and Rosemarie Trockel.
The Oslo-based collection has been built up over forty years with a focus on painting by Norwegian and international artists alongside antique silver and glass objects. Also included in the display: Nikolai Astrup, Lynda Benglis, Andreas Bloch, Louise Bourgeois, Giorgio de Chirico, Johan Christian Dahl, Garde Eide Einarsson, Arne Ekeland, Theaster Gates, Isa Genzken, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Thorvald Hellesen, Howard Hodgkin, Rebecca Horn, Ludvig Karsten, Edvarda Klaudine Lie, Christian Krohg, Per Krohg, IIya Kabakov, Albert Oehlen, Paulina Olowska, Steven Parrino, Sigmar Polke, Christian Schad, Adolph Tidemand, Francesca Woodman.
The podcast here now : Jane Scarth introducing eeriness of night scenes - Mary Ann Stevens in conversation with Evona Blaswick around the exhibition
The WH Auden poem -
Whitechapel gallery does not have a collection.
Artist as curator
Ika Eckblad - all pieces in topic of the night. Insomnia, transgression, astrologically.
MAS - so little known, the question mark that hangs over as to why not?
Capable of experessing the wide concerns that nordic countries have - national Identity, individual countries finding own voices.
Deep connection to the landscape adn also cultural.
Johann Christian Dahl - Waterfall and Dresen in the moonlight 1823.
Adolph Tidemand - night fishing. collaborated with the norwegian artist gooda - The bridal procession - Tiddeman ( figures in boat) landscape Gooda)
Norwegian folktales - Peter Chr. Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe Norwegian Folk Tales Norske folkeeventyr 1841- TRIGGERED THE FOLKLORE AS A SUBJECT MATTER,
Through memory, landscape and fewer with mysticism, several of the artists were captivated by the emotional sentiment that twilight in the northern summer light imbues in the landscape so looks poetic, therefore existential. Edvard Munch - show both as landscape but to capture human figure - Autumn rain 1892 - Impressionism/ expressionism and connects human condition with ability to capture using light and states of being.
What effect does light have on the urban world ?
Narrative into Myth, it reminds that tales are told in the dark round the fire at night. Synchronicity.
https://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/collection/object/ "This painting is Harald Sohlberg’s most significant work, and although it was executed rather late in relation to the golden age of symbolism, it perhaps represents the pinnacle of symbolist landscapes in Norway. It was first shown at the 1914 Jubilee Exhibition commemorating the centennial of the Norwegian Constitution. The following year it was purchased by J.B. Stang, who donated it to the National Gallery in 1918."
Harald Sohlberg - further research
Harold Sohlberg : Painting `Norway ( Z)
This one is the one most known from a series of paintings ; entitled
"A vivid expression of the sublime – although, perhaps equally a precursor of the uncanny shivers of the surreal – Winter Night in the Mountains (1911) (top photo) is arguably the most ambitious work of Norwegian artist Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935), and one of the best-known and most popular works in the National Museum’s collection in Oslo. It remained his obsession for 14 years, and he produced many versions in his attempts to capture exactly what he wanted."
quote form the piece above:
“Denying the influence of other artists on his work, and attributing the origins of his ‘artistic awakening’ to his own psyche, his oeuvre unites elements of Romanticism, Naturalism and Symbolism, always drawing on the Nordic landscape and its vast potential to depict both the earthly and the infinite.”
“Like Munch, he worked with a simplified palette – frequently white, black, blue, red or green – which helped capture something of the specific Nordic light, atmosphere, and mood. He also insisted that each painting must have one ‘dominant’ colour, which he would exaggerate with emotive effect.”
"Sohlberg broke with linear perspective and composed his canvases according to strict geometric order. This maintained a certain sense of serenity throughout. The function of line in painting, he said, was to express feelings. He built up space in separate spheres, and his favoured compositional form habitually leads the viewer from a precisely defined foreground to an indefinable and infinite background – as per Winter Night in the Mountains."
The artist plays with landscape in a way that evokes the night, both peaceful and pristine. the way the artist created the series of works as a study over 14 years show an understanding for observation and formed knowledge of Rondane. It is evocative, for me it creates a sense of magic, mysticism, that fuels my heart to give a quiet anticipation that reminds me of the Christmas eves as children, it also gives me the same feeling of when I walk or live in the mountains, the darkness descending, the white of the hills in the distance reflected by the moon. The colours used in the painting above reflect the light to show the perceived relief of the space, the first images created via sketch on the train journey back after his first visit tot he area.
The image below is the monochrome version of the same piece. I find this interesting as it shows the way in which the artist shaded, managed the light.
What I find interesting is the trees in the foreground, leading the eye to the peaks. As stated earlier
Sohlberg does not apply linear but looks to geometric measurements.
LASTLY : WH AUDEN and Bejamin Britten collaborated with the GPO Film Unit piece - THE NIGHT MAIL 1936
This si a great 20 minute doc that captures the process of the night mail train from Euston to Glasgow and beyond. The music and words from WH Auden feature along with the film as it crosses the borders to Scotland, the words dance with the music and the train.