Tom Sandberg is one of Norway’s leading artists. His work is internationally renowned and he has exhibited in Europe and the United States. His first museum exhibition, at the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter in 1977, has had a great influence on the development of artistic photography in Norway. He was awarded the Anders Jahres prize for culture last year; the most significant prize for Norwegian artists, and currently has an exhibition at Lillehammer Kunstmuseum. Art historian Torunn Liven has written the following about the exhibition at Oslo Central Station:
Challenging the format of photography has always been central to Tom Sandberg’s work, as for his exhibition of portraits of composers like John Cage and Krzysztof Penderecki in 1991; to be compared with Mark Rothko’s paintings. At Oslo Central Station he is stretching the boundaries of format and function even further. The theme is photography as symbol rather than as representation, as with Sandberg’s early radical photographs of marks and reflections on tarmac.
Through more than three decades as a photographer, always in black and white, he has worked with light and darkness – what is visible and what the eye barely registers. In finely tuned modulation of atmosphere, what is missing is as important as what is revealed.
There is an inner necessity in Sandberg’s intuitive approach to photography, and only occasionally does he use digital equipment. The technique becomes almost like a part of the body’s movement. Much of his work is created on the move, in transit between before and after. Motifs of non-events take place in these gaps that open up for the audience’s own interpretation.
Sanberg’s work is a form of “recording and reporting” as the painter Francis Bacon described artistic practice. It is about seeing the world, and thereby being part of it. Just like photography captures the moment and then paradoxically turns it into the past, so it reminds us that life is passing by. In pictures´ glowing darkness a metaphysics is revealed that touches upon what can barely be glimpsed.-