Vibeke Tandberg – Where literature meets art

at Turner Contemporary

Awarded with the prestigious Lorck Schive Art Prize last November, Norwegian artist Vibeke Tandberg is one of the headliners at Turner Contemporary this spring.


“I work within different media, and I get bored quite easily if I work with one and the same thing for a long time”, artist and novelist Vibeke Tandberg tells Norwegian Arts.

Bored is one thing, but that Vibeke Tandberg has proven to be one of Norway’s most diverse artists, is a fact. Born in Oslo in 1967, she is counted as one of Norway’s finest artist, showing her variety of work as a novelist, photographer and conceptual artist. She has exhibited widely since the mid 90’s, both in Norway and internationally. Her work is represented in a number of international collections, including MoMA (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville Paris, to mention some.

November 2017, Tandberg won the prestigious Lorck Schive Art Prize, something the artist herself described as a “wonderful tap on the shoulder”. The aim of the Lorck Schive Art Prize is to generate debate and interest around contemporary art by honouring excellent artists. It is the largest Norwegian prize of the arts, and one of the most prestigious in Europe.


“I was very happy about that. Firstly, it was a recognition of my work by the jury which consisted of very competent people”, says Tandberg. “I think for any artist, the feeling of being recognized for what you do is part of the reason to make art.”

Now Tandberg is back in Kent, England, during Turner Contemporary Gallery‘s Exhibition Journeys with “the Waste Land”. Her 2007 artwork, The Waste Land, will be one of the main attractions in the gallery. The exhibition is exploring resonances between T.S Eliot’s poem The Waste Land – a masterpiece of modernism – and the visual arts. It features artists from the 19th century to the present, including film and photography, printed ephemera and other artefacts.

VIBEKE dette

“First published in 1922, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land marks the starting point of modernism in literary history. The poem deals with disorder and chaos, reflecting European society in the wake of World War 1,”Tandberg tells us.

“In my own work, bearing the same title, I have cut out each of the words that comprise the poem, and then organized them alphabetically and in groups according to how many times they occur.”


Tandberg explains that the cut out words have all been meticulously glued in rows on card by assistants, and finally numbered with pencil, denoting its place and order in the poem.

“I am always super happy when I am able to participate in events that merge literature and art. Being a novelist myself, I see no distinction between writing and making art. “Journeys with “The Waste Land” is an opportunity to show a very particular and dry conceptual work which have had quite small audiences in the past,” she says and continues;

“I also appreciate that Turner Contemporary and the curators have chosen to make a very relevant connection between T.S Eliot and visual art, a fun challenge as The Waste Land is a very visual poem.”


There is little doubt why Vibeke Tandberg’s work rise to the main attractions of exhibitions like Journeys with “The Waste Land”.

The artist’s production has from the beginning at Bergen School of Arts and Crafts (SHKD) reflected issues relating to the subject position. Her early production takes the vantage point of staged and manipulated self-portraits, problematizing notions of the self at social, psychological and political levels. In 2012 she finished her first novel Beijing Duck, and has ever since enjoyed the mix between writing and more physical work of art production.

The next couple of months will be busy for the Norwegian artist. In February, the Exhibition at Turner Contemporary open their doors to the public, until early May this spring. Then Tandberg will release a new novel in the beginning of March and at the same time have a show at OSL Contemporary in Oslo. As If that were not enough, she is also in the process of finishing a dramatic work, a play for theater.

Be sure to visit Turner Contemporary Gallery this spring. Journeys with “the Waste Land” will be open from 3 February til 7 May.


Turner Contemporary, Margate




3 February – 7 May




Free admission.

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