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Mountain view

One artist who delves into more familiar visualisations of the Norwegian landscape is the Iranian-Norwegian artist Azar Alsharif.

Her Mountain View series (2012) is a collection of collages composed of black and white landscape images taken from books, and blue skies cut from magazines.

Alsharif almost always works with collages and she describes the joy she feels in the process of creating them, where both observation and being open to coincidences are important. She says elsewhere that it is interesting to see how landscapes are used as identity markers, despite the fact that the borders between different countries are a human construct and that "nature can be quite similar in completely different places". This is a theme that unfolds in Mountain View.

In her series of images, she shows us recognisable black and white landscapes, featuring tall mountains, deep valleys and waterfalls. Such visual motifs were first presented by the National Romantic painters, followed by the first photographers and then they were mass-produced in books, postcards and brochures. Despite the fact that such images have been interpreted as being ultimately Norwegian, Alsharif dispels this perception. The generalised title allows the images to represent the mountain landscapes and valleys of other countries.

The bluish triangles that are inserted into the familiar motifs block the view in the valley or block the view of the waterfall. This disrupts the viewing experience, thus making the images visually interesting to look at. At the same time Alsharif's triangles, metaphorically speaking, block the almost endless representation of generic, or general, landscapes.

This text has been taken from an essay written for the exhibition catalogue by Christine Hansen, the co-curator of the exhibition.

  • A black and white picture of a fjord. Mounted into it there is a triangle with blue sky. Collage and photography.
    © Azar Alsharif, detail from the picture Mountain View, 2012. Preus museum Collection
Museum24:Portal - 2024.05.06
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