Marianne Heske "Illuminations", text by Daniela Buchten, 2005

Colours and light vibrate on the wall. Light is frozen within, captured by large sheets of paper, in flowing colours and forms. Some pages are lying in rolls. Others form a book. A book full of light: an illumination.

The Latin word "illuminatio" means illumination, enlightenment - both literal and spiritual. Medieval illuminations were not only beautiful and coloufully decorated, they were also a result and a means of divine enlightenment. In Marianne Heske's installation, waves of light from the universe are caught by the video camera and reflected in forms and elements of nature. Rock and earth are transformed through water, through melted ice. The digital video is processed visually by the artist. Still video frames are transferred to handmade paper, creating a universe of colour in every possible spectrum. Nature has been transmuted into culture, rendered visible in the central, culture-bearing medium, the book, and electronic language.

The installation "Illuminations" addresses fundamental issues in our culture. How is knowledge communicated through books or modern technology? What happens when information is transferred from one medium to another? Marianne Heske uses a type of paper called Daphne Papyracea, which is made in the Himalayas from trees that grow at altitudes up to 2400 metres above sea level. The production process is visible in the rough surface, in the paper fibres. The tree is still present.

Marianne Heske's installation constitutes a complete cosmic universe spanning two continents, with paper from the Himalayas and a video of the Norwegian natural landscape. The two combine to form an entirely new element, a book, a work of art. The artist describes the very essence of the book as a medium, which becomes a personal, visual journey for each new reader. The installation thus reflects not only the interface between nature and culture, but also the vital importance of paper and books in our common history, combined with the luminous tracks of the new media.

Marianne Heske is one of Norway's most widely acclaimed contemporary artists. She has studied in Bergen, Paris, London and Maastricht. She began to experiment with video as far back as the early 1970s in Paris, and soon began to use the new medium for a very unusual purpose, namely landscape "painting". Her heavy video equipment captured light waves in nature. The colours in the video were then pocessed and printed on paper, metal, silk and other materials. Marianne Heske's works focus on the concepts of culture and nature. Her installations, graphic art and "video paintings" have been shown at numerous exhibitions, both in Norway and abroad. She represented Norway at the Venice Biennale in 1986 and at EXPO 2000 in Hannover.

Daniela Buchten
2005