Portrett (Sykehustegn)

Bergstad, Terje

29x20,5cm, Haugar Vestfold Art Museum

Terje Bergstad (f.1938) is an important yet little known Norwegian artist who works in an offshoot of Northern European Expressionism. He has himself expressed great admiration for artists such as Munch, Nolde, Carl Fredrik Hill, van Gogh, Kirchner, Jens Søndergaard and Georges Rouault.

Bergstad has periodically been afflicted with illness, which has prevented him from working for long periods of time, yet he has managed to create a relatively large production of works. For Bergstad the path between life and art is short; his own experiences and often agonizing episodes are processed and given expression through his art. He empathises with the tragedies and sufferings of other others and identifies with society’s disenfranchised. In many of his pictures he treats the themes of violence, torture, injustice and oppression, and among his greatest preoccupations are the atrocities that occurred in Nazi concentrations camps and the rasist apartheid regime in South Africa.

Portrait (Hospital Sign)is part of a series of drawings in which Bergstad has depicted patients and ordinary people he has met on his journeys in and out of institutions and hospitals. Although the format is modest and the artistic means extremely economical, these unusually sensitive and poetic drawings are exceptionally expressive.