Sunday, February 7, 2021

On Eternities Tablets - Open Art Advisory



OPENART is pleased to present:

On Eternities Tablets: 

Anne Katrine Senstad

A Virtual Solo Exhibition

Curated by Sarah Walko

November 24 - February 28, 2021

VIDEO Link: Curatorial walk through with Sarah Walko HERE

You cannot legislate music to lockstep nor can you legislate the spirit of the music to stop at political boundaries …Or poetry, or art, or anything that is of value or matters in this world, and the next worlds

Joy Harjo   

Joy Harjo, the current poet laureate of the United States, writes a sets of instructions for the soul in her book of poems Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. The spirit of myth and the subconscious in everything, her imagery of immense landscapes that fuse with the vast stretches of our hidden mind and the politics of being human through her own experience as an indigenous woman in the US. They float across lands and time in a way that parallels the visual works presented in this exhibition by Norwegian artist Anne Katrine Senstad. The exhibition brings together three bodies of work based on light, space and perception, and investigate interior and exterior horizons. The title is from a Norwegian poet and writer, Hans Børli whose poems Senstad recently found revisiting and drawing on that also traverse eternity, nature and the human condition during crisis.  

Elements III Blue is Senstad’s immersive light installation built of horizontal and vertical blue lights. A space both enclosed and open where the horizon in the distance is absent. Blue in nature makes us think of the sea and the sky. The experiential installation explores how light redefines a space, affects us from the physiological to the philosophical, how we define our “blue,” and define ourselves in vast placeless space. Senstad explains “I wanted to create a matrix of horizontal and vertical expressions of blue light, evoking fractal topologies. In space, distance is the present—the horizon extending far beyond our frame of reference as blue columns of light ascend to the empyrean. I wanted to interpret the idea of blue as a physical environment out of my own curiosity about the emotional, physiological, and scientific phenomena that constitute our concept of color and as we experience it. But also, one lifelong pursuit and desire in my work is to capture the impossible beauty and sensorial properties of color in the abstract.” 

Elements III Blue Video clip - to see the full 10 minute exhibition video piece with sound by C.C. Hennix, please visit the  Open Art Advisory Vimeo page HERE

Borealis Sculptures are Senstad’s color sculptures carrying notions of ephemerality that pervades all of her work but embedded now in a utilitarian plexiglass object of mass production. The shadows cast shades of blues, greens and whites onto the wall, dissolving planes and creating a sense that each piece is hovering just slightly from the surface. The compositions, form and color are minimalist but as you rotate around them new layers of transparent geometric colors create new forms and new colors. In their color, these sculptures reference the northern hemisphere, atmosphere, layers of ice in glaciers, mountains. “As a northern spherical phenomena the Aurora Borealis operates in electrically charged color compositions recorded in our retinal memory, evoking that of a stratospheric elusivity,” Senstad writes. “In these works, I can examine the relationship between ephemerality and spectral luminous shades within concrete planes. By harnessing it onto the physical surface, I objectify and materialize that which cannot be held and reorganize light and color into the folds of the physical. It plays with the transformation of the ephemeral into an entity and a phoneme shaping of time.” 

Borealis no 010, 2020

Borealis No 020, 2020

Borealis No 030, 2020

Cosmosis Collages no 4A5C Composition 01, 2019

scale: 40 x 65 inches, edition of 6

Photographic C print from color film negative

Cosmosis Collages no 4A5C Composition B1B, 2019

scale: 40 x 65 inches, edition of 6

Photographic C print from color film negative

Cosmosis Collages no 4A530 Composition G1, 2019

scale: 40 x 65 inches, edition of 6

Photographic C print from color film negative

Cosmosis Collages is the third final body of photographic works in this exhibition, developed in dialogue with the birth of Senstad's light sculpture installations Elements in 2018. The photographic works are conceptually and politically inspired by early 20th century movements such as the Suprematists and Constructivists. These aesthetics of utopian and scientific ideals that were deeply engaged in experiments in medicine, technology, philosophy, and psychology while simultaneously engaging in concepts of the cosmic universe. Practitioners sought deep spiritual alignment while experiencing the question what is it to be a being in a physical state and how can we master eternity, life, and mortality. 

The title, Cosmosis refers to the idea of experiencing oneness with the universe as a result of these investigations and experiments. Senstad was influenced by these philosophers who sought to conquer "eternity" and become immortal. Senstad explains: "It's been of a great interest to me to examine what drives human activities towards the desire for eternal life as part of my work on ethics and perception, which I find is much of the psychological central underpinnings of the very existence of society. The illusion of vanity can serve as fuel for a forward driving search for new scientific discoveries, creative inventions and technological developments when it is benevolent, yet when it exists as a negative force, it swings the pendulum to a series of unsupportive manifestations such as loss of moral compass, immense greed, and various forms of societal madness such as cultism. One can say that an understanding of internal freedom and oneness with the universe, as in the psychological and emotional state of cosmosis, in various religious and esoteric philosophies, is a form of true attainment of happiness or satisfaction, and is represented as a state of infinite euphoria, a purity of spirit and ecstatic rapture. In eastern thought, we see that the release from all human suffering, and configurations for the path towards ultimate liberation, is the very idea of wealth itself."

We are living in a time of global pandemic, severe climate change crises deeply affecting our blue oceans and worldwide uncertainty of our future. A question that roams from literal to philosophical in all of Senstad’s work is simply where is there and where will there be solid ground to stand on? It is not a question that demands an answer. Like Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice on uncertainty “Do not now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given to you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now. Perhaps then you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer, one distant day in the future.” 

It is this journey through the universe that Senstad’s work takes us on to ultimately end up delivering us back to ourselves, facing our own horizons, within this massive universe in which we are connected to it all. It is a reminder to not carry the questions, but to live them into infinity.

Cosmosis Collages no 4A577 Composition 12, 2019

scale: 40 x 65 inches, edition of 6

Photographic C print from color film negative

 Cosmosis Collages 427.4A7 video sequence, 2020

Cosmosis Collage 427.4A7 – Composition no 204, 2018

Size: 32 x 44 inches. 

Edition of 6

Photographic C print from color film negative

Cosmosis Collage 6A42.2 – Composition no 1C2, 2018
Size: 32 x 44 inches.
Edition of 6
Photographic C Print from collaged color film negatives

Cosmosis Collage 1010 – Composition no 1B, 2018

Size:50 x 60 inches. 

Edition of 6

Left: Cosmosis Collage 4A531220 – Composition no 20, 2018

Size: 40 x 65 inches. 

Edition of 6

Right: Cosmosis Collage 4A52.1B.220 – Composition no 7B, 2018

40 x 65 inches. 

Edition of 6

For inquires & press information:

For sales inquires:
Christine Lee

Images courtesy of the artist.





Tuesday, January 19, 2021



A new issue of Centerpoint, marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, now available in hard copy, limited edition, and online. 

(Click here to flip through the book digitally)

CENTERPOINT NOW is a World Council for Peoples of the UN publication (WCPUN) that highlights issues on the agenda of the international community, with a view to showcasing the extraordinary diversity of ways in which the UN’s values and objectives can be promoted and implemented.

Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of WCPUN: Shamina de Gonzaga. Senior Editor: Nina Colosi.

To order the book:

Senstad's short film UTOPIE/UTOPIA with acclaimed actor Bill Sage and audio management by JG Thirlwell, is presented in the groundbreaking WCPUN book Centerpoint Now - Are We There Yet? published on the occasion of the UN's 75th anniversary and seeks to raise awareness to critical issues of sustainability, gender equality, global warming and human rights in context of politics, ethics, science and technology through the language of educational, creative and cultural productions.

"Art is the universal communicator of complex ideas" 

Astronaut Nicole Scott. 


Music for Plutocracy - S12 Gallery


S12 Gallery, Bergen, Norway

With a sound environment by JG Thirlwell

January 16 - March 28, 2021

Music for Plutocracy presents Senstad's 5th spatial neon sculpture, color and sound environment with sound composed by JG Thirlwell. This time in the city of Bergen, Norway contextualizing contemporary critical issues during our historic times; social and civil rights, capitalism and inequality, ethics and value systems in the contemporary political, technological and spiritual realms. Music for Plutocracy is part of Senstad's long term research project entitled Capitalism in the Public Realm, that started with Gold Guides Me, a monumental text work commissioned by the Bruges Art and Architecture Triennale in Belgium, 2015, How We Live Together, Yi Gallery, NY, 2020 and 4 short films created during the pandemic in 2020-21 collaboration with acclaimed actor Bill Sage and audio management by JG Thirlwell screened in context with Senstad's solo exhibition How We Live Together and as part of the exhibition Arts New Natures on A presentation of Senstad's short film UTOPIE/UTOPIA is also included in the book CENTERPOINT NOW - Are We There Yet? published by WCPUN (World Council for Peoples of the United Nations) on the occasion of the UN's 75th Anniversary.

Now you can see, my son, how ludicrous and brief are all the goods in Fortune’s ken,

which humankind contend for: you see from this how all the gold there is beneath the moon, or that there ever was, could not relieve one of these weary souls.


Inferno, Canto VII, 4th Circle: Plutus

Dante  Alighieri, (1263 – 1321)




Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy. 


Aristophanes, Plutus (388 B.C.)

With generous support from Fond for Lys og Bilde/Norsk Kulturråd , BKV/NBK and Foundation Center for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant

Music for Plutocracy


Soundscape by JG Thirlwell


S12 Gallery and Workshop – 16th of January to 28th of March 2021


Essay by Erik Meling


The art gallery for which I work is located in a section of the harbor in Bergen, Norway called Bontelabo. Up until 2011, this used to be the fish-packing area. We can only assume that the massive and imposing concrete block of a building was purposely built for the fishing industry. The architecture aspires to be betón brut, but without the hype. The latest additions were built, or rather assembled, in the late 1980s. The current proprietors have ambitious plans for further development for transforming the conglomerate into a refurbished recreational and commercial center. Illustrations and to-scale models show roof gardens, walkways and groups of relaxed, casually chic visitors recreating. Nevertheless, these plans are on hold. As of today, some men with fishing rods on the pier speak among themselves in their mother tongue, foreign to me. 


Some boats and ships have docked, are waiting to lift anchor, and be away… I find myself in a void, between a fish-packing activity long since gone and yet another urban development project on the horizon. I truly enjoy coming to work here. As a contemporary art gallery employee, I have, however, no capacity nor particular interest in the return of fish-packing labor to the neighborhood. Still, I do wish that the art I support through my work will give our audience and guests a greater awareness of the environments upon which this development takes place.


A captivating light reaches me from the winter darkness of Bontelano, the harbor and S12. Attractive neon. Powerful and challenging. Partly sparkling, partly glowing. Being however of an inquisitive disposition, and hopefully not an easy victim to such cotton candy seduction, I choose initially to damper my curiosity. As if the art was an opponent. In such a rationalistic tradition, and inspired by Immanuel Kant, I decidedly establish a disinterest towards the work. I can enjoy and behold its beauty, without the experience of craving, nor a common need for it.


Anne Katrine Senstad’s art invites me, nonetheless, to physically enter.


The body of work that I will literally pass through is the fifth edition in a series that has till now been shown in such places as Shenzhen in China, Jeddah in Saudia Arabia, Tallinn in Estonia and in New York. The art with which I will engage consists of a selection of distinct elements forming a whole. Architecture, electricity, acrylics, neon lights, colors and a soundscape by the composer JG Thirlwell.




Ten slim, transparent columns constitute the installation that occupy the greater part of the gallery space. Thin neon tubes are attached to all columns, further connected through a network of electrical wires and transformers. Horizontally along the walls of the room, two parallel lines of light run past me and delimit me. 


The very idea of ten such columns in a room represents an obstacle to me. They are literally in my way. All their fragility and electronic components could potentially electrocute me. I fear knocking them over. The transparency of the columns invite me furthermore to ignore them. They should accordingly and in themselves not attract my interest, but be precisely as elusive as they pretend to be. Like air. I understand that my experience will not be connected to, or otherwise integrated in, but derive from the object. These pillars are thus conveyers. Although their translucent character suggests an absence, their optical rendering of the room defines their protagonism. They harbor as such an experienced presence. I see them, yet am eluded by the luminosity they generate with their ambiance and fields of color. 

I am, confronted with this work, challenged as to where I am — what I choose and think — and how I feel.

The gallery walls contribute furthermore to dissolving the contours of the room, just as the use of black would have established the same conventional effect of the void, or nothingness in the theatre. Professor Alexander R. Galloway of New Your University defines the concept of a black box as:

 " […] a black box performs a definite function; yet it is not known how the function is performed; one only knows that it is performed, via access to the inputs and outputs of the box."[1]

The architecture that is about to immerse me consists in other words of a variety of directions, based on choice, supported by transparent pillars. This is art, yet very real, and I am familiar with this sensation of such dynamic floorplans from under other colonnades. Before I proceed, I find it therefore relevant to compare Senstad’s architecture to other similarly engaging spaces — with their distinguished features and columns.


In the 9th-10th Century mosque of the Spanish town of Cordoba, later converted into a cathedral, a forest of 865 columns, both of Roman and Moorish origin, form a massive, harmonious, rhythmic grid. Within this structure, seemingly endless corridors, or routes, offers us choice and reflection. Shadows and light guide the way through our contemplative crossroads. 


Although individually crafted, and all different, the columns establish an undisputed unity, and operate as invisible tools to implement angles, directions, and the perceived space between them. 


This is also how Senstad's tailor-made and manually cast pillars opens up paths for me to choose from, between ample options, and charge these in the transmission of light and color with content that I myself have to interpret.


The famous headquarters of SC Johnson's Wax in Wisconsin, USA was designed by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1936-1939. Most praise for this project was given to the building's architectural atrium. Lloyd Wright's many columns are slender, very elegant and supposedly shaped like a water lily. A lily pad has therefore in retrospect also become an architectural concept. The flower and its abstracted, disk-shaped petals point to the ceiling, while the stems point to the floor. From their design and by their distribution, we get an intense feeling of being deep beneath the surface and the light above. The elongated, thin, delicate and clean columns also occupy the entire field of vision. We see nothing else. According to the architect and faculty member of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Sidney Robinson, "Each column is an island, not a cipher in a cage-like array."[2] We understand this by observing how each base of the pillars defines, and almost points towards their own ground-based geography, as if it was a particularly relevant spot.


Thus, the lily pods in Wisconsin seek to draw attention, whilst the columns in Cordoba generate a spatial surrounding focus.


The architecture of Senstad's construction bear a resemblance to Lloyd Wright's vision in its attention towards the pillar. I am made aware of its significance as a supporting part of a totality. In Senstad's composition, this is not about its diameter or sustainability, but its content. The message the pillar articulates through colored light, establishes a transmittance beyond the stationary. 




Norwegian artist Bård Breivik's sculpture project along the central avenue Torgallmenningen in Bergen, Norway is also notable in this context. This commercial, promenade street is considered one of Norway's most important neoclassical projects. The overall design is attributed to the architect Finn Berner's draft and plan from 1923.[3] The façades are clean and smooth. Decorative and classic Greco-Roman-inspired half-columns in granite give the illusion of carrying the upper floors of all the buildings surrounding the rectangular square. This also establishes harmonious, rhythmic sections between the shop window displays and the discreet, but elegant entrances. Parallel to these integrated architectural elements, and separated from the building mass itself by a few meters, we find Breivik's 24 handmade columns in polished stainless steel. Robust as they are, these only carry a few basic and lightweight, industrial-looking beams that under a flat glass ceiling suggest a barely visible arcade. Seen like this, Breivik's project appears more like an artistic display of 24 individually designed sculptures in an established urban environment, rather than architectural components in themselves. In its review of the project as late as the 16th October 2020, the Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet notes that the aesthetics are "soft" and "humane", in an otherwise sympathetic project for the commoners.[4] (As opposed to an elite -  the name, Torgallmenningen, literally means a marketplace for the commoners/at the commons.) 


Nevertheless, Breivik's parallel rows of artistically shaped, cast steel columns, as opposed to a stringent uniformity in the Greco- Roman tradition, stand out as a challenging argument where the artist by his contemporary materiality and abstract monumentality questions the square's architectural affiliation in a bourgeois, neoclassical tradition. His obvious post-modern interpretation of the subject matter establishes at the same time a renewed bond with the purely commercial aspect of the public square by a distinct resemblance to applied architecture in many contemporary shopping malls or arenas.


Anne Katrine Senstad's neon pillars do not stand in such rhetorical opposition to their surroundings. Nor are they islands towards which all attention seeks. And her physical construction is not secondary to the space it creates. 


Still her installation, in all its electronic complexity, constitutes by its own criteria pure classical architecture that in many ways draws inspiration from my chosen examples, or from many other and similar projects. Through her art the passageways, the commons, the crossroads, and the physicality of the column come together as a unified whole.


Her structural and architectural light art reminds me maybe most of all of Mies van der Roe's use of his slim and Greek cross-shaped and chrome-plated steel column in his famous pavilion in Barcelona. To quote The Guardian: 


""It contains only space", dismissed one critic. But that was the point."[5]


In Senstad's installation, an awareness of this dynamic space is established in, and by the tangible quality of color and the neon light.


Moving through the corridors that open up to me in this expanded architecture, from the outer entrances towards the inner core, the light changes character from warm to cold. I find myself surrounded by sensory stimuli in a constantly evolving experience of space. The saturation of color is felt as a neurological impulse, and like a tangible presence in and around.


JG Thirlwell's accompanying music and similarly poignant soundscape offers a spherical dimension, in a composition of underlying white noise sequences, clicks, snaps, rumbles, barely audible harmonics and a bass line. 


The title, Music for Plutocracy, paraphrases Brian Eno's 1978 album Music for Airports. Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusikmight have been preferable, or any muzak really, because Thrilwell’s soundscape reveals and articulates the conditioning of our experience, or in other words what one in the world of theatre and film would call the subtext. It represents a critical reflection in all the seductive aesthetics, which Emma Thompson would only have chosen to suggest behind discreet facial expressions and in well-chosen subtleties. But even though Senstad creates the most poetic ambience in seductive neon suggestions, she does not conceal the structural elements in her art. Thirlwell's music in her installation therefore also works as a Brechtian Verfremdungs-, or distancing effect. We are made to think as we feel and sense.


I register from all of this that by way of my fascination I have at this point in this process shifted from observing the art with polite disinterest towards engaged participation.




We do have a few neon signs in Norway, such as the local newspaper Bergens Tidende's clock on Torgallmenningen and the iconic Freia chocolate factory advertisement on Egertorget in Oslo. Both of these are considered architectural monuments and contemporary historical references. But we do not have neon environments, as we know them from adventurous and exotic places comparable to the legendary Times Square in New York, or The Strip in Las Vegas. 


Within the gallery, noble gas transmits luminous electricity through glass tubes. These containers were invented by the German Heinrich Geissler (1814 - 1879) in the 1850s, precisely in order to investigate how different gases emit light by ionization. Neon, on the other hand, wasn't discovered until the end of the century by the English scientists Morris William Travers and Willam Ramsay. A few years later, the Frenchman George Claude made the gas flow luminously through Kessler's glass tubes. The color was red. Claude patented his invention and founded Claude Neon Lights in 1911. He soon also managed to produce blue light. The first commercial sign was installed outside the Palace-Coiffeur barbershop in Paris in 1912. 


A year later, an even more spectacular spectacle was ignited in the French capital, with letters over a meter high, spelling CINZANO, tempting us to choose this product over others. The Grand Palais was adorned with neon lights. Imagine that! That was modern! How chic! The neon revolution, however, did not manifest itself in full until the legendary car dealer Earl C Anthony at Packard Motorcars in Los Angeles, USA ordered two signs from Claude's company and managed, as the legend will have it, with these to literally stop the traffic. The year was 1923. Yes, people stopped their cars along the road and went out to take a look at the signs, gaping. Not only was it chic. It was cool. It was so cool and chic that a completely new and unique culture of billboards emerged. As an enlightened autocracy in baroque splendour. For this brave new world of brave new light soon came to assume authoritarian traits, governed by sophisticated and glamorous, yet sorely simple, pulsating and dazzling incentives: Buy bling!


The contemporary art scene, nevertheless, quickly appropriated this new phenomenon to its own agenda and for its own research. It is perhaps not so strange that it should be an Italian who caught on to the impulses first. The fascination with the illuminating and seductive qualities of neon gas can easily be read as an extension of a futuristic course, and with the coming Arte Povera movement as a legacy. Lucio Fontana was born in Argentina to Italian parents in 1899 and devoted his entire artistic work to the concepts of space, void, light and cosmos until his death in 1968. He is perhaps best known for slashing canvases and paintings, although through five manifestos he also formulated his theories of Spazialismo, or 'spatialism' in English. In a series of groundbreaking installations, he used fluorescent elements to create the ephemeral experiential spaces, or so called ambiente spaziale, and where neon was used precisely for its capacity to articulate the physical dimension of light. All of these artistic events, or works of art, were dismantled, or even destroyed after the exhibitions were over. In a way we can say that they were disconnected, or unplugged after use, because it is difficult to describe them as anything other than sensory, perceptual or even performative. They only existed in their capacity as experienced art, and not for their material perseverance. They established completely new rooms in empty spaces. In photos from a series of reconstructions in connection with a retrospective exhibition in Milan in 2017-2018, we see how the curators have remounted Fontana's evocative environments using fluorescent tubes in the form of loose bands that twist in curves, vortices and semicircles in a ceiling plate, or which hang loosely along walls and in corridors. This contributes to the light also coiling out and spreading like a condensed spatial spectrum. Like cotton candy. Sugary air.


One of Fontana's central ideas for his rooms was to establish and visualize the neon light as a physical dimension and an actual material presence. His spatial ambience surrounds us in the perimeter of the neon radiance. The colors materialise the light and make it tangible or comprehensible. This is the very core of Fontana's message, and it is Senstad's underlying argument.


But whilst Fontana remains in a sensual and etheric realm, Senstad nonetheless directs me through a concrete geographical experience. She delimits the room and gives me a clear framework for my understanding. Her architecture is, as previously mentioned, classical, as in a Roman city where the streets are laid out in a grid, and where the vernacular is neon.


Facing her dynamic light and glowing colors, she challenges both my cognitive, optical, as well as social and anthropological patterns. I am not solely within an ambience, but also in a state of receptivity. I'm within an experience, experiencing. Whether I stop at red, or sense erotic excitement thereof, is conditioned by codes and messages I have been taught to obey from a world that always have had the supreme command in the land of neon. I can, amongst other things, be encouraged to buy chocolate from Freia, be tempted to read Bergens Tidende, or let myself be persuaded to drink Cinzano. These commercial motives in their environments and through their methods appeal to me, as Senstad does, not only through disinterested well-being which was the point of departure of my approach, but through physical contact. The message touches me.


This is therefore political and social art. Senstad builds a bridge in the room I visit, between the psychological, the sensual, the intellectual, the physical and the alleged. I'm being enlightened.


Light sources

Anne Katrine Senstad is of course, not the only one who has followed up on the inspiration from Fontana. Her work has been shown alongside key North American contemporary artists such as Robert Irwin, known for his very elegant and truly amazing fluorescent installations in large rooms and over massive wall surfaces. Senstad herself has expressed close artistic kinship with Irwin and what she describes as his site-specific phenomenology of perception.

Senstad's work is furthermore inspired by the artist Dan Flavin and his light sculptures. In all his colorful generosity and strength, Flavin's many works were formal and almost minimalist in their composition, a characteristic we can also apply to Senstad's works. Where Irwin's art primarily becomes sensory and perceptual, Flavin's light appears material and specific. It is therefore interesting to observe how Senstad, between these American authorities, seeks to combine both Irwin's sensuality and Flavin's rigour. Her own neon text work from 2008 called Forget Flavin, reflects this duality. In simple, free handwriting, she paraphrases the French sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard's harsh critique from 1977 of his domineering, seductive and exalted philosophy colleague in the essay Oublier Foucault. Forget Foucault. 


Other names and contributors are also relevant to mention. James Turrell is perhaps the artist who follows Fontana most closely in his atmospheric exploration of already established architectural projects. Turrell, together with Irwin and colleague Larry Bell, is also associated with the "Light and Space Movement" in California in the 1960s and 70s. The group's art was often perceived as minimalist and it aspired, as Senstad does, through the use of a geometric design language in combination with light to challenge the spectators' perception and understanding. Several of the group's members also worked with glass and other transparent materials such as resin and acrylic, not unlike Senstad's columns.


Many other and important contemporary artists from the post-world-war-2 generations similarly embraced the manipulative aesthetics of what was initially a purely commercial and promotional agenda. It suffices to mention Andy Warhol, or the pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Both gave relevance to the allegedly banal. The now legendary video artist Nam June Paik, in the same way as Fontana and Senstad, embraced a new medium, and a new technology to explore relevant aesthetic, ethical and political aspects in their own time, and which could not be fully analyzed through other means or media.


The American architects and theorists Robert Venturi and Denis Scott Brown debate in their book Architecture, Signs and Systems (from 2004) how the neon lights and the billboards in iconic places like Times Square in New York, or along The Strip in Las Vegas actually form the essential architecture on the place. Not only physically around us, but also mentally and within us, through its intense, appealing neon colors, its pulsating rhythms and through a continuous repetition of simple promotional messages. This is how we literally take in, and direct ourselves in a world that only exists through colors, light, dually pulsating through glass tubes.


Senstad's art seems to draw out maps of color that guide us through our sensory stimuli, impulses and landscapes. This is art, yet very real. The true importance of Senstad’s geography is to give validity to experience and perception. By recognizing the materiality and tangible presence of such emotional and neurological phenomena as light and color, we acknowledge the construction and coexistence of dual and parallel landscapes in our personal history and social politics. Her art, established in an otherwise empty space between random walls, and through some transparent columns in a gallery in Bergen, enables us to recognize a cohabited reality embracing former fish packers and current art lovers alike. 


Erik Meling


December 2020