Artistic statement

My work has its roots in painting and abstract expressionism. The process is physical and impulsive, with suggestive and unexpected movements. Visually, surface and transparency alternate. Correction and noise add a sense of consistency, equilibrium and time to the texture. An often-saturated palette, high contrast, and lines build dynamics. Vague depictions of people, animals, symbols, landscapes, and text appear spontaneously or as a result of loosely defined composition.

Thematically, I am concerned with absence, mythology, polarization, stigmatizing, sexism and even how the unclear term fundamentalism clashes against aspects of the modern. I am interested in how individuals act from subjective reference points and interact as consumers in our progressively digitized societies. I am also concerned with culturally created echo chambers, now influenced and shaped by big tech and big data. Various media usage across my work, with its ambiguous signals, jest, unrest, or satirical nuances, form narrative attempts as comments on our religious, political, and cultural history.

I currently use artificial intelligence as a process tool in my projects. The works touch on privacy, data storage, digital vs physical, and individual vs collective borders. By process, the works also implicitly comment on cultural and ownership complexities within art and image generation in specific, however, not necessarily reflecting in the visual content and context presented.

For me, AI is primarily a storytelling lens, initiated by textual input and randomness. It is a process between discovery and rediscovery, almost like developing a roll of film in a darkroom. The result, or visual output, is sometimes reprocessed further before post-processing. The final selection is, in this case, based on both the text input and visual AI rendering x amount of times. The refinement is, as such, a multistage process of primary and secondary or generated cloud-processed data that can surface as a physical or digital visual object.

Any digital corrosion occurring in the AI synthesis is preferably preserved post-production. The incompleteness of data-driven objectivity and the current development of algorithms gives the expression a humane perspective. The eventual misinterpretations arising from the AI engine’s materialization through countless combinations and finely tuned distortions become the entry point for the choice of method. I see reflections from the ideas of the Fluxus movement, such as anti-art and process over product necessary.

Last but not least, I often use stickers in my works, for example, on furniture, like mirrors, and other surfaces, like digital prints on foamboards. The stickers represent nostalgic personal space, layers of contradictions, and melancholy. Something concrete and consistent but also abstract and rhythmic. Elements of play, innocence, and rebellion. Relative to the work or context, the stickers symbolize memory fragments, sometimes functioning in isolation, other times collectively, as breadcrumbs to narrate a storyboard.

Ørjan Midtbø