Marianne Bjørnmyr · An Authentic Relation

Oct 5, 2020

Marianne is a Norwegian artist who centres her attention on topics about perception and how it influences history, truth and facts. In her series 'An Authentic Relation', Marianne revisits and depicts the scenes of an old diary found in the island of Ascension, questioning thus the idea of history and how it can be transformed into fiction. By focusing her attention on the rugged island terrain, Marianne creates an atemporal atmosphere that transports us to the time in which the diary was written and lets us imagine and recreate the story of its owner, opening the door then to multiple stories and interpretations.

am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

MB - I live and work in Bodø, Norway. I did my MA at London College of Arts, University of the Arts London, and after eight years in London I moved back to Norway. In Bodø, I run a studio called NOUA in collaboration with my partner Dan Mariner. NOUA is a platform for temporary events as talks, seminars and exhibitions and promote debate and dialogue around photography and contemporary art. NOUA also houses my production facilities as an artist, including darkroom, carpentry workshop, etc. So, on a day to day business I am running my artist practice from there, and at the moment I am working on two solo shows for 2021, as well as being in the early stages of producing a new photobook. For these works I do the entire process in my studio, from staging, shooting, developing, enlarging and mounting the work. At the moment I am also working with small sculptural installations and casts.


am - How did you start in photography?

MB - I pretty much went straight into photography when I started studying, and had not done too much before that actually. I did my BA combined with Photography & Social Anthropology, and then gradually changed my practice to be more research based, before staring my MA.


am - What inspires your work?

MB - I am driven by a fascination with the fact that what we consider to be knowledge, truth and facts change over place and time. I am inspired by the audience's encounter with, and perception of art, and in particular by the audience's perception of documented science and history versus photography's ability to reflect the world around us.

am - What is 'An Authentic Relation' about?

MB - The work 'An Authentic Relation' is based on a diary found on the barren and desolate South-Atlantic island of Ascension in 1726. The diary belonged to the solider Leenert Hasenbosch, who one year earlier was left as a prisoner on the island as a punishment for sodomy. The diary contains detailed descriptions from the first day of his arrival until the last day of his life, six months later. The book was brought to England and has since been published in several versions; the story has through time been fabricated and twisted several times.

The work presents photographs from a trip to Ascension Island, accompanied with the original diary; a constellation of documentation, culminating in an overall feeling of distance and displacement, questioning our idea about history, not as fortified facts, but as possible fiction. Through the work, one navigates between text and images, forming an incomplete experience of the story; the immediate apparent gets obliterated and one receives access to an incomparable world – composed by the connections between photography, text and object but separated by history and time.

The images are being repeated throughout the work in obvious and less obvious ways; existing on their own and in an intertwining web of echoes and references, without being more than a reference to something that once was.


am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?

MB - Though question, there are so many inspiring artists around, and continuously I keep discovering new artists who inspire me. I am a fan of a whole variation of artists from Daniel Shea, Becky Beasley, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Caroline Corbasson, Vija Celmins to Katie Paterson, Alicja Kwade and Claudia Wieser, all for different reasons.


am - What is your favourite photo book?

MB - Again, it is really hard to mention just one book. But, if I have to say one right now, it would be Batia Suter’s ‘Parallel Encyclopedia #2’.


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

All images © Marianne Bjørnmyr


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