The year started out with my continuous updating of old and new photos. Going through some 60 000 images takes a bit of time. There are the following categories – a) old raw images to be thrown away as hopeless cases, b) old images that may be turned into real works, c) old works that can be improved technically but not changed and, finally, d) works that can be reworked in terms of content and be re-created.
The c) category has to do with the fact that Photoshop is constantly developing and you can do things now to an image that you could only dream of a few years ago. So the same work can be reproduced on the homepage and reprinted on paper or other medium with a much better result. It goes without saying that I want even my older works to be as good technically as they can be.
In the beginning of the year I produced images related to the US – Trump, Black Power Matters, the events on Capitol Hill and of Lady Gaga.
For the SPAR exhibition in Shanghai, Yi Shing Lai – “Xing” – and I agreed that it would be good to add something new and make the whole thing larger and more China-focused. Thus, the SPAR exhibition will encompass these elements:
- The Installation as it was shown in Venice. See it here.
- Prints of all the photos/collages sitting in the installation, on show and also available for sale. See them here.
- A series of my 1983 China photos, also on show and for sale. See them here.
- Ten new works in which I combine photography and painting, like in the installation itself – called Combines. See them here.
This exhibition proposal had been accepted by a large new modern art museum in Shanghai, in the new industrial zone (where Tesla has just opened its factory), about one hour south of the city centre. The museum is the Lingang International Art Center (LIAC) and you can read more about it here.
The plan had been to exhibit SPAR at various places on its way to Shanghai. However, the Coronavirus shattered all plans. The show in Tehran had to be cancelled and, instead, I decided to first get it over to and around China and then having it shown at various places along the Belt And Road Initiative, BRI, on its way back to Europe in, say, 2022 or 2023.
Apart from the problems of COVID, another was added: the Trump administration’s – foolish – decision to initiate a demonisation campaign directed at China with the aim to foment some kind of future Cold War.
On June 8, photographs of all four elements above was delivered by my friend Xing to LIAC which would then hand them over to the Shanghai censorship authorities. I assume that they will take longer to process them, not only because of COVID but because of Trump’s policies.
I could do nothing but be patient. And since the pandemic changes important features of the art/gallery world, I decided to spend the waiting time productively and add new portfolios to the homepage to make visits richer, more diverse and rewarding.
And I embarked on a new venture – painting some small paintings.
After 11 years, I thought it was time to begin to bring some order in my photo and set up a registration system – that is, after having selected what I believe can stand the test of time and disposed of all those which can’t. Many prints were thrown out, probably a thousand of digital files deleted. But that sort of thing takes a long time so I wasn’t ready by the end of the year.
Thus, to my art home I added the Combines Portfolio in May-June, updated the China 1983 Portfolio in June, added the new Portraits Portfolio in June, added the new Venezia Portfolio in July-August, re-organised parts of the homepage to improve navigability; then added the new Uniques Portfolio in August and the Paintings Portfolio in early September.
Since I did not know whether or when I was to jump on a plane to Shanghai (with two weeks in quarantine upon arrival), I decided to not participate this year in the annual Lund events – the Evening of Culture in September and the Art Night – both of which would be mainly online this year. (My own art space would also make it problematic to keep the physical distance of 2 meters for real visitors).
What happened was that my Chinese liaison, after having received all the photos for the exhibition, went silent on all channels through which I had communicated with him. I have not heard from him since then and I can only hope that nothing bad has happened to this very kind and reliable young Chinese.
And, so, I recognise that I must find other ways to get my SPAR Installation and related works to China. I therefore contacted Eric Messerschmidt, director of the Danish Cultural Center in Beijing who has followed my work with interest but nothing can be achieved this year.
In November, a lot of work on my art home to adapt it to online visits with sliders and exhibition views. Also re-arranged the menus – so a richer but simpler experience and much better adapted to a global audience that cannot come visiting physically – as can local also not at the moment. It is now all on the front page welcoming the visitor. One must adapt not only to the corona times but also to the fact that my aim is to reach a global audience and not only a local one who can come visiting in person.
The “PostArt” Newsletter was sent out on March 22 and 30, April 11, July 4, August 10, October 5, October 18 and 25, November 3 and 29, December 6 and 13 – and it was also given a new design.
All in all, a year of waiting. Waiting for China and waiting for the corona. But, I think, productive waiting.
A year devoted entirely to the SPAR Installation that I exhibited in Venice at the European Cultural Center’s wonderful Palazzo Mora as part of this year’s Biennale. It started in May and ended at the end of November. 300 000+ visitors to that palazzo alone!
I worked – I can safely say, intensely – on the four large panels, had them shipped by truck in two large cradles and participated in setting it up. I was ready two days before the opening.
It was so important for me to be present in front of my installation and talk with people from all over the world, explain the installation, talk about their perceptions of art as well as the global situation. (I was surprised to see only a few other exhibiting artists do the same, most left after the opening).
As usual, I went to the Basel Art Fair – as I always do – this year.
I’ve gathered a series of observation of those talks in an article in October this year, The Venice Future Dialogues. Apart from its content – what it reports – it is also, implicitly, a documentation of the fact that the SPAR Installation does function as a dropback, or inspiration, for talks about the world, about war and peace, the West and the East and the global change. That has made me very happy.
While in Venice 3 time, I managed to also see dozens of exhibitions in addition to the main Biennale at Giardini and Arsenale. And took a series of photo, some of which you can see in the Venice Portfolio.
At one of the last days in Venice, a young Chinese man studying and also running an art-related company out of London came up to me and suggested enthusiastically that SPAR be shown in China. His name is Yi Shing Lai – “Xing” – and he suggested to start out a SPAR Tour in Shanghai. More about it and what then happened in the SPAR Diary & Notebook.
The installation was taken down by myself and the wonderful assistants at the European Cultural Center, ECC, and I stored it in Venice since it was supposed to travel from there to Tehran on its way to China.
Participated in the Art Night Lund 2019 with the exhibition, “Impressions from the Venice-Biennale in Lund: Silk Peace Art Road” – which attracted some 50 visitors.
The “PostArt Newsletter” was sent out on February 2, May 9, 19 and 26, August 14, October 22 and 27, November 9 and 25, December 8 and 12.
This year has been by far the most important, challenging and rewarding since I started out my art photography in 2009.
Much of what I did upon my return to Sweden and beyond New Year is reported in my SPAR Diary & Notebook, simply because I did little else but to plan and create that installation and get it ready on time. I began the creation in December and worked until mid-March.
From October 1 to November 11, I travel around in China on my own. No detailed plan, being spontaneous. My 1983 Kodachrome slides from China have been scanned by a friend and is uploaded as a new portfolio before I go – and added to on the way as I get the time.
On September 1 launched this homepage. Six portfolios which will be updated now and then and new portfolios to come as I find the time. Felt strongly I needed to have this – to me dream – presentation ready before starting out for real on the new SPAR project: going to China in October and exhibiting in Venice in May-November next year.
With the invitation to exhibit something in the context of the Biennale – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am extremely grateful for – arises the question: What should that something be? It has taken me most of the winter and spring to conceptualize what in the end became SPAR. Then comes setting up a network, planning the project, finding the funds – and underway consult with lots and lots of people. And I am still spending most of my time as peace researcher, writer, media commentator and director of TFF.
Thus I have had no new exhibition in my studio this year.
I’ve spent quite some time in learning the potentials of Instagram, the place one must be if somehow part of the art world. There is so much more than meets the eye. I will use it also to report the SPAR project process.
As usual in Basel in June – ploughing through Basel Art and Unlimited in the Messehalle all the others art spaces too, Unlimited, Photo Basel, Liste, Scope – the latter a disappointment and Liste also less interesting than before.
Went to Beirut in May and explored the art world there. Quite fascinating but did not succeed in shooting anything really interesting – perhaps because the real purpose going there was to get into Syria again and I did not manage, long story not to be told.
Worked during the winter and spring with a new homepage. But the further I got with, the more I was unhappy with the format and presentation. Lots of hours lost. Also, thanks also to all the improvements in technologies, Photoshop in particular, I felt I had to revise, or reprocess and improve virtually all pictures I want to have in my online gallery (homepage). And I wanted a site format where there is also text, blog and background, not only some images. So, left this first trial as an error and ended up with the site you are now on.
This year the “PostArt” Newsletter – name changed from “shoot” – was sent out on February 2, March 29, September 30, October 26, December 9 and 15.
You’ll find this year’s activities reflected on my Blog here – just scroll down the front page.
More shoot Newsletters were sent out, # 64 in November which summarized the year a bit. I decided to have fewer – or none – of these somewhat longer letters and switch to a new shorter format, PostArts at some point in 2018. PostArts will go straight to subscribers but are not reproduced on my blog. I’ve got to economize very much with time in the new year where I must prepare my participation in Venice.
In November I visited the GAA – Global Arts Affair – Foundation and European Cultural Center in Venice. In 2016, I had been invited – out of the blue! – to participate there at their exhibition in the context of the Venice Biennale entitled “Personal Structures – open Borders.” What an opportunity! So I decided to visit them when I was anyhow visiting Venice for the 2017 Biennale. Here’s how that story started.
Oberg PhotoGraphics started a once-a-month Cultural Salon in the studio space with some 10-12 friends who had suggested that it would be fun to meet not only during exhibitions, or vernissages, but also to sit down together, have each participant share some cultural experience, discuss and enjoy a something light to eat and drink in between. Very unpretentious…
Again lots of small texts and video from what I experienced in Venice.
On September 16, the “Three In One” exhibition opened in my studio. It was the Night of Culture in Lund and you’ll find all about it here.
When you do you’ll see highligt from my visit to the Basel Art Fair – lots of small texts and videos from that and all the other art spaces in Basel. I love working with short videos because they are great for sharing – conveying so much more information than a text. Love modern technology when it makes it easy and fast to share and enjoy together!
In May a project full of positive energy was completed. A French student, Héloïse Dumont, being an exchange student in Lund did a blog and video about my work. I’m very grateful to her for all her devotion and energy and producing such a fine result. More about it and link to the video here.
2017 was also about Syria and all the photo stories I published from Aleppo on Exposure. While the Western mainstream press chose not to publish a single of them, they were seen during the year by more than 150 000 people from around the world.
On December 30, the second photo story on Exposure, this one with photos and texts about humans liberated in Aleppo and how they show express happiness but also pain and sorrow.
On December 26, I publish the first of a series of photo stories from Syria at my platform at Exposure. This depicts the utterly meaningless destruction of Eastern Aleppo, the old town in particular.
Newsletter shoot # 59 goes out on December 19. It’s sent from Damascus.
In December I go on a conflict fact-finding and peace mission to Damascus and Aleppo. I hapen to be in Aleppo from the 10th to the 14th when, on the 12th, the Eastern part of the city is liberated from the occupying terrorists’ and others occupation since 4,5 years back. Celebrations all over – in spite of what the Western mainstream press would report.
This trip – the destruction but also the hope I witnessed made a profound impression on me and sparked off a series of photographic activities during 2017 and beyond.
Newsletter shoot # 58 goes out on November 25.
Newsletter shoot # 57 goes out November 6.
Newsletter shoot # 56 goes out on October 12.
Salång PåGång – Salon GoingsOn – opens at Cultural Night, September 17, 2016 – with 30+ brand new images from Iran, Montenegro, Victoria & Albert Museum in London and a few experimental photo paintings done with digital brushes.
In August visit Iran and travel around a lot with my wife and our Iranian friend Saeed Alaeie – Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, up to Nowshahr at the Caspian coast and around there and then to Arak. Fabulous trip – lots of new photos harvested! And met so many lovely people.
In June visit the Basel Art Fair, Liste, Scope, Photo Basel, Beyeler Foundation. Lots of inspiration and photography! shoot # 52 summarises this summer’s photo explorations quite well.
Visit Photo London, the Photographers’ Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate and Tate Modern, OXO Fix Photo and more in May too. Lots of inspiration! Positive notes – as I call them – on Photo London here and some spontaneous out-of-focus shots here. And in this newsletter you’ll find links to more positive notes – London being the world capital of photography at least this May! I even wrote about Tracy Emin’s highly boring bed…
Do some hiking in Montenegro in May – a tiny country formerly belonging to Yugoslavia – with majestic mountains and lakes and a lovely picturesque coast too. It leads to a series of “blurred” images à la Gerhard Richter that are exhibited for the first time at the Cultural Night in September. See homepage here.
At the Easter Art Round – Konstrundan – I opened the exhibition “Abstract Real” on March 25. The local daily, Skånska Dagbladet, makes a fine interview about these new works under the title – “he digs deeper into the pixel world”. Video of that exhibit here.
Having always been attracted to abstract art, I’ve long played with the idea of exploring abstract photography. It’s an idea that has grown over time. In March I published some thoughts on abstract photography.
On February 8, my dear friend since 1983 and my mentor since 2009, Danish grand old man of photography, Viggo Rivad, dies at the age of 93. During 2014 and 2015 I have visited him and been allowed to shoot several hours of iPhone video with him – sequences where he talks about his works, one-by-one and about his life. I’m proud to have made his official homepage and here is my obituary for this great, humble man who taught me so much.
Newsletter “shoot” # 37 is sent out to ever more people around the world right before Christmas. A very good tool to reach various groups with. After being sent out they are also posted on the blog. Subscribe!
In November 2015 spend a good week at the Biennale in Venice – for that fascinating global art event and for exploring Venice with my camera. Write about it – as usual with a lot of my own shots included – here and about Iran’s most interesting pavillion here.
On October 17, Art Evening in Lund, open the entirely new Pictures At An Exhibition – a show focusing on people watching art. Images from iran, Art Basel and The Biennale. Video of it here.
Post some thoughts on Pictures At An Exhibition – the project I’ve been working on for some time.
On October 25, shows some of my art-oriented photos and talk about them and peace at the Franz Gertsch Museum in Switzerland, on International Artists’ Day.
On the Cultural Night, September 19, I open a new space with some 30 square metres. In the middle of the room there are open-spaced shelves with 1200 books related to peace, books I have selected while donating 4800 others books to a new peace academy in Norway. The exhibition, as usual is “Salång PåGång – Salon GoingsOn” (video) and two lectures, this year on Can you take pictures of peace? and Kick cultural life in Lund!
Opens the new art-oriented section on homepage, Art Portfolio, for connoisseurs and collectors. Other revisions of the homepage. Some old out, some new in. Things do not live forever…
Inspired by visits to many exhibitions and art fairs, begin to explore what people do when they visit them. I post a few examples to Pinterest.
In July write about Art Basel 2015 as well as SCOPE and Liste and other art events in that fascinating art hub.
In May launch “GlobalArt – Magazine” for art photography and other art from Oberg PhotoGraphics. A new exciting online “flipping” magazine that you can easily upload interesting articles to. I do this as a service to anyone interested in photography and other art and not only in my works. An “all at one place at your fingertips” service – which also encourages myself to follow, read, update and select…
Parallel with the Easter Art Round (Konstrundan) of which I am not a member, I open a new thematic exhibition “People of Islam” with images from Somaliland, Marrakech, Iraq and Iran. A short video of it here.
Go to Marrakech, Morocco to visit this amazing town and take pictures. Marrakech plans to become a world centre of photography and education for photography in years to come. A selection of photos here.
In December writing up my art photo concept and its elements.
The new regular e-mailed newsletter from Oberg PhotoGraphics begin in November, first under the name PhotoArtually, then as “shoot”. After some issues, they are regularly posted also on the blog.
Article with concrete proposals to improve the cultural life in Lund, with Henrik Hedlund in the local daily, Sydsvenska Dagbladet.
Art Evening in Lund on October 18 – New works and 2 mini-lectures:
Black Girl With A Pearl Earring featured in the interior design magazine Sköna Hem, September 2014, p. 104.
“Salång PåGång – Salon GoingsOn” on September 20 for the Cultural Night in Lund. 30+ new works on the walls and two mini-lectures.
Five articles about Art Basel, the first here. June 2014.
In March I publish the pastiche on Vermeer’s “Girl With A Pearl Earring”.
Visit to Somaliland at the Horn of Africa in April. A selection of the pictures can be seen here.
Konstkvällen i Lund – The Lund Art Evening on the third Saturday, October 19. Mixed works and media on the walls plus public debate: “Lund – Hightech oas eller kulturell öken?” based on the blog just launched.
I begin to do short videos and post them on Vimeo: a little on what can be seen in my studio – reaching those far away who can’t visit – and about how I work. The first “A Peep Into My Studio”.
Salong PåGång – Salong Goings On – at Cultural Night in Lund, mixed old and new. Article in Skånska Dagbladet “Han har fredligt folk i fokus” on October 20.
Launch of the blog “KulturLiv Lund” – Cultural Life Lund – open to the public with the aim of stimulating constructive debate and producing concrete proposals for an improved cultural life in Lund city.
Visit to the Basel Art Fair in Basel and other art spaces there. Four articles about it on my blog, beginning here.
Launch of totally revised photo homepage at PhotoShelter with new .biz domain and online shop as well as intensified work on both social media and my new blog. To promote one’s work as an independent artist – without assistant or gallery – takes almost as much time as the creation of the works. In periods like this, even more…
Trip to Berlin for art and photography,a couple of new works.
March 23, 2013
Launch of my homepage for and with Viggo Rivad, my Danish photo mentor and dear friend since 1983. Short article here and the homepage itself, produced in co-operation with him, here. A small token of my immense gratitude.
January 24, 2013
Set up the Facebook group “Lunds konst och kultur – Konstruktiva förslag och dialog” –
Lund’s art and culture – Constructive proposals and dialogue”.
January 17, 2013
Published article “Ta vara på de öde ytorna – Make good use of the empty spaces” – About how to introduce art and NGO activities in the newly renovated covered market place in Lund where four large areas stand empty month after month – Sydsvenska Daily (no link).
“Kultursatsning gynnar näringslivet – Investing in culture is good for business”
Conversation about the lack of cultural dynamism in Lund and what can be done. With Björn Anders Larsson – In “iLund – Näringsliv & Människor” (no link).
First trip to Iran, getting very inspired. Went there for peace-related purposes but discovered a treasure of photography opportunities.
October 21, 2012
“Konsten fick liv i Lundamörket – Art came to life in the Lund darkness” – Report from a panel discussion at Jäger & Jansson Gallery about art and culture in Lund – Sydsvenska Daily.
October 20, 2012
Oberg PhotoGraphics participate in the “Art Evening” on October 20, 2012 with the exhibition “Convertibles” containing works by Anders Jönsson and Jan Oberg.
September 15, 2012
Oberg PhotoGraphics participates in the Lund Cultural Night with the exhibition “The Hope of Africa” at Willys Ram Gallery in Lund (the exhibition opened at the 8th and I went to Burundi on the 9th, so I was not present at Cultural Night there. Allegedly there was a lot of visitors.
September 14, 2012
“Välj spår i Kulturnatten – Make your choice at Culture Night” – Mention of my exhibition of photos from Burundi – Sydsvenska Daily.
“Cultural Night in Lund” (Kulturnatten).
August 7, 2012
“Lund får inte bli en high-tech oas och en kulturell öken”
On the huge high tech projects ESS and Max IV in Lund that will make the town grow 40% but where, it seems, the municipality has forgotten every cultural dimension of the expansion.
July 23, 2012
“Phoetry – Poetic PhotoGraphy of Lund”
Online photo art book published at blurb.com – a personal celebration of my 40 years in Lund: 75 art photographs of various aspects of Lund such as people, shops, places, nature, museums, industries, etc.
July 21, 2012
“Så ser Jan Öberg på Lund” – about the Phoetry book about Lund” – Skånska Daily (no link).
July 10, 2012
“Skånes och Lunds pärlor – The Gems of Skåne and Lund” – Sydsvenska Daily.
July 3, 2012
“En kärleksförklaring till Lund – A declaration of love to Lund” – Lokaltidningen – The Local.
March 24, 2012
After 3 months of work, this blog and the new homepage, Oberg PhotoGraphics.biz, are launched and shared through e-mails and a series of social media that are now part of an international marketing strategy.
August 3, 2011
I start my first photo blog at posterous.com. However, posterous is closed down in April 2013 and I launch this photo blog at WordPress.com on March 23, 2013.
July 15, 2011
“Fotoutställning om freden efter kriget” – about the exhibition “Between War and Peace”
July 14, 2011
“Det finns alltid en ny bild att ta” – There is always a new picture to take
About photographer Sören Sommelius and the exhibition “Between War and Peace” at the studio – Helsingborgs Daily.
January 13, 2011
“Fredsforskare vill ge en bild av freden – Peace researcher offers us an image of peace”
Sydsvenskan Daily on the occasion of my 60th birthday.
December 23, 2010
BBC prints photos from Burundi.
December 6, 2010
Join CNN iReport.
October 23, 2010
Konstkvällen – The Art Evening in Lund – Open gallery together with 16 other art spaces in Lund.
February 20, 2010
One of my pictures of Vianney in Burundi appears on the front page of “Elle Interiör” (but no longer available on the site) in relation to the “Antikmässan” in Stockholm.
February 9, 2010
“Bilder bidrar till utbildning – Pictures contribute to education”
About the exhibition “Meantime Good Time” – Sydsvenska Daily (no link).
Rest of the year
Serve as visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. Coming back in January 2010 with thousands of shots for later processing…
July 29, 2009
6 photos in A1 format are exhibited by Fredrik Zimmerdahl 20th Century Design at the Antiquity Fair in Helsingborg.
June 21, 2009
Eskil Fagerström, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Lunda-redaktionen, 21. juni 2009 “Dansk fotoveteran ställer ut” – Om Viggo Rivad.
May 9, 2009
Ingrid Nathéll in Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Lunda-redaktionen
“Hallå där: Har fredsforskaren blivit konstnär” (no link).
May 4, 2009
Fredsforskarens svarta get – The peace researcher’s black goat – in Helsingborg Dagblad
Sören Sommelius – Kultur-Sörens blog – about the opening of the studio.
April 21, 2009
We are happy to announce the opening of Oberg PhotoGraphics Studio.
It takes place over two days – Saturday May the 2nd and Sunday May the 3rd, 2009 both days from 01 to 05 PM.
It is Vegagatan 25, 1st floor in Lund, Sweden.