How you can exhibit SPAR

(A) Start here

Please read what the Silk Peace Art Road – SPAR – Installation and Exhibition is all about here. And this is what the main four panels look like, here exhibited at the Venice Art Biennal 2019 at Palazzo Mora.

It has three main components:

A) A 6-meter long, 4-panel + wall multi-media installation. The panels contain my old and new photos from China in 1983, Myanmar, Somalia and Somaliland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Aleppo in Syria and Venice. See the works that sit in the installation’s panels here and the picture and video in this article.

B) 10 smaller collage paintings, all related to China and created in 2020. See the SPAR Combines here.

C) A selection of photographic prints of my works in China in 1983 and 2018. See a selection from 1983 here and a selection of those from 2018 here.

Jan Oberg and SPAR – Silk Peace Art Road # 1-4 – at Palazzo Mora, Venice, on May 5, 2019


The SPAR installation represents a new way of integrating photography with painting and artefacts. Its basic features are photographs (single and collages) printed on canvas and painted on and into plywood panels with acrylic brushstrokes. Objects/artefacts from the various countries that appear in the installation – see below – have been added.

It has four large plywood panels. As you can see, each stands leaning against the wall on podiums covered in fabrics. And above each panel hangs an over-painted, framed painting tilting outwards, inspired by the Chinese ”paibians”.

To the right side of the installation itself is a wall with an AI robot, three red Chinese ”duilians” (New Year wishes), a large Silk Road calligraphy as well as two iPads with two movies of about 45 minutes. All represent cooperative projects with local Chinese artists.

One iPad shows the movie, ”One Road”, which contains a kaleidoscopic series of clips from my trips and from art exhibitions; the other ”One Journey”, contains a series of shorter explanations by me about the project, his background, the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, as well as a short movie about paper-making in China – all with references to the installation.

In other words, it’s a complex, holistic and multi-faceted installation that can be perceived from many different points of departure. Here is an 8-min interview in which I explain SPAR.

The SPAR Installation’s 2nd wall

SPAR is about the changing world order, the rise of the East/Orient and China to the right in the installation (and lighter colours) and the decline of the West to the left (darker colours). It’s about the hopes for a more peaceful, cooperative and multi-polar future world when the US Empire will have disappeared.

It contains images from China 1983 and 2018, Myanmar 1983, Iran 2012-2016, Somalia 1977 and 2012, Kazakhstan 2010, Iraq 2003, Syria 2016 and Venice 2015. They are integrated into the paintings of the panels.

The installation may, as time goes by, be expanded with new panels and images from other countries participating in the BRI. One idea is that I work with local artists where SPAR is shown and new works are thereby added.

SPAR has been created to build bridges and create dialogues. It seeks to perceive the huge Chinese-initiated (in 2013) Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as an opportunity, while also (as stated in the accompanying text) being aware of the potential problems this gigantic problem could cause.

It conveys the immense diversity of peoples and cultures and, instead of making a firm statement about the world and its change, or about China, it does raise questions about future developments in a way that is extremely open for diverse interpretations and dialogue with the visitors or audiences.

Thus, it should serve both aesthetic purposes and socio-cultural dynamics and dialogues for the future.

The installation has a documented potential for stimulating dialogue among visitors. I was present in the room where it was shown at Palazzo Mora about 6-8 hours per day for 3 weeks in May 2019. I talked with about 1 500 out of 300 000 visitors.

When given a short intro to what the basic idea of SPAR is, visitors from all corners of the world spontaneously engaged in dialogue about what’s going on in our world – risks and hopes – what the future may bring humanity and what they believe about Orient/China-Occident/US relations.

See The Venice Future Dialogues here.

Given the huge changes in our common world – with risks but also bright opportunities – it would be great if such civilizational dialogues could take place where SPAR is shown in the years to come.

Independence and integrity

Both as a researcher directing the Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research (TFF) in Sweden and as an art photographer, I am a strong believer in freedom of creation and expression, in win-win cooperation and networking synergy. See more about this aspect here.

The SPAR Tour: You can become a partner for art and intercultural dialogue

I want SPAR to be shown around the world after its first show in Venice – for instance, at art galleries, museums, art spaces, municipal halls, art academies, international gatherings, or in whatever relevant and aesthetic context the interested party and I would see fit.

I want SPAR to “meet the people along the new Silk Roads”…That is the SPAR tour – getting the installation to be shown along the Belt And Road Initiative (BRI) countries – such as Belgrade, Athens, Istanbul, Damascus, St. Petersburg or Moscow, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Baku, Tehran, Ashgabat, Tashkent, Astana, Dushanbe, Bishtek, Islamabad and around China – or go first to China and then travel West.

It feels natural, of course, that it be shown along the BRI – the old and new Silk Road but it could also, eventually, be shown in Western countries to stimulate interest and knowledge about these present and future world dynamics.

(B) Data, practicalities and conditions

As of 2023, the SPAR Installation, which requires at least about 20 square metres, comes in three specially constructed, very sturdy wooden crates (in total about 275 kilos) made of OSB (Oriented Strand Board). Each of the four panels weighs 16 kilos, so the crates are the heaviest part.

The crate for the panels is 253 x 103 x 10 cm. The second, with artefacts, iPads, calligraphies, etc., is 80 x 80 x 60 cm (see photo); they are stored in Venice. The third box is in Lund, Sweden, and will be about 75 kilos containing 10 smaller paintings and a number of fine art prints.

Each Installation panel measures 100 cm in width, 250 cm in height and is 1,2 centimetres thick. Add to that the podiums and the paintings above the panels, and we are close to a height of 350 cm. In case the installation must be placed in a room with lower ceilings than that, one may possibly place the panels on the cloth directly on the floor.

The box for artefacts etc. to the left, the one containing the four panels to the right

• 1) The only things that have to be constructed by the EP at the local exhibition site are the four podiums on which the panels rest (roughly 65 cm width, 30 cm height, 40 cm depth) plus an 18 x 18 cm shelve on which the AI robot stands on the sidewall’s top left corner.

• 2) The careful unpacking and set-up of the installation and its components in an appropriate room, providing security and insurance for the installation and its objects, as well as setting the lights on it.

• 3) The transport crates (plus the bubble plastic and silk paper that protects the surfaces) must be stored during the exhibition period and used for dispatch to the next place.

• 4) The EP must re-pack the installation carefully and cover insurance for as long as the installation is transported and shown.

• 5) The EP must establish the artefacts and other items according to the pictures provided above:

• Get the fabric wrapped around the podiums.

• Set the four panels with the right 4 cm distance between each and fix them in the wall.

• Secure the objects on these panels (antiques, a shoe, plastic jewellery, a cup, etc.) and secure them against theft (while also enabling that they can be taken off again when the installation shall be re-packed in its crate).

• Get the videos mentioned under “Artistically…” above to be shown on the two iPads in loop mode.

• Fix the “paibians” on top of each panel – as shown in the photos above.

• Arrange the AI robot on the second wall (and make it work on a small shelf).

• Arrange the calligraphies, the double poster and the artefacts on that wall.

• Set the lights on the installation.

• Dust off the installation with an extremely soft brush before the opening.

In short, some time with creative problem-solving.

As soon as any problem or minor mishap occurs, the EP shall contact me at +46-738-525200 or or on WeChat ID: janoberg

The costs connected with the transport, arranging, opening, maintenance and closing of an exhibition should be agreed upon between the EP and me, Jan Oberg, well before the project is implemented. I want to be very flexible and find win-win solutions.

As the creator of SPAR, I do not require any fee or other remuneration for lending the EP this comprehensive artwork for a defined period of time. However, I shall appreciate that the EP covers the concrete exhibition costs to the largest possible extent.

If the EP wants me to be present, assist in setting up SPAR, and perhaps also take part in discussions with invited audiences about the art installation itself and/or the future world order based upon the installation, the EP is expected to cover a normal flight/train ticket plus costs for the duration of my stay.

What could help cover these costs?

Naturally, the SPAR Installation, as well as the ten collage paintings – “Combines” mentioned above – cannot be for sale. But it would be natural that some or all of the images that sit in the installation are shown in conjunction with the installation itself and could be for sale. Some studies for SPAR could also be included.

They would be in limited editions, printed on Canson fine arts photo papers, are signed and numbered by the artist, and a certificate of authenticity follows each purchased print.

These main prints sitting in the installation can be viewed in the SPAR Works portfolio. There you can also see some close-ups of the installation, the interaction of canvas-printed photos and the painting.

The third component of the SPAR Exhibition – the selection of my 1983 and 2018 China prints should likewise have a sales component. I would bring enough copies to provide for both exhibition and sales of a special signed and numbered edition, again with a certificate of authenticity.

In other words, parts of the SPAR Exhibition would be a sales exhibition. The income could either be shared between the EP and me according to some formula or accrue 100% with the EP.

– short video shot at Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy, in May 2019

More information & contact

Oberg PhotoGraphics homepage

All about the SPAR project

Videos about the project and the installation on Oberg PhotoGraphics’ Vimeo Channel

Phone +46 738 525200
Vegagatan 25
S – 224 57 Lund, Sweden
WeChat ID: janoberg


Updated in August 2023

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