SPAR – Exhibition Partnership Program

The first show of the “Silk Peace Art Road” – SPAR – Installation

SPAR is a photo-based, multimedia installation which was shown for the first time in the context of the Venice Biennale 2019, the world’s largest and most important event for contemporary art.

The European Cultural Centre, ECC, in Venice had invited Jan Oberg to exhibit at its exhibition ”Personal Structures – Identities” arranged at Palazzo Mora and other venues as one of 170 selected artists from around the world (May 11 to November 24, 2019).

Jan Oberg, the creator of the SPAR installation, is an experienced peace and future researcher and peace studies professor as well as an art photographer. More about him here.

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

What is it?

Artistically, 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 by acrylic brushstrokes and to that added various objects from the various countries that appear in the installation.

It has four panels and each stand leaning to the wall on podiums covered in fabrics and over each hangs an over-painted painting leaning 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 iPods with two movies of about 45 minutes. All represent cooperative projects with local artists.

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

The SPAR Installation’s 2nd wall

In terms of content, the installation is about the changing world order, the rise of the East and China to the right of 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, the last, has 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. The installation can, as time goes by, be expanded with new panels and images from other countries participating in the BRI.

Functionally, the installation has been created to build bridges and create dialogues. It seeks to perceive the huge Chinese-Initiated 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 asks more questions about future development options than makes statements with firm opinions.

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

SPAR is financed exclusively by the artist and a few supportive friends. No government or corporate funds have been involved in its research, development, creation, or exhibition.

SPAR to travel after Venice: Become a partner

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

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

Facts and conditions

The installation which is all in all about 20 square metres comes in two specially constructed, very sturdy wooden boxes (in total 200 kilos). Interested parties shall cover the costs and other resources of the transport, the careful unpacking and set-up of the installation in an appropriate room, provide security for the installation and its objects as well as setting the lights on it. The transport boxes must be stored during the exhibition period.

Further, the partner covers public relations costs for outreach, social medi etc. in cooperation with the artist.

Detailed instructions by the artist and images from the Venice installation shall serve as guideline.

Additionally, interested parties must pay a fee to the artist according to the length of the exhibition period. The partner must re-pack the installation parts carefully and cover insurance for as long as the installation is transported and shown.

If the exhibiting party wants the artist to be present and perhaps also take part in discussions with invited audiences about the future world order based upon his installation, the cooperating party must cover a normal flight/train ticket plus costs for the stay.

Exhibiting single prints

It would be natural that some or all of the images that sit in the installation are shown in conjunction with the installation itself. A number of studies for SPAR could also be included.

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

These main prints sitting in the installation can be viewed in the SPAR Works portfolio.

Such an exhibition of single editions would provide an opportunity for sales, the income or which will be shared by the partner and the artist in proportions agreed prior to the exhibition.

More information & contact

Oberg PhotoGraphics homepage

All about the SPAR project

Videos about the project and the installation

Jan Oberg
Oberg PhotoGraphics
iPhone +46 738 525200
Vegagatan 25
S – 224 57 Lund, Sweden


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  1. Pingback: May-June 2019 – Oberg PhotoGraphics

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