Me & My Concept

What I do • My concepts • Happy to co-operate • The studio/gallery • Who is Jan Oberg? • Synergy between two lives • Mentor Viggo Rivad • Social media and other places with my work

Jan Oberg

What I do

• Create a variety of categories or galleries, techniques and media. I don’t belong to any ‘school.’ I explore what I sense each raw image needs. That prevents me from developing a single ‘style’. Experimenting is my only ‘style’.

• Emphasise ‘graphics’ in the title because the appearance of my prints, exclusively on matte papers, have an affinity with graphic prints.

• Print in different sizes, limited editions, signed and numbered. Always sold with authenticity document.

• Make unique works  (one copy only) too and can taylor-make an existing print to suit your wishes (without changing the essence of the work).

• Take responsibility for the whole process – shooting, processing and printing. That is your quality guarantee.

• Do public relations and this homepage myself. My works can be purchased from me only. That is your lowest-price-to-the-quality guarantee.

• Always have about 50+ works on display in my studio, either as exhibitions with a theme or works in progress.

My concepts

Nowadays one must have a mission statement and any business must have a core concept. And people ask me now and then what kind of idea(s) my works are based on.

Here is, in a nutshell, what I can say: Art and peace are basic to my photographics concept and, thus, to my life.

Other elements are:

• diversity of themes, seeing the big and the small world where I go;
• photo graphics – meaning a graphic print-like appearance on matte fine art papers;
• variety of media – fine art papers, canvas, sometimes metal and mixed media;
• honouring the advice of my mentor, grand old man of Danish photography Viggo Rivad: it is you, not some expensive equipment, that create the good picture;
caring for the entire process – from shooting to printing, framing and marketing;
experimenting with the above, not aiming to find a niche or one style that can be repeated;
inspired by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Roy Lichtenstein (see my Rouen Cathedral Suite) and David Hockney as well as by classical art – e.g Claude Monet and Vermeer in “Black Girl With A Pearl Earring” (2014);
inspired by contemporary photographers – too many to mention; travel to art and photo fairs as much as I can;
• identifying my work mostly with art photography but also documentary;
• making extensive use of new technologies, the Internet and social media – but keep technology simple;
• always having my Nikon D7000 and/or iPhone at hand;
• exploring randomly what peace photography could be;
• offering clients quality and security, incl. a signed print documentation at purchase which guarantees the authenticity of the work and states what paper it is printed on with which printer, size of edition, number and signature etc.;
truly personal service – my works are for sale only by me and in my studio or via correspondence you’ll always deal directly with me.

Happy to co-operate

Am open to discuss photo art projects of a more lasting kind for homes, offices, property space, receptions, board rooms, galleries, restaurants, conference rooms – even outdoor photo installations.

Would be happy to discuss a leasing arrangement where you want to see your walls change from time to time.

Am open to sell license agreement for re-production and other use such as in publications.

Am happy to discuss portrait assignments with you of a more artistic and experimental kind. However, as art photographer I don’t do wedding, fashion, child, pet, advertising or similar typically commercial photography.

The studio/gallery

Opened in May 2009 on 1st floor at Vegagatan 25 in Lund, Sweden. It is simply a studio where I hang my works, test prints as well as final prints. Sometimes I arrange a thematic exhibition with my own works or an invited photographer. There are 40-60 works on display at any time. The 90 square metre space also contains a section with photo books and a unique peace library. 

Many have told me that they feel it more like a home than the gallery on the fine street. That’s exactly how I want it, and people must never feel that I expect them to buy.

Visitors welcome anytime but by appointment only on or phone +46 (0) 738 52 52 00. In that sense my studio – the only permanent photo gallery in Lund – is open more than other art institutions. And by making an appointment, I can attend fully to each guest.

Who is Jan Oberg?

About Me, Places & Contacts.

Born 1951 in Aarhus, Denmark; PhD in sociology 1981. Art photographer, peace studies professor and international mediator, director of TFF – The Transnational Foundation in Sweden.

I’ve taken pictures since I was 7 years old and worked with black-and-white film, then colour film, then slides and – since 2001 – digital technology.

I’ve always been surrounded by contemporary US and European paintings and prints. My parents were pioneering art collectors and most of what they collected is still with me.

In my work as peace and conflict researcher I have worked in many places such as Somalia, all parts of Yugoslavia, Iraq before the war, Burundi, Japan (where I’ve been a visiting professor a few times), Austria, Basel, Switzerland (where I taught 2009-2013) and since 2012 in Iran and in Syria 2016. And I travelled around in China in 2018 as a prelude to my Silk Peace Art Road, SPAR, project.

My pro-peace work and my photography contrast each other – academic/intuitive, educated/self-taught, slow/faster results, political/artistic, discipline/experimental. Perhaps one can even add dark/light these days.

And yet they are very closely related and provide me with a joyful balance in my life.

I believe there are more than enough images of violence in our daily lives, and I was never attracted to war photography. I hope that at least some of my images can also be seen as embodying peace, conviviality and hope.

There is a CV, background articles and more on my official “Life, Peace and Photographics” homepage.

Synergy between two lives

Through my life, I’ve grappled with art and with peace.

Life # 1 – Art photo
Born in 1951, I grew up with art since my industrialist father, F W Oberg (1913-1981) was also one of Denmark’s pioneering collectors and gallerists (Ars Studeo in Aarhus and Copenhagen) with a focus on contemporary European and American artists like Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Motherwell, Stella, Johns, Hockney, Hamilton, Jones, Kitaj, Paolozzi, etc. (and Cobra’s Danish Asger Jorn and other leading Danish artists).

As a high-school student, I worked as his secretary, translator and assistant in his gallery, corresponded with printers, artists and galleries and arranged exhibitions under his direction.

That was my early art education and ever since I’ve ploughed through museums, galleries and art fairs and cared well for what I inherited.

In 2009, I set up Oberg PhotoGraphics as a more sustained activity for my own photography endeavours with a studio where I work with and print my own works, arrange exhibitions and host a Culture Salon for locally interested people.

Life # 2 – Peacemaker
I got a PhD in sociology with a specialization in peace and conflict research in 1981, directed the Lund University Peace Research Institute, LUPRI 1983-89 and, since the department was closed down, have lived a freelance life as a) visiting professor/lecturer, among others, Japan (5 times), Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland; b) conflict analyst and mediator in conflict/war zones such as Somalia, Yugoslavia, Georgia, Iraq, Burundi and, lately, Iran and Syria and c) author, columnist and media commentator. More about me on my personal blog.

The private, independent Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research, TFF, that my wife, Dr Christina Spannar, and I established in 1986, is an independent, people-financed think tank devoted to the UN Charter norm that “peace shall be established by peaceful means” (article 1) and that war shall be abolished (the Preamble).

It rests on a basically Gandhian philosophy. It’s a network of some 60 experts and one of the most prolific and sustained peace research think tanks the production of which can be studied at The Transnational.

I perceive the new SPAR Silk ArtPeace Road project (2018 and onwards) as an opportunity to bring my two “lives” together and create synergy for the common good of the collaborators along the Road as well as the spectators in Venice and wherever else its results may be shown afterwards. The TFF Board has accepted this as an integral part of its program.

Mentor Viggo Rivad

Danish photography’s grand old man, Viggo Rivad (1923-2016). We became friends during a Danish delegation trip to China in 1983.

As a small token of my gratitude I created this simple homepage for him – he had none before – as a gift for his 90th birthday in July 2012.

It is my hope that this homepage increases the chances that he will receive the international recognition he truly deserves.

Here my “In Memoriam” for dear Viggo.

When it comes to the art of printing, I want to mention Anders Jönsson. He’s taught me the fundamentals about printers, printing processes, papers and settings. I use only Epson printers, the latest bought in 2020 – SureColor 600. And I print everything myself.

Social media and other places with my work

Make extensive use of social media – first of all Instagram but also Facebook and LinkedIn. And I’m going to develop WeChat.

I write a Photo And Other Art Blog and curate the Oberg PhotoGraphics “GlobalArt” Magazine. And here some examples of my free “PostArt” Newsletter.

Subscribe to my “PostArt” Newsletter

Updated November 2020

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