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Børre Sæthre

Untitled (Wardenclyffe Tower)

The installations of the Norwegian artist Børre Sæthre revel in the minimalist aesthetics of our collective visualization of a future world, groomed as it is equally by the existential modernism of stage sets like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the promise of a better future through the brochure rhetoric of technological progress. Sæthre immerses the viewer into this unconscious void, which he has refashioned to underscore the future of loneliness that lays just beyond that “one giant step for mankind”.

Børre Sæthre
© Photo : Børre Sæthre

The Norwegian artist Børre Sæthre utilizes large-scale installations to create atmospheres that shift between the technological ambience of science-fiction films, the synthetic luxury of corporate showrooms and the perverse symbolism of a subconscious that confuses the historical and tense visions of a new world (as seen through the eyes of Darwin or HG Wells) with the utopian promises that accompany a new modern life through luxury goods. He combines quotes and subtle allusions with mental images and evocative sounds to form environments in which art, interior architecture and sound composition join together in fantastic, sometimes dreamlike ensembles. In his works, he draws not only on a rich array of art, film, literary, design and architectural history, but also on images from his Nordic homeland and childhood memories.

For his exhibition at Mudam, Børre Sæthre has turned an entire room into a metaphorical inner world. The dominant blackness is counterpointed by a stroboscopic light, which, together with a sound backdrop, creates an intense atmosphere. A mirrored geodesic dome, like the famous monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s film, emanates a silent presence. The short video in which a young man hurls lightning bolts, like the young Zeus (or Marty McFly), also seems to lead us “back to the future”. “I’m not interested in constructing a narrative”, the artist says. “My aim is rather to evoke an uncanny feeling in the viewers - in such a way that they then, of course, make their own narrative, but one which is not mine.”

Børre Sæthre was born in 1967 in Oslo, Norway. He lives and works in New York and Oslo.


  • Clément Minighetti