Tonje Bøe Birkeland
Tonje Bøe Birkeland (b. 1985) lives and works in Bergen, Norway. Birkeland received her MFA and BA in Photography from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. Her main body of work is THE CHARACTERS:
The objective THE CHARACTERS is to encapsulate an entire artistic practice. Since 2008 Birkeland has, through The Characters, given women a position within landscape while exploring the authenticity of history. On expeditions, female explorers are staged in Unknown Territory. Materials have been gathered from before, during and after their journeys, yielding stories and installations, with photography in large formats portraying Characters # I – V.
Each project leads toward the objective of a gallery of personas of female heroines from the past, who through narrative, fantasy and photography can fill a void in our history and reveal contemporary society’s challenges: globalized colonization on the one hand and the loss of “great adventure” on the other.
Selected exhibitions include: Character #V Bertha Bolette Boyd (1900-1985): Among Mountains & Monasteries, Bergen, Bergen Kjøtt (2017)/ Timespan, Helmsdale (2017), For a gentle song would not shake us if we had never heard a loud one, Fotogalleriet, Oslo (2016), #ME, Preus Museum, Horten (2016), Inner & Outer Landscapes, Centrum för Fotografi, Stockholm (2015) / Bergen Kjøtt, Bergen (2015) / Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen (2014), Character #IV Anna Aurora Astrup (1871-1968), Fotogalleriet Format, Malmö (2015), Character #III: Luelle Magdalon Lumière, NOoSPHERE, New York (2014), Types and Archetypes, Galleri F15, Moss (2013), New Nordic Photography, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg (2012) and Open Studios, ISCP, in Brooklyn, NY (2012).
THE CHARACTERS has been awarded the Victor Fellowship by Hasselblad Foundation (2012), Årets Vakreste Bøker (2017) and presented in Birkeland’s artist book The Characters (2016), Norwegian Journal of Photography, Fritt Ord, Oslo (2017) and in Girl on Girl – Art & Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze, by Charlotte Jansen, Laurence King Publishing, London (2017).