20 februar, 2014
Profile: Berit Soot Kløvig
Berit Soot Kløvig’s sculpture Maske, created ca.1970, is now on view at Kunsthall Stavanger as part of the exhibition Hold Stenhårdt Fast På Greia Di: Norwegian Art and Feminism 1968-89. Created from various found materials including charred wood, metal, and frayed rope, Maske creates an enigmatic, feral, and emotional presence in the exhibition space.
Soot Kløvig often incorporated discarded materials and objects into her work, creating evocative sculptures from empty cartridge shells, burnt wood, rusted metal and used textiles. Born in Oslo in 1922 to an artist mother and a father who was an actor, she was first trained in ballet and voice before debuting as a painter in 1946. She turned to sculpture in the late 1950s, eventually enrolling formally as a student at the Norwegian National Art Academy in 1960 at the age of thirty-eight. She remained at the academy until 1964 where her work gradually evolved from traditional figurative sculpture to more experimental forms and concepts. She continued to work with sculpture and collage, creating many iconic artworks throughout the 1960s and 70s. Despite her relatively late educational start, Soot Kløvik established herself as an important Norwegian artist, representing contemporary sculpture at a time when the dominance of realistic modeling was being forcefully challenged.
Soot Kløvig was heavily influenced by American Pop Art, but her expressions often took on a darker tone. She was an active part of the radical art scene around the studio community in Skippergata in the 1960s and the National Museum owns several of her most notable works from that time. Soot Kløvig stands out for her strong sculptural production and her pioneering practice in socially responsible readymade and materials-based art in Norway.