Q&A with Thomas Falstad

This Friday, Thomas Falstad opens two exhibitions, at The Boiler Room and at NoPlace. KUNSTforum asked him some questions about his art and what inspires him.

Thomas Falstad, Nest, 2012. Foto: Thomas Falstad

What are you currently working on?
– These days I’m installing two solo shows here in Oslo – both opening on November the 2nd. At The Boiler Room I’ve been working closely with curator Joakim Borda. This exhibition has a meditative and almost nostalgic mood, and is relatively hopeful and optimistic when seen in relation to much of my other production. The exhibition at NoPlace feature larger works and have a darker undertone. It’s another beast altogether. Both shows are representative of the work I’m producing now and will be developing towards my solo show at Kristiansand Kunsthall in 2013.

Thomas Falstad, Untitled, 2012. Foto: Thomas Falstad

Can you describe your work process from idea to work?
– Different works demand different approaches. My work often start off with an idea, sketch, collage or photograph – found or taken. This is done to provide the work with an identity. However, the real work starts with brushes and paint. Most of the decisions are made during the process of making; one choice, mistake or move leads to another. A successful work takes command, and I let it happen to see where it takes me. Lately I’ve also been making sculptures. I´ve only made a few so far, and I encounter new problems all the time. I love the challenge of it.

Thomas Falstad, Spectre III, 2011. Foto: Thomas Falstad

What are your main influences when creating a work of art?
– Everything I´ve seen and done to this day, but I realise that experiences in my early years have influenced my work in many ways. Playing hide and seek in the derelict nazi bunkers close to my home, and driving with my parents along majestic mountains in the north, did make an impression on a child’s imagination.

– I also find inspiration looking back at my own work. Sometimes elements from older paintings return, though in a slightly different form.

– This month I´m loosing my studio, but somehow even that is inspiring – a change for the unknown.

Thomas Falstad, Ceromancy, 2012. Foto: Thomas Falstad

Can you name an artist/artwork or exhibition that has inspired you?
– My first encounter with art was when I came across an image of “Prometheus Bound” by Rubens in a book about mythology. I was 4 or 5 years old, and I was completely spellbound by this image of a man chained to a rock, with an eagle hacking out his inner organs. It resonated in me and might have been what triggered a lifelong inclination for the darker shades of life.

– In recent times the examples are countless. This year two of the highlights were Knud Baade at The Art Museum of Northern Norway, and Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic in Prague. I also keep an art blog called Krypten, it’s a visual inventory of past and contemporary art that is contextually relevant to my own practise.

Thomas Falstad, Endless Gaze, 2012. Foto: Thomas Falstad

Can you name a writer or book, fiction or theory that has inspired your works?
J.G. Ballard. Also the lyrics of Wrest of Leviathan.

Why is art important?
– Art is a necessary counterbalance to an increasingly regulated society. It’s a sign of modern man’s ability to think in abstract terms. It has the power to raise questions where everything else seems to provide us with answers. It offers a nonreligious space for reflection, emotion and spirituality.



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