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Descartes prize


Expressing science in form

Anne Berg Edvardsen takes the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" to the third dimension; "the sculptures I have created express what I experienced when I was out at sea and actually handled oceanic organisms". Edvardsen explains that she used sculpture to communicate things one can only "see" with one’s hands.

Berg Edvardsen comes from Tjøme, a little island located in the fjord south of Oslo. She participated in a research cruise with IMR winter 2006. On the cruise she actively participated in animal sorting and handling, as well as taking many pictures of the marine creatures collected. The experience inspired her to create a body of sculpture that accompanied her Master’s thesis "Where art and research meet", which she completed last spring.

Berg Edvardsen is a middle school teacher and sculptor. She became inspired about deep sea organisms after watching a documentary about MAR-ECO that played on Norwegian National Television (NRK) in 2004. She contacted MAR-ECO and the Institute of Marine Research and ended up participating in an actual research cruise.

All the sculptures are made of unglazed clay and are various shades of white, depending of the actual type of clay used. Berg Edvardsen defends the lack of colour saying that "colour can distract one from actually experiencing the beauty of the forms themselves". This lack of colour, she believes, allows the forms "to speak for themselves".

Clay is a demanding medium to create in. The different types are of different strengths, supporting different weights / sizes of creations. She used porcelain quality for the smallest pieces, but needed studier types for the larger pieces.

Not only must the type of clay be taken into account, but Berg Edvardsen also had to carefully control the drying times; balancing enough drying time for weight considerations with keeping the material moist enough to continue the sculpting and building work over several days. In addition, she needed to sculpt or hollow out the structures from the inside to maintain a uniform thickness so as to ensure that firing of the pieces would be successful. Some of the pieces were also "polished" before firing with the back of a spoon.

The eight sculptures form a unique complement to the 2D art already associated with MAR-ECO; the paintings of Ørnulf Opdahl, the photographs of David Shale and the sketches of Thorolv Rasmussen, to say nothing of the documentary, Havlandet (The Ocean World) by NRK.

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