Silje Lovise Gjertsen's practice wanders the realm of analogue photography; within the womb of the darkroom she experiments with alchemical and alternative processes, as well as drawing on the tradition and craft of the photographic field. Through prolonged time in the darkness she falls into reflection, meditation and creation.
With the weaving of bodies and landscapes Gjertsen's practice delves into our inner landscape—the world which exists behind our eyelids. Here they are floating together—in a time-less space—as one and the same, a cyclical flow of energy. She transports the body and land into an internal space, capturing the spirit rather than the place or person.
Within her practice Gjertsen’s bodies of work flow into and interact with one another. They are like rooms in a house—which all share the same roof—carrying themes of the metaphysical; consciousness, energy, temporality, mortality and the mystical—an exploration of the liminal space between the seen and unseen.
Her work is inspired—both visually and spiritually—by the ocean landscape where she grew up in Norway. How the land is affected by the weather and sea is reflected in how she treats her photographic works in the darkroom, linking directly to the subject matter of her practice and its notions of temporality and deterioration. Over many years Gjertsen has developed a unique technique in the black and white darkroom, resulting in photographs with a metallic mirror-like surface with a blue/pink/gold hue. Here she works with and into the surface of her black and white prints, manipulating the silver in the photographic paper; exhausting and patinating the prints like the rocks are by the sea.
Gjertsen’s works are taken on a large format camera, which she ventures out with through the rocky, weather beaten coastal landscape west of Bergen. She usually arrives at her locations by boat, with assistance from experienced local boat drivers; working in hazardous and difficult to manoeuvre sections of sea between the countless archipelagos on the open North and Norwegian Seas. She also takes photographs from the boat, capturing the otherwise inaccessible magnificent mountain walls which dive into the sea.
When she goes under the cameras cloak, looks through the glass view finder and sees the composed image upside down she is transported into another reality; this image being much closer to how she sees and senses the world around her.
Attuned to the language of the land—she engages with a meditative sensibility as she wanders the seascape creating her work. Spending time here is her truest form of meditation. Gjertsen has a deep connection to this land, she works with its magic, capturing and sharing how she sees and experiences it.
Standing on the threshold of worlds the work opens the door to a space where the inner and outer lands meet; returning home to the place of the soul.