• Artist: Kjell Bjørgeengen
  • Creation date: 1991
  • Object type: Video sculpture


Kjell Bjørgeengen has explored video art since 1981. He has in particular worked with analogue video signals and with visual manipulations that underlie the figurative TV images we know from commercial broadcasts. The unfocused black-and-white waves that undulate across the nineteen monitors in Riss do not present a recognizable segment of the world, but designate the video signals’ own materiality. Only traces of the video recordings that form the basis of the work – depicting the moving walkways at the Châtelet metro station in Paris – are visible after the video has been processed by Bjørgeengen and scored by Jöelle Léandre.

Léandre’s music is used as a structural element and converted to video signals that obscure the images and shake up the logic of the TV screen, where video signals usually only exist behind the images they are projecting. The row of monitors framed in patinated steel contrast vividly with the fleeting video images, prompting the viewer to move around the work to inspect it from several sides. Riss does not encourage passive TV watching, but rather invites the viewer to explore the medium itself more closely.

Riss was purchased for the collection by the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1991 as its first piece of video art. According to the museum’s acquisition committee, the work was not bought simply because of its video aesthetics, but because it was understood in the wider context of art. In retrospect it is therefore important to underline that precisely Riss is regarded as the museum’s first video work, long after video art itself was established as an art form in the 1960s.

Text: Marthe Tveitan

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Kjell Bjørgeengen

Visual artist

Born 1951

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Riss (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
CRT-monitor, stål, video og lyd
  • Depth: 47 cm
  • Height: 1235 cm
  • Duration: 15.32 min
  • Width: 91 cm
Kjøpt 1991
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Complex object/artwork
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Thorkildsen, Morten
© Bjørgeengen, Kjell/BONO