Artist: Vibeke Tandberg
A series of seven color photographs shows a heavily pregnant woman wearing a singlet and large underpants. The woman in the image is the artist herself. Her body has an unnatural twist that changes throughout the series. She stands on a bare pine floor in what looks like a white-painted, older apartment where the interior also has unnatural angles.
We see a pregnant woman in enormous white underpants.
Her body and facial features are displaced and distorted – her anatomy doesn’t quite hang together. The spaces in which the woman is standing also seem askew.
An unstable body in an unstable environment.
The title, “Undo”, derives from the image-editing software Adobe Photoshop.
It’s an editing command that reverses the most recent action.
At the time Tandberg made these photographs, the completely new possibilities offered by Adobe Photoshop for image manipulation had become of fundamental importance in Tandberg’s own work. We see this here. The photographs in the series have been assembled and manipulated to give us a liberatingly comic, but also cringingly self-revelatory, depiction of a pregnant woman, the artist herself.
And today we are experiencing a completely different technological revolution.
This is Andrea Kroknes, a senior curator at the National Museum.
We all have camera phones in our pockets. And the immediacy and reach of social media have changed all of our lives. We take selfies all the time, we have apps that can change our appearance, and we don’t see this as at all problematic. And despite this, we think of these images as true, or perhaps we think that although we’ve created an image that’s a lie, a manipulated image can nonetheless convey something that is true.
We have a much more relaxed attitude to the nature of photography.
So really these images are simply a starker way of asking the question – What is true, and what is false? – that artists continue to ask themselves today.