Finding inspiration in nature, monumental art and music – interview with Tore Eidebakk Reisch

Photo: Olga Bushueva/IHTLNY

Maybe you have been asked a lot of times about it, but why have you chosen wood as the main material for your art?

When I started making sculptures at the art academy, it was a lot about science and the abuse of nature. At that time I used many “modern” materials, but found out that almost everything I made sculptures from, in a way, was part of the abuse as I saw it. When I finished the art academy, I wanted out of the dust fog and found my way back to the tree, which is a material everyone in my family has played with. I quickly discovered that working with old tools, the silence of the living material and the work rhythm were something for me. The excitement that all trees have characteristics for their species, but are still different is something I can use to the advantage of art.

Since then, I continued to immerse myself in the many qualities of the wood to find it inspiring to work with natural materials that are found in the nature around me. Learning the craft behind wood art is both demanding and rewarding, and is an inexhaustible source that no one can ever fully explore.

What kind of wood do you use most?

I must have fallen in love with pine. The use of pine has long traditions in Norway and has had its good to bad eras in art and architecture. It was also the kind of wood I started with. Since then I have tried a bit of everything, but keep going back to the pine. It is a type of wood where the quality can vary greatly, everything from loose fast-growing plantation wood, to mature pine from old-growth forest where you can find really “fat” dense and solid wood. I use this kind of pine when I make art that will withstand standing outside in humid and cold climates. As a type of wood to work, one can face many challenges when working with pine in relation to a number of other types of wood that have a more “homogeneous” mass. But the fact that the material is so “alive” also gives a lot back to me as an artist.

Your works are always very monumental. Why have you chosen such style?

Now I make not only monumental art, but I have enjoyed for a long time working 1:1 as I see it. Often such sculptures create a room in the room and you can in a way be in the sculptures and this is not the same as sculptures that you can hold in your hand.

The work process with large sculptures is also something I like and think it teaches me a lot. I always start by drawing series with drawings, where it eventually begins to crystallize some ideas and shapes that I draw on. When I decide to make one of the drawings into a sculpture, I work more technically with graph paper, models and try to solve technical challenges. Maybe a little engineer lives in me, but I reserve the right to change everything and just follow my intuition while working on the sculpture.

Could you tell us a little about your latest project?

I have worked in parallel over the past year with a decoration for Lindeberg Sykehjem in Oslo, and a solo exhibition at Tegnerforbundet in Oslo. Lindberg’s sculpture will be a 6 m high sculpture that you can walk through in the nursing home’s park. 6 large tree trunks are cut out in very fluent forms, and folded together into a large sculpture. And when you go through, it plays a sound work picked from a computer program designed by Jørn Tore Egseth. I made 12 small compositions that are recorded by 3 different instruments in 12 variations. The program mixes the variations and compositions and will not be repeated until all versions have been played.

The exhibition at Tegnerforbundet takes up my work process, where I draw my way to a sculpture. Here, a new sculpture will be exhibited as well as all the drawings that have helped to create it. There will be 8 large drawings and about 60 A3 sketches in addition to the sculpture. The exhibition is open from 13.11 in Oslo. It was a quite different opening of exhibition in these times because of pandemic, when you can not invite a lot of people in. But I still hope that someone will visit the exhibition during the period up to Christmas.

I know you are also a musician. Do you have any plans about recording some new music?

I wish I had more time for music as well, but new “song sketches” are constantly made during the lunch break at the studio or in the evening once in a while. Because it takes so long between me playing concerts, the music also goes a few steps further with time. Well, maybe one day I could concentrate on music for some time, and run an intensive round in the studio…In the last year, I have played guitar a lot and made music for the sound work that is embedded in Lindeberg’s sculpture. Thinking a bit about whether I can take the sound further in the art, but for now it’s like bubbles at the top.