About the artist

The Artist 2- Helge Røed
Helge Røed (1938-2018).  The multi-national norwegian artist who resisted all efforts to pigeon-hole him as a practitioner of a given school or genre, whether it is minimalism, hard edge, arte povera  or flexus.

Throughout his career, Røed never allowed himself to be boxed in.

He remained faithful to an advanced, non-commercial style. He was an experimenting innovator and a true Modernist. His attitude towards his art is physical and anti-theoretical. His interest in form and space may derive from his classical training at Accademia Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, but can also be understood against the backdrop of his anti-literary and physical approach to his work.

Helge Røed’s artistic personality is strong and original.
His progress is full of leaps and contradictions, characterized above all by a decisive watershed around 1980. Until then he had worked consistently within a Concretist idiom for a decade or so. During the 80s Helge Røed developed a forceful, expressive painting in a total opposition to his earlier work. The 80s were also a period during which drawing became a key preoccupation, and offshoot of wider developments. 1980 also marked the beginning of a long series of international land art projects. Helge Røed’s contribution to the genre is tremendous.

Helge Røed’s work is processual and set out in series. Each individual piece is therefore only one element in an overall conception. The artist’s land art installations no longer exist, and knowledge of them depends on records taken at the time. But some of his monumental achievements are preserved and attract attention, one of them being the 1976 sculpture ZoooM.

Helge Røed’s land art interrogates relations between nature and culture.

He seeked to lay bare the hidden forces and mysteries of places and things. His most recent art is informed by these questions, but contains elements of the Romantic theory art. Dynamic features of Concrete Art were incorporated in later works.

Helge Røed’s wide-ranging artistic achievements can be summarized as follows:
        Modernist approach
        Romantic elements
        Impressions of the natural environment

        Mathematical calculations, generally for his spatial configurations

His attitude to the natural world could be said to identify with Romantic aesthetic, but he himself was a representative of the avant-garde. He used constructive calculations to ground his artwork. He was unusual in that he worked with stereometric figurations as a compositional device – not least in very large spaces. In this sense, his style is partly baroque as well.

His foreign training and international orientation isolated him in the narrow-minded Norwegian art establishment. Sweden was more welcoming, and the artist has exhibited regularly abroad.

The land art projects were all multi-national.

No other Norwegian artist has worked so hard or with greater dedication to develop land art as an artistic style than Helge Røed.

                                                                                                                     Svein Thorud,  SPOR 

I always felt I had no option  –  nothing should stand untried”
Four kids sitting on a fence.
Watch in fascination a field of horses and foals;
big, warm animals inviting you to take a ride.
I had to go for it…
Get mounted first – no saddle, no halter.
Set off at a furious pace down the steep bank and up again.
Tossed this way and that, hands gripping its mane,
slip backwards on her moist loins, and push forward.
Fall onto a barbed wire fence…
Hey, I did it…!

                   Helge Røed, biographical note

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