Vibeke Tandberg

Vibeke Tandberg is referenced on page 50 of the course notes and cited as a photographer who experiments with self-portraiture by employing photomontage techniques. (This link gives an indication of the type of work she makes.) An article by Inga Hanstveit describes the diversity of Tandberg’s practice with the artist explaining she is driven to work in different media (photography, conceptual art, writing) as she can become bored working with the same thing for a long time. I feel like there is much more to be inspired by in Tandberg’s work and frustrated that my research has only scratched the surface of this, I suspect she is an artist I will learn study further in the future.

Living Together (1996):

This series of seemingly innocent family snapshots show two women, who we assume are sisters because of their resemblance, in a series of everyday, domestic situations. Despite the way the images convince, at least initially, they are digital constructs with Tandberg paying the role of both ‘twins’ in the frame. On closer inspection it can be noted that there is a tension in the behaviour of the ‘twins’ that suggests spilt identity and forces questions about what is real and what is fantasy. Joan Fontcuberta (2014) has this to say:

“they add the diffuse fear that perhaps we can no longer distinguish between appearance and reality, reality and simulacrum, or original and reproduction.” (Fontcuberta, 2014: 97)

Line (1999):

At first glance the portraits from Tandberg’s series ‘Line’ appear to be straightforward, straight candid shots. However, digital technology has been used to merge Tandberg’s facial features with those of her friend – literally investing the image with an intimate connection between photographer and subject. Charlotte Cotton (2014) makes this analysis:

“there is a suggestion that the photographer’s relationship with the subject would be intimate, professional, detached, or a simulation of all these positions. In fact, Tandberg has used digital manipulation to blend fragments of her own facial features with those of her friend, illustrating how a photographic portrait, no matter how guileless it may seem, is partly the photographer’s projection of herself onto her subject. At the heart of this lie the possibilities that postmodernist practice represents for contemporary art photographers: to be able to knowingly shape the subjects that intrigue them, conscious of the heritage of the imagery into which they are entering, and to see the contemporary world through the pictures we already know.” (Cotton, 2014: 217)

For Inga Hanstveit (2018), Tandberg’s staged and manipulated self portraits problematise notions of the self at social, psychological and political levels. Lars Bang Larsen (2000) sees the series as a merging of personae which is aligned with a therapeutic acceptance of repressed elements in the psyche:

“In ‘Line’ the photographic merging reflects the artist’s conquest of desire and temporary ego loss, her split personality healed in chaste, almost painterly, monumental photography

Rather than portraying an authentic self caught up in a repertoire of simulacra, she deals with the slippage between me and you, privileging intimacy as an evolutionary hot-house for identity’s deviation. ‘Line’ is a rendition of what discreet psychodramas are enacted when you live under the same roof as your desire.” (Larsen, 2000)


Vibeke Tandberg: experimental self-portraiture employing photomontage techniques (link 9):


Cotton, C. (2014) The Photograph as Contemporary Art (3rd Ed.) London: Thames and Hudson

Fontcuberta, J. (2014) Fugitive identities. In pps. 90-103: Pandora’s camera: photogr@phy after photography. London: MACK

Hanstveit, I. I. (2018) Vibeke Tandberg – Where literature meets art at Turner Contemporary. Norwegian Arts. Available at: (accessed 23rd February 2020)

Lange, C. (2005) Reviews: Vibeke Tandberg. Frieze. Available at: (accessed 1st March 2020)

Larsen, L. B. (2000) Reviews: Vibeke Tandberg. Frieze. Available at: (accessed 23rd February 2020)

One thought on “Vibeke Tandberg

  1. Pingback: Exercise 2.3 | Digital Image and Culture

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