Inger Sitter is one of Norway’s foremost practitioners of the late-modern style of painting that flourished in the 1950s and 1960s, in parallel with the development of abstract expressionism in the United States. During a few years from around 1960 to 1965, she created a number of collages that some believe were inspired by Robert Rauschenberg.
In the Picture from 1964 is one of the highlights of this period, with for example the newspaper Morgenbladet including it on its 2005 list of Norway’s twelve most important works of art. The picture is painted in fields of light, warm hues of ochre, white, and burning red, with certain diaphanous patches as well. The most characteristic element of the composition is the uneven, orange-red stripe that runs across the upper third of the picture. The collage elements have been fashioned from fields of clothing and newsprint that have in part been painted over. The selection of material is not haphazard, something that can be read from the newsprint, where the most readable text is none other than “In the picture”, the heading of an article on Jackson Pollock. This use of collage thus becomes more than an aesthetic technique to create the picture – it bears witness to the very essence of modernist painting, to an attitude about what painting can be and a desire to break with the old conventions of painting. Sitter wanted to underline one of the main traits of modernism, namely that the picture was not seen as a mimetic representation of anything at all, but as an object that depicts only itself.
Text: Benedikte Lita Engen
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0