Per Berntsen is one of Scandinavias leading artists for architectural and landscape photography.
In the years of 2002 and 2003 the Per Berntsen (*1953) was selected by the norwegian energy companies Statkraft and Hydro to document the asthetic values of htheir various hydroelectric powerplants. His series of photographies not only contained the complex and functional architecture of the buildings - his artistic sense allowed him show how these structures of purpose harmonically merged with the surrounding and often sublime landscape. In doing so, the photographer is judging his objects under the criterias of landscape photography - impartial to their man-made heritage. The simple structure of the archiecture enriches this aproach, as its subtle beauty stands against the harshness of the norwegian nature in the very same harmonic way as japanese gardens contain the structure of human order and uncontrolled rough beauty at the same time.
Berntsens Photographies show a clear, authentic language of strict form which rejects the alienation of his objects by any purpose. The technical elements rather speak for themselves. Turbines and generators become sculptures of reason enriched with aesthetic value. His Pictures of the engine halls display the almost "museal" character of the documented structures as these stand as icons for the technical innovations of bygone decades. His photografic series unveils a chapter in architectural and asthetic creation which is barred to the normal travellers of art and culture. Yet Berntsen keeps a distance to his objects, he avoids the creation of illusions and enrichments - his masterly taken Pictures remain authentic. The documented buildings and technical compounds stand as wittnesses of industrial advance and timely architecture. They can be seen as symbolic chapters of an industrial-culture that has changed the face of norwegian landscapes significantly and permanently.
Photographic works by Per Berntsen can be found in several public and private collections. Among others: Museum of Modern Art MOMA, New York, National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo, Norwegian Fotomuseum Horten, Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, Norsk Hydro Collection, Statkraft Collection, Storebrand Collection, Nordea Bank Collection, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.