Sissel M. Bergh

Sissel M. Bergh makes use of both scientific and artistic methods. By giving expression to the relationship between myth and fact, she shows how the interplay between the two has influenced social relations as well as official versions of history. A point of departure for Bergh’s exploration is the interweaving of the South Sami and Norwegian cultures, and how the South Sami influence on Norwegian and Swedish culture has been suppressed for political ends. By adopting the tools of cartography and linguistics, Bergh tracks and speculates about the relationship between landscape, myths, language, and place names. The uprooted tree has a mythological significance in South Sami culture, where it symbolizes Maadterahkka, Mother Earth, and the link to ancestors and the past. At the same time, the root system is a widely used motif in the fields of linguistics and genealogy, with associations to racial biology, territorial rights, and rootlessness.

Sissel M. Bergh (b. 1974 in Trondheim, Norway) is a Trondheim-based visual artist and researcher working in different techniques and materials viewed in relation to different knowledge systems. She received her education from Oslo National Academy of Fine Arts and University of Technology, Durban. She does recent presentations at Telemark kunstsenter (2019), Sámi Dáiddáguovdas (2018), and Kunsthall Trondheim (2017).

Supported by OCA – Office for Contemporary Art Norway.


Maadth (rotvälta)
Wood sculpture
Dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist

Maadtegen vuelie (Song of the Root)
Ink drawing
392 x 400 cm
Courtesy the artist


Göteborgs Konsthall


Image: Sissel M. Bergh, Maadth (rotvälta), 2019. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler