top of page


Ivar Kvaal (b.1983) has garnered critical acclaim for his photography in Norway and elsewhere. Images from the Dvale series have been exhibited at numerous institutions and galleries, including The Aperture Foundation in New York, Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland and The Devos Art Museum in Michigan. The series is featured in Thames and Hudson’s anthology reGeneration2 -Tomorrow's Photographers Today.


Kvaal’s work is also featured in Thames and Hudson’s Landmark – The Fields of Landscape Photography and Journal’s Norwegian Journal of Photography #2.  Dvale was published by Teknisk Industri in 2016. Hessdalen was published by Journal in 2018.


Ivar Kvaal (f.1983) har høstet anerkjennelse for fotografiene sine i Norge og internasjonalt. Deler av Dvale har blant annet vært utstilt ved Aperture Foundation i New York, Musée de l’Elysée i Sveits og Devos Art Museum i Michigan. Serien er også vist i Thames og Hudsons antologi reGeneration2 -Tomorrow's Photographers Today.


Kvaals arbeider er også vist i Thames and Hudsons Landmark – The Fields of Landscape Photography og Journal’s Norwegian Journal of Photography #2. Dvale ble utgitt av Teknisk Industri i 2016. Hessdalen ble utgitt av Journal in 2018.

Ivar Kvaal presents excerpts from three projects:


Kvaal’s project Hessdalen is a meditation on the human desire to experience the otherworldly while simultaneously playfully implicating photography in its contradictory roles in mystification and evidence. Hessdalen Valley in central Norway is the site of decades of inexplicable displays of light. Once a thriving mining community, it has now become one of those forlorn frontiers where the mysterious and the desperate coincide to produce a new culture of wonder and paranoia. Kvaal does not try to prove or disprove the various theories that attempt to explain the phenomena. As if to provide atmosphere to Kvaal’s documents, a few images of the ephemeral float within his sequence of portraits of witnesses and believers and the technological and handmade tools that spring from an environment that exists somewhere between logic and delusion.



The series contained within Dvale (hibernation in Norwegian) was created during the lead-up to the opening of the Norwegian hospital Ahus in 2008. Ivar Kvaal has captured the building in a slumbering state, in the weeks and months before it was brought to life. The images in the book encompass a fragile and fleeting stillness, in sharp contrast to the hectic everyday life of hospitals.


In Dvale whitewashed, unornamented rooms are filled with building equipment, stacks of ceiling panels and loose cables. Medical machines stand untouched, still covered by plastic. The geometry of these temporarily misplaced parts serve to create breaks in otherwise linear compositions, inviting sculptural associations that tend towards abstraction. The absence of bodies is striking – Kvaal’s images emphasize the hospital as a technical construct: a mass of individual parts reliant on medical and scientific knowledge.


The book can be placed within the tradition of documentary photography, but avoids dramatic or narrative devices. The hospital is presented as a scenography under development, a backdrop for future events. Dvale can be conceived of as a contemplative space, where the beauty in functional and technical environments can become apparent.



Tethered to the Polestar

Tethered to a Polestar is another of Kvaal’s projects exploring a very different peripheral world that exists next to and within conventional Norwegian society. Tethered is an austere and intimate document of indigenous Scandinavians, the Sami or ‘Laplanders’, a name that the Sami people consider a pejorative. Kvaal’s photographs present sublime landscapes and lonely gas stations glowing in the night, Sami people in traditional dress and Christian altars carved in ice, running shoes hidden in tall grass and the ethereal Aurora Borealis snaking over a frozen tundra. The title of the project refers to the Sami belief in a sacred link between the Polestar (Polaris or the North Star) and the health of the people.  This link props up the celestial dome and when broken, the stars will rain upon the earth bringing an end to life. Photography may be a relatively modern medium yet Kvaal is able to create a visual bond between the ancient and the contemporary, the concrete and they mythologic.

** Click on image to view its full size.

Hessdalen, Untiteld, 2012 / Untitled, Hessdalen, 2012

Hessdalen, Untiteld, 2013 / Untitled, Hessdalen, 2013

Hessdalen, Untiteld, 2013 / Untitled, Hessdalen, 2013

Hessdalen, Untiteld, 2013 / Untitled, Hessdalen, 2013

Dvale, Untitled, 2007 / Untiteld, Dvale, 2007

Dvale, Untitled, 2007 / Untiteld, Dvale, 2007

Dvale, Untitled, 2007 / Untiteld, Dvale, 2007

Tethered to the polestar, Untitled, 2010 / Untitled, Tethered to the Polestar, 2010

bottom of page