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Last on

Mon 19 Dec 2011 16:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 19 December 2011

Richard Coles travels in the dead of winter up to the Lofoten Island in Norway - where the Northern lights and the extraordinary colours of winter darkness draw spellbound artists to live and work. Lofoten, on the very edge of Norway's Fjords, is home to both art and artists in abundance. Every turning on the road has a sign pointing to a gallery, and as Richard observes, "Looking out the window is like looking at an abstract painting - streaks of brilliant pastel colours across the dark sky and sea". Shops display paintings and weavings, inspired by the grandeur of winter at its wildest. The natural surroundings - the sea, triangular fish-drying racks, the jagged snow peaked mountains, and the darkness, illuminated by the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis - provide rich inspiration. The peninsula has even attracted international artists, such as Anthony Gormley and Anish Kapoor, to contribute inspired pieces of work to the striking landscape.

Richard Coles travels to the frozen landscape of extreme beauty to meet the artists inspired by both the cold and the dark; artists like Scott Thoe, who breaks the ice to swim every morning; his wife Vebjørg Hagene, who creates underwater tapestries; Dagfinn Bakke, whose landscapes feature tiny figures dwarfed by storms, and Yngve Henriksen who grew up on the Islands and felt drawn to return to paint the colours of the landscape he finds so compelling - huge canvases smothered in layered oils and filled with a darkness relieved only by a 'Blue Hour'. The one person who wishes for Spring is Kjell Ove Storvik.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

  • YNGVE HENRIKSEN - painter in Svolvaer

    YNGVE HENRIKSEN - painter in Svolvaer

  • Yngve's paint palette

    Yngve's paint palette

  • Yngve's studio with one of his beautifully textured oil canvases

    Yngve's studio with one of his beautifully textured oil canvases

  • Harbour in Svolvaer - capital of Lofoten, pop, 4,500

    Harbour in Svolvaer - capital of Lofoten, pop, 4,500

  • Presenter - Richard Coles

    Presenter - Richard Coles

  • Midday sun and the mountains of the Lofoten Islands

    Midday sun and the mountains of the Lofoten Islands

  • View on the drive to Stamsund to visit artists Scott Thoe and tapestry maker Vebjorg

    View on the drive to Stamsund to visit  artists Scott Thoe and tapestry maker Vebjorg

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