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Domestic reviews 1988-2008
Summary of reviews from mostly annual norwegian state exhibitions.

...Sommerutstillingen i kulturhuset i Suldal har nettopp åpnet. Den jobben tok direktør Mary Miller fra Stavanger 2008 seg av. Hun har fortalt en fullsatt foajee om den gang Søbye dukket opp på kontoret hennes. Han hadde med seg en portfolio med bilder.

Miller og staben hennes ble stumme av det de fikk se; ekstraordinære bilder.

– Dere bør være veldig stolte over denne utstillingen.
Etterpå forteller hun at vil jobbe for at Søbyes bilder kan komme til Skottland i 2008. At det kan bli aktuelt med et kunstnerisk utvekslingsprosjekt mellom Norge og Skottland..."


Mary Miller, Director for "Stavanger2008-European City of Culture" (Haugesunds Avis 11.06.06)

Trøndelag is represented by Nirmal Singh Dhunsi og Reinhardt Søbye with great and marked submitions.
Per Christiansen (Adressa 03.02.05)


"...Der finnes perler i den faste samlingen - utstillingen i det gamle Sandvedhuset gir oss fine malerier av Georg Backer Berg, Olav Ansgar Larsen, Reidar Aulie, Kjell Pahr-Iversen og Reinhardt Søbye, interessante tredimensjonale arbeider av bl.a. Gunnar Torvund og Kjetil Ingvar Berge, en tegning av Jan Groth og et fiberarbeid av Turid Gramstad Oliver.

Denne samlingen (200 arbeider) er ikke tjent med fortsatt spredning rundt om i kommunale lokaler - den bør være tilgjengelig for kunstpublikum året rundt. Derfor er dette et tidsskille for kunstforeningen: 50 år med spredning er nok. Det er på tide å markere den kunstneriske styrken foreningen faktisk besitter. Ikke minst i det kulturby-perspektivet Sandnes nå deler med Stavanger..."

Trond Borgen (Stavanger Aftenblad 090905) om Sandnes Kunstforening: 50/50. Jubileumsutstilling.

"Reinhardt Søbye enhances his strong photos by drawing on them"
Lars Elton (VG 17.12.04)

.. With a naive line, yet completely without extenuancy. This is not the case in Reinhardt Søbyes crass combination of photography and drawing either, where violence accompanies man from the indoctrination as a child to the enlistment in adolescent years.
Harald FLor (Dagbladet 20.11.04)

Among the experienced exhibititors i would like to mention Ann Lundstrøm og Kim Ramberghaug. Lundstørm shows a beautiful composition of green foliage over a yellow-orange suggestive background. In this background lies a dark shadow. In this juxtapostion between idyllic and threatening there lies a discourse inviting to further contemplation. This is also achieved by Ramberghaug in his simplistically composed everyday-photographies, this also goes for Reinhardt Søbye with his "Evrydike and Chechnya" where a real Evrydike in her Hades-Tchetchenya dreams of her saviour.


Gry Solbraa (Adresseavisen 13.02.04)

Reinhardt Søbye has made his mark through the years with his portraits of soldiers, in which he used textiles from uniforms for a while. He has used dolls and blue childrens eyes in heavily expressive constellations. Now he is represented with two soldiers in hand-rendered computerprints.
Father and son in "The revenge" and "The little soldier", the latter brings the to mind Gunther Grass and "The tin drum". This marching little soldier carries a machinegun, with his gaze lowered. A little child with a strange panorama, picturesque montains and streams, and a tank.
Ellen Pollestad (Nordlys 16.06.2004)

"The exhibtion have, through the additions of younger artists, gained a freshness, while others more importantly add the weight and balance an exhibit like this needs. Sigmund Schjelderup, the veteran, is one, of the others can Reinhardt Søbye be mentioned

Per Christiansen (Adresseavisen 26.01.2001)

Trond Borgen, Stavanger aftenblad 17 oct 2000

Reinhardt Søbye is an artist who is not content making drawings of the grandiosity of man in the little things. He also plays a strange role-play where the goal is to elude the public, exhibitor and critics.

He is not just one of norways foremost artists, but also

a performanceartist who loves to appear in media, partly misunderstood martyr, partly revealing that the public nor the critics really catch on that he is the man behind the many pseudonums he operates behind.
Let's deal with the pictures first. In the gallery-house his exhibit is well worth a visit. Fourteen large pictures, mainly portraits in superhuman size with inlaid collage/assembly elements that make them three-dimentional, executed with such precision that they appear to us as live persons behind painted plexiglass, underlining that these people are gnawed by the teeth of time - worn both physically and mentally. Some of them have faces furrowed and wrinkled like weatherworn landscapes.
We see the vulnerability in these faces, we see our fellow man, we see saints.
Søbye conveys the nobility of ordinary, everyday human being, lifts it up like a holy figurine, with references to historys iconic saint-images. He doesn't shy away form portraying the ressurected jesus' face with the artists own features.
Sure, there is pathos, there is visual retoric.

Yet this is an exhibition you will remember a long time, because Søbye combines this heroic pathos with stringent observation of man. There is also a presence that is gripping, because it is combined with an amazing craftsmanship lifting the human being up as something holy: Behold this human being.


There is also a "guest-artist", Kristin Valle, participating with another kind of motive, landscapes. The format is the same, and so are the frames. The works have a similar technical finish, making us guess that the pictures have the same origin. In an article in Klassekampen on the 9th of march 1994 Søbye admits to using several pseudonyms, something he confirms in a readers letter in Aftenbladet 23d of march the same year. Actually, he says, when he  exhbitis under another name, it is not a pseudonym per se, but other actual people from whom he has borrowed identities.
Then he plays a game of cat and mouse; the article in Klassekampen is summarized thus: "Søbye says he intends to continue using pseudonyms, and has little faith in that critics will see through his spiel in the future." Not that it is my intention.
However, I would like to say that this is a problem: On request I was told that the exhibition houses two artists, this was acknowledged because they were both at the opening. The gallery
maintains that Kristin Valle really is the artist behind four of these pictures. But as a leading principle or artistic strategy Reinhardt Søbye opens for the possibility that this is not the case.

My question remains: Is the public, and galleries, served with roleplay such as this? Is the credibility of the gallery strengthened by this smokescreen? Shouldn't the public know for sure what they aquire, and by whom when they purchase art in a gallery?

"The next three weeks the most unique exhibition of the year is to be found at Atelier Lofoten in Svolvær. Reinhardt Søbyes exhibiton is demanding, apparently closed, easy to pass by, and at the same time astonishing in its involvement. Søbye debuted in 1985 at the age of 29. Self-taught, he has been represented at the fall-exhibitions nine times since 1985, has had great success in Japan and has been aquired by the leading national galleries. He is remarkably on the outside of any trends and tendencies of the time, but eerily present across cultural divides and at the anchorpoints of sivilisation.

His portraits and landscapes reflect something we yearn for and are gripped by. Quite elemental and basic statements radiate from his pictures.
Reinhardt Søbye seizes the viewer, forces him to stop and contemplate, and makes him return again.
This exhibition, that incidentally is heading for Japan, can easily be waived in five minutes time, if that is your wish, it is concentrated until the monomanic and demands some stillness from the spectator. The presentation in itself is a little masterpiece, the arcitecture of the exhibition underlines the connections between the pictures to a great effect.
The works we see are confusing, what are we really seeing? Eight iterations of an old womans features in Søbyes technique. A painstakingly detailed realism, textiles, masking and treatment of the acrylic panes in the frames. On the short-side a prisoners suit from KZ Mathausen, and "Memories", showing an old prisoner with the old womans face in the background. All watched over by a triptych with the perhaps superfluous title "Wisdom gives man the ability to see the writing on the wall".
These works are discomforting.
Perhaps this is because we are moved towards truth?
The exhibition as a whole is called "the forum", this can be reflected upon. Søbye is one of the norwegian artists grasping for the fundamental features of contemporary humanity, whithout resorting to propagandism or excessive simplification. His voice is a strange sordine, and his works are muted to a strong effect.
Every age seems to have its own subset of symbols, like the middle-age has its cathedral through which we can discern the market of despair. Or the railwaystations mighty span og puffs of steam summarized last centuries drive for development and fascination for technology.
Thus it seems that the KZ-phenomena is of the essence of our periods greatest traumas.
Lord and peasant have existed since we abandoned the forest, always we have found the individual without mercy and mankind without hope. Presently a life is valued at amount of ashes and potential labour income. It is not the evil of the concentration camps that is shocking, but the lukewarm, indifferent use of human lives, of humanity.

In the works of Reinhardt Søbye we find the silent cry, the pain and resignation, or more appropriately a great calm, because that is just the way it is. But they also contain boundless tenderness,

and at closer scrutiny the will to live. Reflecting the low-key, unnoticed  life, dogged and vulnerable. His portraits are like mirrors, we see ourselves summarized and are drawn in. It enfolds us like an icon.
His faces are psychological landscapes and we can detect a common destiny in them. In this exhibition we meet the same face again and again, not bidding, but as a metaphor of mankind itself. Its individual destiny and the detail that reflects the whole. Even the rendering is dualistic, the superrealism revealing more than the subject itself. The ultrapresise combined with expression foils all  our thoughts of "got him!".
Søbyes images are faceted, we are confined within a network of associations, unsure. We see as through a weil, are our glasses fogged up? It seems we see through smashed lenses, distorted seemingly out of focus.

The pictures urge you to contemplate, they watch us back and we might attain insight. Because we have met ourselves.
Reinhardt Søbyes pictures break boundaries. We, ourselves, are, in a strange way the forum, arena and the scene. Nothing separates us from the victim.

- Sigurd Stenersen (Lofotposten 1998)

"In the works of Reinhardt Søbye we find the silent cry, the pain and resignation, or more appropriately a great calm, because that is just the way it is."

The art academy in Oslo had extended a professorate in drawing. I applied. 18 october 1996 the committee, comprised of

Roy Friberg, Finn Graff og Zdenka Rusova,

gave its appraisal.

We have concluded on three candidates that each in their own are competent

Petter Brønn
Oddvar Løkse
Reinhardt Søbye


Reinhardt Søbye, born 1956, has no formal artistic training. The committee notes that the applicant is self-taught. The applicant has no pedagogical experience. He sketches out some thoughts on education that in the committees view are more special than the other applicants'. The committee feels that the submitted works are satisfactory and safe ground for appraisal. Further, the committee unanimously states that in his works are qualities lacking in the other submitted material. His works contain a sovereignity and radiance that show artistic integrity that is prerequisite for this position.

Meeting the unique
Gallery Harstad: "Drawings"
Travelling exhibition
August 5 - 13, 1995

"In Harstad Gallery an exhibition of drawings is on display this week. Behind it are the art associations in this part of the country (the SKINN), and five artists are represented. They are known, well established, and show us that "drawing" can mean a number of different things. Some of the works may well seem provocative to he who is unprepared. The spectators may discover that it requires time to fathom for example the five drawings, without titles, by Oddvar Løkse,-- but that it is indeed worth the effort. And that these splintered labyrinths which are magnificent in the way they are made, are also uttering something of bitterness about society and fellowship, and about the distinctive character of one's own society. And it is all carried out with a kind of remoteness that makes them bearable.
Hedy L. Lotherington's five torsoes are like soft breaths of air on a reflecting lake, barely perceptible. And Ingjerd Hansen Juvik has spread featherliqht lines on the endlessness of surfaces. She appears to have approached a form of expression which just gives her freedom, also within the large formats. Two early (?) portrait studies are surprisingly conventionally made. Iver Jaks is showing six works in a distinctive form of expression. He has slowly, over many years, cultivated a synthesis where Sami picture elements and archtypical figurations are joined together in a powerful, expressivity. The picture surface has the character of a woodcut's robust black-and-white rhythm. The result is quite intense pictures, despite the small size.

But the main focus of the exhibition is five unique portraits in a mixed technique. Reinhardt Søbye is the master of these. Five superior, astonishing studies of the human psyche, that carries one away. Outstanding and strong as they are, they draw the attention of the visitor the moment she or he enters the hall. There is melancholy and pain, isolation and resignation, strength and tenderness in these works--all of them inlaid in a beauty that is stirring. The onlooker is forced back, time and again. The large format itself gives room for distance AND nearness, it opens for mystery and clarity. Søbye manages to reflect some of the powerlessness and desperate aloneness which are the shadows of sorrow, by exposing the "inner landscape" of a human being. And one may sense something else, a reflection. The amazing thing is that these works do not become "private" despite the feeling that they must be rooted in something intensely personal. They are of universal validity. Here we meet existential art of unique value."

Sigurd Stenersen, Harstad Tidende 8.8.95

"The eminent drawings of Reinhardt Søbye, in large format framed in "windows" and "dressed" in clothing are seldom seen anywhere else"

Grete Hald (Sandefjords blad 94)

"Reinhardt Søbyes drawings are the most interesting works on this travelling exhibition"

Hammarn Magazine (nr.1 -95)

"We cannot pass without comment the magnanimous portrait "My eyes are still in the world" produced by Reinhardt Søbye in mixed media.

A picture that makes a deep impression on anyone who sees it.

Iconic, behind glass, clad in fur the old lady looks defiantly out at the world, marked by the passage of time."
Knut Hoff (Nordlandsposten)

"Herein are many pieces that leave an impression. For instance Lars Lerins huge aquarell "Wharf", Gunnar Tollefsens abstract "Woe the ocean ", or Reinhardt Søbyes "Suicidal thoughts"."
Sigurd Stenersen (Harstad tidende 24.01.95)

"Among those who can be mentioned are Lars Lerin, Reinhardt Søbye, Hugo Aasjord..."
Sigurd Stenersen (Harstad tidende 93)

"Reinhardt Søbye makes an impression with a feeling of abandoment in chalk, "Requiem" and "Utvær" both with horses statically posed"
Ellen Pollestad (Nordlys 93)

" I would also like to mention Reinhardt Søbyes chalk renderings "Requiem" and "Utvær" both of wich have a story to tell."
Gunnar Engegård (Norlandsposten 93)

"Reinhardt Søbyes two great works are impressive"
Sigurd Stenersen (Harstad tidende 92)

"Among visual trivialties there are still some exiting works to be seen. R. Søbyes "The Deserter" and L. Lerins superb aquarell "Decetion Island" "
Sigurd Stenersen (Harstad tidende 91)

Northern-Norway fall exhibition

"It should be added that the exhibition has other fine works. Reinhardt Søbyes "The deserter" captivates with its message."
Gunnar Engegård (Nordlandsposten 91) 

111. National exhibition
 5. september-18.october 1998

Paul Grødtvedt, VG 5. sept 1998

"...The selection is worse than ever. Especially wretched is the amount of muck in the category "other techniques".
Photo excluded, this is the container-category for everthing that is not painting, textile, sculpture, drawing and graphics. In short for everything devoid of any artistic merit. This quality, artistic merit, is sadly lacking in most places.
The same goes for sculpture and textiles, these techinques plus "other techniques" seem to have been concquered by village-idiots and artistic dilettants. This is no doubt the fruits of years of socially terapeutic education in the arts where everyone is supposed to play their way to artistic emancipation. None of them have actually learned anything, and they are also unable to express themselves in a professional way.
Luckily some are meeting the demands for quality. Both the illustrators and the graphicians work professionally and know their craft to the core, and how to use these skills.

It is impressive to see Søbyes two monumental portraits. It is some kind of drawing, mixed with other techniques, artfully rendered and dramatically directed.

Kristin Valles portrait of a man, "the night" is similar to Søbyes works, in both means and form. It is beautifully rendered and assumptive in the use of crass lines and revealing light."

"...Here are many good stand-alone works, worth mentioning is Reinhardt Søbyes "Portrait of a Norwegian resistance fighter" ('Arnold Juklerød') executed in tempera and painted plexiglass,
Nils Ole Oftebro (VG 94)

Dried-up fall exhibition

"In the area of drawing there are things taking place. Reinhardt Søbyes portrait of Arnold Juklerød is an example"
Nils Ole Oftebro (VG 93)

" The later years Reinhardt Søbye has appeared as an ambitious and intense artist with a mixed media expression incorporating photography and painting. This year he has left the photos lying, and the "Doll from the East" is a pastel drawing of loaded silence, more refined and clear than the earlier tendencies of this young artist.

This is art that speaks the language of archetypical mysticism. "

Peter Serck (Klassekampen 92)

the annual state exhibition

"Those who should be mentioned are Edle Krog, Lisa Corral, Reinhardt Søbye and Olav Herman-Hansen.

They are illustrators way above par"

Paul Grøtvedt (Dagbladet 91)


" The most noticeable artist at the exhibition is the much debated Reinhardt Søbye from Risør "

Gunvald Opstad (Fædrelandsvennen 91)

"..In gallery 3 an artist is introduced. Reinhardt Søbye is the name. 17 strange pictures meet us.. That he chose to open the exhibition in Gallery 3 is praise to the gallery in itself..
The subject matters are limited, however the exhibition as a whole is open, far-reaching and a giving experience.

As an artist Søbye is astonishingly accomplished

, and with the use of collage he goes his own ways.
Søbye sets the portraits free, and manages to make them documents to our common human heritage. It is said that portrait is supposed to reflect the inner landscapes,

but Søbye takes it further in to the realm of common relevance.
They are moving, magically fantastic and fascinating. This exhibition deserves attendance, huge attendance. "

Sigurd Stenersen (Harstad Tidende 06.04.92)

Tegneforbundet 1992

" Some portraits amplify Søbyes photo-realism to the eerie. Stubble, wrinkles and black pupils are places into the otherwise softly rendered faces. This gives the portraits an eye-catching level of detail which create a sharp contrast in the field-depth of the pictures. The highligts of the nose, or forehead can be accented enough to make the picture nearly step out of the frame. As if this hyper-realism was not enough Søbye drapes some of the subjects in actual garments, the effect is just stunning.

George Morgenstern (Aftenposten 21.02.92)

" Reinhardt Søbyes is without a doubt the most interesting Sandnes Art Society has had in a long time.

Søbye is completely self-taught and had a remarkably strong debut three years ago. We can see why;

these pictures bear witness of a technical assuredness and the ability to penetrate the subject matter. This gives the portraits a presence, physically and mentally, not to be overlooked.
Søbye sees the grandiosity in these worn faces, and he manages to express this through a well-honed, discerning and skilled use of his technical means.

This is an exhibition that takes hold of you. "

Trond Borgen (Stavanger Aftenblad 22.03.90)

galleri 27, oslo, 1998

" We are almost forced to take in these faces and their inner lives. The format, the detailed execution and the intimacy of the carachterization lay the subjects bare in way that entail their lives, past and present.

The technical prowess is undebatable; we are faced with a professionalism well founded and original. The pictures also have an expressive credibility that is lacking in this post-modern art world.
As a whole the exhibition have a tautness and visual strenght seldom seen. "

Paul Grøtvedt (Morgenbladet 10.03.88)