Professor of Illustration, Department of Design, Oslo National Academy of the Arts
In 2013, the first general presentation of Swedish illustration history was published, an anthology with 17 chapters by 13 authors in folio format. It was the result of six years of work and the product of an original idea by Andreas Berg and Sara Teleman, both illustrators and teachers. Since there was no model for the book, the production was a risky project for the publisher. Many must be convinced along the way. Several retakes were required to explain that this particular writing of history would not be based on decades, and even more extensive argumentation that the emphasis would not be on the most famous illustrators from each time. In this lecture, Andreas Berg describes the idea and implementation. He will explain why he considered the work to be so important and what significance knowledge of the history of the profession can have for active and future illustrators. He further discusses what is distinctive about the history of illustration. The ambition was for the book to be published simultaneously in Swedish and English, but the funding was not enough. A driving force initially was that no (zero) Swedish illustrators are usually included in English-language overviews. Such is the logic of globalization. With this as a background, it is argued for the necessity of national history writing outside the English language area. The book was dedicated to all illustrators active in Sweden. It received an enthusiastic reception in the Swedish media when it was published and also attracted attention in Denmark and Finland. It received the Swedish Arts Council's quality stamp, the Swedish Publishing Prize and was selected by the Royal Library in Stockholm as one of the most beautiful Swedish books of the year.
Andreas Berg is a Swedish illustrator, teacher and author, born in 1965. He was established as an editorial illustrator in the early 1990s and began writing about illustration a few years later. "Illustration is an intellectual practice" is a significant statement of his. Another of his obsessions is that illustration develops in relation to the spoken and written language. In 1997, he was appointed professor at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and became the country's first professor of illustration and the youngest professor in the school's 150-year history. Since all educational positions at art colleges in Sweden are limited in time, Andreas Berg left Konstfack in 2007 and devoted himself to books. In addition to the large book on Swedish illustration, which will be presented in more detail at this conference, he made a book and large exhibition about a controversial Swedish underground artist. The books and the exhibition saw the light of day in 2013. In the same year, Andreas Berg was chairman of the committee that appointed the illustrators who were selected for an exhibition at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, when Sweden was the focus country. The very same year he was appointed professor of illustration at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, the first professorship in illustration in Norway, where he has taught ever since.