An Invitation to Photographer Jon Gorospe’s Oslo home

Posted on September 22. 2016

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An Invitation to Photographer Jon Gorospe’s Oslo home

An Invitation to Photographer Jon Gorospe’s Oslo home

Jon Gorospe is a Spanish photographer / videographer based in Oslo.

 

One warm late-summer morning in August I find myself walking up a winding road in a beautiful residential area of St. Hanshaugen in Oslo. My surroundings are idyllic, and the houses are covered in green foliage. St. Hanshaugen is known for it’s beautiful parks and classic buildings overlooking the city. Apartment buildings and villas are nestled between remnants of historical pastures that are now city parks with beautiful views. I stand in front of a classical building with imposing heavy wooden doors. Out from the side of the building pops Jon. He smiles as he leads me through a smaller door on the side of the building, up long winding stairs to the top floor.

I’m there to get to know the photographer a little better, and bond over our mutual appreciation of an unassuming Norwegian design icon: the Variable balans designed by Peter Opsvik in the 1970’s. He makes me a cup of coffee - I’ve brought some pastries and cakes from the local café.

 

 So you have a vintage Variable balans. Tell me the story. How did this chair become your work chair?

JG: Okay, so when I was a student, it (the Variable balans) was like my dream chair. When I was studying, for me, it was impossible to pay. Cause, you know, as you can imagine (as a student) you have no money. I was doing an art degree. I actually remember that one of my design teachers had one, and she always said to me: “if you want to try it, I can lend you the chair, and you can test it” … For me the chair has the perfect design, and I wanted to have one, but I had to wait until I had a bit more money one day. The years passed, and I moved to Norway. I kept the idea in my mind that I would buy the chair. I was now working and I had a bit more money. One day I was at a loppemarked (flea market), I love buying vintage items….

He gestures around his apartment, which is spotted with beautiful curiosities and vintage finds.

 … So I was at this loppemarked in Grünerløkka (a trendy area of Oslo), and there, in the middle of tons of chairs was the Variable balans. I remember it was raining a bit. I went running to the chair, took it, and checked the metal plate on the back and realized – shit! It’s my chair!

I bought it there, I found it there, and now its here. My chair. 

 

Gorospe gives me a tour of the home that he shares with his Italian girlfriend. A studio area with bright pink tiled floors catches my eyes. The roofs are slanted and you can see the wooden beams that hold the roof. On the other side of this room is his home office. Underneath his work desk I spot his chair. Produced many years ago, it still looks beautiful. I ask him why he likes it so much.

JG: My mother used to call me culo inquieto, which basically translates to “restless ass”. I could never sit still. Now I don’t have to.

I laugh. 

 

I ask him about his work.

Commercially Gorospe works with the video format, and he says he likes it so much that he is introducing it into his other creative work. Having exhibited work around the world, he most identifies as a art photographer. His home in many ways reflects his persona. It is warm, and the items surrounding him are chosen with a keen eye. Some of his most memorable works come from a photo exhibition called Almost Black. Poetic and dark, the photographs show scenes that are shrouded in darkness. The images are so dark that you can only see a silhouette of the subject. 

His photographs may be dark and slightly disquieting, but I walk out of Gorospe’s home with a warm feeling inside.

http://www.jongorospe.com/

- Ingrid Holm

 READ MORE ABOUT THE VARIABLE BALANS HERE


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