Throughout the 90s and up to the present, BV has worked with sculptural themes containing contradictory elements: destructive dissolving forms contra the pure and sublime. A number of powerful pieces were created during these years and represent a trial of strength in his artistic career.

During the years 1989 and 1990 Bertil could completely concentrate on his free creativity. He added a number of sculptural forms to his repertoire, such as the rod and the ring. Linking together basic shapes to form a narrative, which was realised by various methods and manipulations before and at the actual moment of sandcasting. The work now took on an expressive appearance. The sand mould was prepared so that cavities were formed, later the molten glass was to decide the outer structure/texture of the piece. The rough, destructive element was to be important to BV during the early 90s.

In summer 1991 he showed his latest sculpture in the ruined castle at Borgholm. The exhibition was entitled Area II and is one of Vallien's greatest artistic achievements. Here the visitor entered a world of destruction, with an atmosphere of intense anxiety. Area II consisted of three different sculptural motifs; "Maps" - square slabs of moulded glass whose rough surfaces are inscribed with meaning** They are not really maps at all, more like grave inscriptions or undecipherable keys to an extinct civilization. In the 90s he introduced cobolt blue moulded glass. To him this represented the blue of the universe, the sea and sky. The second part of the exhibition consisted of "Findings" - a glass block half a metre high. Here traces of death are sealed into the hardened glass. The occasional opaqueness of the surface underlines the feeling of being confined in a burial vault.

The third and last motif was the threatening "Watchers" - inexorable guardians of the dark secrets of their time. With their considerable height of two metres, and bladelike, broad-shouldered upper half, they emanated a powerful threat. GL:

"The Area II exhibition was a journey in time through the history of mankind as also a shattering reflection of the explorations of future archeologists into the cruel morbidity of our civilisation. But the installation is also ambiguous; amidst the outer features of destruction, there are signs of life."

BV continued to explore new sculptural themes. During 1993-4, he worked with smaller wall sculptures in three themes which he named, Faces, Kandy, and Constrict. Here too, he continued to explore the inner and outer conditions of human life.
"Faces" consists of sandcasted masks with a small opening to reveal the inside of the mask. While Constrict, with its blue glass body bound with rings, is a feat of technical virtuosity.

GL is of the opinion that Bertil, in his desire to explain the riddle of mankind, raised the artistic temperature to such an extent as to practically stifle creativity. Vallien found himself in a frustrated phase of his artistic career and began working with a more universal subject such as the boats.

At this time he saw a newspaper article about a girl named Karolina Olsson, who in the year 1875, had fallen on the ice at Kalmarsund, and thereafter remained unconscious for 33 years. On awaking from the coma, she related her memories of that time: just darkness and some blue men. Bertil began on a new theme in 1994, the head. His version of the blue men was a series of lifesized heads in clear blue glass. The sandcasting technique lends itself well tothe ice-cold, introverted magnetism of "Heads". The rooms of Borgholm castle ruins were invaded by the blue men in 1995. Visitors were obliged to walk carefully among the high stone pillars on which the heads were mounted. They stared down at us one minute, only to disappear like a gust of wind the next.
"Heads" are a universal form that exerts the same power on all alike; they also contain ambiguity: are they dead matter or ethereal spirit? With the head Bertil moves toward a a more rudimentary world, allowing him to concentrate on the sculptural detail.
GL places him alongside Picasso:
"Vallien's sculptures/incorporates in his work elements of African religious art and Picasso's formal approach, but his treatment of the material is unmistakeably his own. Thus...his portrait heads are consistent with contemporary attitudes; their complexity makes them at once recognizable and elusive."

The facial shape of all the Heads are more or less stylised. But with details such as nails, wire, polishing and surface treatment of the glass he creates a varied emotional atmosphere. In 1998 he created a series of heads in repose named "Resting Heads".They represent a further simplification of form. These exquisitely keyed sculptures consist of a painted head encased in a matt, semi-transparent layer of thick glass They are restful, but also frightening in their dual role as bearersof life and death. This sculpture is the result of a new method that Vallien devised; it is cast in two parts, glued together and polished. The same year he holds one of his biggest and most important exhibition at the Royal Museum of Antiquities (Historiska Museet), Stockholm. It was a powerful experience to enter the museum rooms. Taking place within these walls was a fervent and overpowering display of work,where the glass vibrated with an inner light. Gone was the anguished vision of the future of Mankind that characterised Area II. There is still a destructive tone in Findings and Landings, as a reminder that no one can walk safely in the path of evil. But the other sculptures express hope and a loyal unswerving belief in mankind's spiritual strength.In this exhibition the public saw "Idols" for the first time. Miniature masculine figures, attached to the wall by a metal plate, like so many powerful household gods.

From 1998 to the present thematic content has veered somewhat from historical and human questions, in a search for the illusive inner light. In "Bridge" from 1998 Vallien places a sandcast blue stave on metal stand.Two years later he produced blocks of glass with painted faces& people - calling the subject "Asleep/Awake". It was a step towards painted imagery on glass.

Somehow BV has accepted that he is unable to give an answer tothe riddles of mankind. Art can evoke questions, it can nourish the imagination and enrich a person. Glass eats light and is still hungry. Why give an answer when one can search? Bertil continues to experiment. We await his next move.




Map III, sand - casted 1990. Photo: Göran Örtegren. Metropolitan Museum of Art i New York, USA.











Finding man, sand - casted 1989. Photo: Anders Qvarnström.









Watchers
, sand - casted 1989. Photo: Anders Qvarnström










Face, 1992.Photo: Anders Qvarnström.

 

 

 

 

Head VI, 1996. Photo: Göran Örtegren.

 

 

 

 

 

Resting heads, sand - casted 1998. Photo: Göran Örtegren.

 

 

 

 

Head, sand - casted 1998. Photo: Göran Örtegren.

 

 

 

Bridge, 1998. Photo Anders Qvarnström.

 


 

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