Edvard and his sister Bergit grew up with their parents and four other siblings in a traditional rural farmhouse in Brusand, Norway. He is the fourth generation of his family to have owned the farm, once home to hundreds of livestock. All his siblings have since left, and the land surrounding the farmhouse – a listed building – is now rented out.
After several years in the city of Stavangr, his sister Bergit returned, and they lived together until she had a new house built nearby in the 1970s. Bergit passed away in 2011, and Edvard now looks after her house.
A glint in the eye draws the viewer into Høyland’s portraits of Edvard, where the sense of loss is perhaps most deeply felt. And yet it is almost as palpable in the images of the personal objects and empty rooms in both houses, hers just as she left it.
A section of text in the middle of the publication by Gaunte Heivoll captures the privately melancholic yet matter of fact tone of Edvard’s story.
“…He carried everything in and set it down on the polished floors. The rest she bought new. He helped her carry in the sofa, the coffee table the cupboards and cabinets. He saw how nicely it turned out. Everything was clean and new, there was a bathroom and a laundry room, a guestroom in the basement, a kitchen with shiny taps … It occurred to him that he had not known who she was. And that it was too late,” Heivoll writes.
“…He looks over at the floral wallpaper. It is as though the flowers have grown now she is gone, that they are gradually spreading out across the walls, across the sofa and cushions and will eventually take over the whole house. He notices the smell of the cowshed he carries on him. He sits there for a long time, touching nothing,” Heivoll continues.
Uneasy, sad, peaceful, nostalgic – Høyland’s series incites a mix of emotions, telling a story of two very different characters who lived apart, yet together, in this remote part of the world.
Brother | Sister is from Dewis Lewis, £30