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Olav Christopher Jenssen – Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection

Press release   •   Apr 29, 2019 12:11 UTC

Olav Christopher Jenssen – Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection
Exhibition Period: May 3 — September 15 2019


Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954) got his breakthrough at the exhibition Documenta IX in 1992 and has with his abstract paintings become an internationally recognized artist.

Jenssen has since the early 1980s developed an abstract expressionist style featuring a systematic exploration of form and colour. His works range from the figuration of the 1980s to a variety of approaches to abstract painting, from spontaneously organic shapes to more calculated geometrical forms, always focusing on colour, space, surface and material. Jenssen’s non-figurative paintings are characterized by an energetic, intense relationship with colour, often with a complex surface treatment. His colours vary from bright, strong, nearly fluorescent hues to milder pastels. His compositions and colour fields are often reminiscent of landscape-inspired shapes like mountains and horizons, or as Jenssen himself has declared, like inner landscapes evoked by childhood memories.


In 1995, in a review in Aftenposten, the Norwegian art historian Ina Blom described Jenssen's paintings as a form of ‘memory technology’. This is a metaphor that the artist himself certainly invited us to make during his early years, specifically and literally in a series of paintings entitled Lack of Memory from 1991–92. Blom writes that ‘we live in a society where we don't have to remember or repeat information collectively because everything is written down and stored. The fact that these information systems have developed their own forgetfulness and impenetrability because of the unruly amount of information is just one example of our being more in love with the notion of memory than with actual information.’ Within the context of art, this primarily involves the co-existence of the past and the present. Painting – and art and poetry in general – offers this, not necessarily just as the ‘critical’ space of recent discourse. Rather, it involves a claim about a particular way of being in the world, a way of life that is neither naively optimistic nor neurotic, but relaxed and exuberant in the face of life’s visual wonder.
- Erlend Hammer, from his text in the exhibition’s mini catalogue


Through the years, the museum has had the privilege and pleasure to follow and document Jenssen’s artistic development closely, making him one of the best-represented artists in the Astrup Fearnley Collection. This exhibition includes a large number of works from a variety of periods, presenting a journey through his artistic career.


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The exhibition opens for our art club members Thursday May 2 at 18:00.
Before the opening there will be an Artist Talk with Olav Christopher Jenssen at 17:00 in the Kiefer Hall. 

Astrup Fearnley Museet is a private museum of contemporary art and has since its opening in 1993 been one of the most important art institutions in Oslo. The museum moved to Tjuvholmen in 2012, beautifully located by the Oslo Fjord in a building designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano. The museum shows changing exhibitions by leading international and Norwegian contemporary art and houses the Astrup Fearnley Collection. The collection is one of Norway’s most important and extensive private art collections, with iconic works by artists like Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer and Jeff Koons.

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