Benedikte Holen on Per Inge Bjørlo

Benedikte Holen, curator and the director of the fine arts department at Viti, on Per Inge Bjørlo and his sculpture Livet (Kols), 2008, in the Astrup Fearnley Collection display. 

Free and open for all. Limited capacity, sign up required. Will be held in English

The event will take place in our collection galleries next to Per Inge Bjørlo’s sculpture Livet (Kols). It will begin with a short presentation by Benedikte Holen about the artist’s practice and his recent exhibition at Jugendstilsenteret and KUBE in Ålesund. It will then turn into a conversation between Holen and Astrup Fearnley Museet’s curator Owen Martin, during which time questions from the audience will be encouraged. A close reading of Bjørlo’s work will be encouraged.

Per Inge Bjørlo (born 1952 in Ålesund; lives and works in Hønefoss) has occupied a central position in Norwegian practice since the 1980s, when he created a series of five installations titled Indre rom (Inner spaces). These installations contained much of what has come to define his later work: an expressive exploration of materials, where the exterior of the work reflects an inner, psychological state or emotion. His sculptural works convey a distinct existential weight, the heavy materials often reflecting themes of suffering, pain and fear. Livet (Kols) is a sculpture in bright stainless steel. The work’s numerous feet are positioned on spikes on the ground, the sculpture extending upwards in the space before crookedly leaning over a smaller heap of more spikes on the floor. The work is one of several portraits of the artist’s mother, all made during the same period. The spikes are meant to awaken the viewer, suggesting that one has to be alert to the work of art as well as to life itself. Addressing existential experiences, the work is suggestive of the fragility of life. 

Benedikte Holen (b.1985) has been the director of the fine arts department at Viti since 2021. From 2013 to 2021, she served as a curator at Jugendstilsenteret and KUBE, where she has collaborated with numerous artists to develop solo and group exhibitions, public programs as well as projects in public spaces. Her most recent exhibition was “Per Inge Bjørlo: Glass, Earth, Fire” at Jugendstilsenteret and KUBE (2023/24), co-curated with Solfrid Otterholm. Holen has authored and edited several essays and exhibition publications. In addition to experience from various board positions within the art field, she has been a freelance writer, guest lecturer, and examiner. Holen has participated in residencies as curator-in-residence at ISCP in New York (2018) and Laznia Center for Contemporary Art in Gdansk (2019). She holds an MA in Art History from the University of Bergen (2011) and a degree in Creative Curating from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (2014). 

Børre Sæthre, My Private Sky, 2001. Exhibition view, Before Tomorrow. © Astrup Fearnley Museet, 2023. Photo: Christian Øen.

Astrup Fearnley Collection

The Astrup Fearnley Collection is one of Europe’s most comprehensive collections of international contemporary art.