Leonard Rickhard: Between Construction and Collapse

Throughout a long artistic career, Leonard Rickhard has cultivated a distinctive, easily recognisable style—a visual signature all of its own within recent Norwegian art history. 

On January 7, 2024, Leonard Rickhard passed away after a short illness at the age of 78. With his passing, Norway lost one of its foremost artists.

“Painting, this old, weathered medium, carries the power to embrace our modern times.” – Leonard Rickhard

We visited Leonard Rickhard at his studio in Arendal in the spring of 2023

This exhibition both reviews an artistic practice spanning half a century, while demonstrating how Rickhard has tirelessly pursued his painterly project far into its sixth decade. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to experience the full breadth of Rickhard’s body of work, including several first renderings of his familiar motifs. Among the most recent works are new versions of the model plane constructor, a motif Rickhard has returned to for over forty years, as well as two monumental, site-specific paintings, which will be the most ambitious he’s ever created. 

Since the mid-1970s, Rickhard has repeated several subjects over and over in his paintings. The bird cabinet, the night painter, the model table, the birch forest, deserted barracks, and workers’ sheds all appear in his paintings multiple times throughout his career. The exhibition takes as its point of departure this iterative aspect of Rickhard’s body of work. Through a sequence of adjacent galleries, the exhibition delves into an iconic selection of motifs; images which often indicate an underlying psychological and political gravity. Many of these paintings process memories—recollections from the artist’s own childhood in the immediate aftermath of World War II, expressed in images where the unsaid and unspoken, rather than the expressly political, takes center stage. 

Leonard Rickhard (1945–2024) lived and worked in Arendal, Norway. He was educated at the National Academy of Applied Arts and the National Academy of Fine Arts (Oslo, Norway, 1966–1972). Earlier solo exhibitions include, among others, Trondheim Kunstmuseum (2020), ARoS (2016), Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall (2012), Festspillutstillingen, Bergen Kunsthall (2009), Sørlandet Kunstmuseum (2005), Astrup Fearnley Museet (2001), and Lillehammer Kunstmuseum (1996).   

The exhibition is curated by Solveig Øvstebø

Our exhibition brochure can be read here

What’s on

Panel and finissage | Leonard Rickhard

Welcome to this panel discussion with Solveig Øvstebø, Jan Freuchen and Johanne Hestvold on Leonard Rickhard’s influence on the Norwegian contemporary art scene.

After the conversation at 19:15 the exhibition will be open to the public and refreshments will be served. Both the panel and the finissage are free and open for all, but sign up required. Limited capacity.