Acrylic on Canvas, from my second one man show 1985.
This painting of Hanne, whom I shared studio with at Grûnerløkka, was part of my second solo exhibition. Yes I had both solo exhibitions and group exhibitions at Kunstforeninger (in english an kunstforening is same as an art society or art association), before these first in Oslo, but as said before - I don't find them important. So since I'm responsible for my own art, I should also be responsible for my own artistic timeline. Let this be a strong official warning to art historians after I'm gone: I will haunt you if you try (-:
One of the real hot places in Oslo in the mid eighties was the Cafe-restaurant and Gallery Teatergaten. It was run by a nice sweede and his norwegian partner, the latter was later appointed as responsible for the restaurant at Kunstnernes Hus (Norway's largest gallery under the direction of artists - served as a major center for exhibits of Norwegian and international contemporary art). They also had a chief who came from the famous restaurant Annen Etage, so here one could order the best cuisses de grenouille (frog's leg) and escargots, along with good wine and drinks. Just down the road was the location for the three largest national newspapers. Add the fact that restaurants and bars had to close at a certain time in the evening in the eighties, but not for Teatergaten, it operated as an illegal night club. What a fantastic place for my second exhibition! They actually stayed open for quite some years, that is until one of the news dogs discovered that the news hunger became stronger than his hunger for great cuisine and drinks - so he wrote an article in the newspaper and exposed the illegal night club. The journalist had been a frequest guest, but the fact is, never totally trust a news dog ...
In this gallery-illegal-night-club, filled with black-and-white-paintings, this painting of Hanne was shown in public for the first time.
This solo exhibition had several portraits as large as this, and also a triptych (three-fold) along with a painting of two women hanging in Rafael style on the bar counter. All paintings were painted in black and white, as on this stage of creating pictures,, colours would just have been decoration on the top.
After this exhibition I stopped totally to use black pigments. It was actually a late night during the exhibition period that the important artist Ryszard Warsinski advised me to mix my own black from colours, and totally leave black pigments. Since then I never done anything else. Warsinski provided me with one of the two advices from fellow artists I actually have followed. The other advice came from Lars Tiller who in his time was a student of Fernand Léger in Paris. Lars showed me that red could be 'far away' and blue 'close', opposite of what is standard colour teachings. To these two artists - for the two things they learned me, I am always deeply grateful.
Back to the painting of Hanne, as this is the only painting from this exhibition I have a photo of. Honestly, I have never bothered to document my work, I don't even have newspapers presentation of any exhibition - even when a television station made a full hour program on me and my art work, I did not bother to see it. When I start a new work, all what I have done before is irrelevant for me. This site is in fact the first time ever that I have tried to look back on what I did before. So yes, this is the only painting that I know exactly how it look like from this solo exhibition. But it's another small story to this painting as well, and the reason why I got this photo.
While I lived in Cairo, one day it came an email from Norway in my inbox. I opened the mail, and a photo of this painting was attached with the mail. In the text there was a man called Robert who asked me the question if it was me who had done this painting? Well, I answered that I had to admit that I was the person behind this painting, and I guess I asked how he ended up with this painting. He told me that he and his wife had often visited the Savoy Hotel that was located on the other side of the street from the National Gallery in Oslo. In the reception of Savoy Hotel, the painting of Hanne was hanging. When the previous company that operated the Savoy went bankrupt, Robert and his wife was able to purchase the painting. Hearing that story, I sometimes wonder what lifestory other of my painting have had. Still, no wonder Hanne had an interesting life story, she who starter her journey in an illegal night club.
Front cover on the Magazine Vannbæreren, Karlsøya, Norway 1974 and 1975
Jane's painting - from the first One Man Show, Oslo, Norway 1984
Hanne - from the second One Man Show, Oslo, Norway 1985
Gesamtkunstwerk, Oslo, Norway 1989