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 shows and group exhibitions at Kunstforeninger (in English a kunstforening is same as an art society or art association), before these first in Oslo, but as said before - I don't find them essential. So since I'm responsible for my art, I should also be accountable for my artistic timeline. Let this be a robust 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 owned by a nice Swedish person and his Norwegian partner; the latter later became responsible for the restaurant at Kunstnernes Hus (Norway's largest gallery under the direction of artists - served as a significant centre 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 specific time in the evening in the eighties, but not for Teatergaten, and it operated as an illegal nightclub. What a fantastic place for my second exhibition! They stayed open for quite some years, that is until one of the news dogs discovered that the news hunger became stronger than his appetite for excellent cuisine and drinks - so he wrote an article in the newspaper and exposed the illegal nightclub. The journalist had been a frequent guest, but the fact is, never entirely 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 in this stage of creating pictures, colours would just have been decoration on the top.
After this exhibition, I stopped entirely to use black pigments. It was a late night during the exhibition period that the important artist Ryszard Warsinski advised me to mix my black from colours, and entirely leave black pigments. Since then I never did anything else. Warsinski provided me with one of the two advice from fellow artists I 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', the opposite of what is standard colour teachings. To these two artists - for the two things they taught me, I am always profoundly 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 show - even when a television station made a full hour program on me and my artwork, I did not bother to see it. When I start a new work, all that I have done before is irrelevant for me. This site is, in fact, the first time 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 looks 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 to the email. 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 were able to purchase the painting. Hearing that story, I sometimes wonder what life story other of my picture have had. Still, no wonder Hanne had an exciting life story, she who started her journey in an illegal nightclub.
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
My ART Today