PER INGE BJØRLO
Oct 20. 2011 - Feb 26. 2012
“For more than thirty years, Bjørlo has been a key player on the Norwegian art scene. In his many exhibitions both at home and abroad, he has developed a complex and highly persuasive artistic production, which we are now proud to present at Henie Onstad Art Centre,” says the curator, Caroline Ugelstad.
The exhibition “Per Inge Bjørlo” at Henie Onstad Art Centre in autumn 2011 is the first major retrospective devoted to the artist. It presents over fifty works in a range of media including printmaking, sculpture, painting and drawing, together with documentary material about, among other things, the installation Indre Rom I (Inner Room I).
Per Inge Bjørlo, www.dumskap.no/ Mor du luktar så piss i dag, 2011. Foto: Anders Sune Berg.
Bjørlo’s artistic temperament is one of profound seriousness. He addresses themes such as suffering, pain and fear in materials of great physical density and by challenging himself as an artist to the limits of his endurance. His art has deep personal roots, and he has from the very beginning advocated a form of art with existential resonance. In his large-format works, he emphasises physicality and sensuousness.
Collaborations with industry
Two geographical settings have strongly influenced Per Inge Bjørlo’s art: Spjelkavik in Sunnmøre, where he grew up as a child, and Hønefoss, where he has lived since the 1980s. At Hønefoss, the artist has developed a unique working relationship with industry. His collaboration with Follum Fabrikker, a wood processing enterprise, for instance, has enabled him to complete large-scale and technically challenging projects that would have been all but impossible without their help.
A breakthrough for installation art in Norway
Bjørlo’s Indre Rom I (Inner Room I), presented at Henie Onstad Art Centre in 1984, has become legendary in the history of recent Norwegian contemporary art. With its encompassing use of pungent rubber materials, this installation set the tone for future works. Bjørlo’s rubber room is also regarded as a turning point in Norwegian installation art.
Bjørlo is responsible for several major art projects in public spaces. These are less personal and more immediately accessible than the privately exhibited works. The project Bjørlo is best known for is Alexis at Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport, which was unveiled in 1998. With a combined weight of around seven tons, Alexis consists of six large steel sculptures, five of which are dotted around the airport concourse, while the sixth confronts travellers taking the high-speed rail-link to central Oslo.
When the United Nations wanted to revamp its headquarters in New York, it invited four sculptors to compete with proposals for a major public art work. As one of the four invited artists, Bjørlo created Larger Body. Criticised for self-aggrandisement, the UN decided to cancel the competition, with the result that, in 2008, Larger Body eventually found its way to Henie Onstad Art Centre, where it now stands in front of the main entrance.
Curator / book editor: Caroline Ugelstad
Per Inge Bjørlo, Sjølvportrett, 2009.