Galleri Brandstrup is proud to present a solo exhibition by the late Norwegian artist Per Kleiva (1931-2017) in celebration of the artists 90-year birthday.
The exhibition, titled Eit glimt av Per Kleiva (A glimpse of Per Kleiva) opens on March 16 at 6pm and will feature works created from the 1960s up to the 2000s. Many of the works were a part of the Interscandinavian pavillion in Sao Paolo in 1983.
Per Kleiva and Galleri Brandstrup had a longstanding partnership, and we are delighted to be able to show these central works, marking a unique artistry with this exhibition which will be on view for 10 days.
Text by: Thomas Flor, Editor and co-author of Per Kleiva - Painting and Sculpture. Press Forlag 2018.
Per Kleiva is often referred to as a painter and graphic artist, but he also created three-dimensional artworks. His experimental approach throughout his artistic career resulted in a number of works that stood out in the local art scene. Kleiva's so-called object sculptures emerged from the material images he created after experiencing American pop art in the mid-1960s. Objects found at scrap dealers or new synthetic materials were reused in assemblages that, despite their direct or ironic expression, could be experienced in multiple ways.
During the second half of the 1970s, both Per Kleiva's material images and sculptural objects were given a more contemporary meaning, which was fully demonstrated in his large retrospective exhibitions in Oslo, Stavanger, and the Bergen Festival Exhibition in 1980. Central to these exhibitions were freestanding sculptural echoes of real constructions executed in organically polished birch. One of these was "Samisk bustad anno 1980" (Sami dwelling in 1980). Here, Kleiva took a direct stance on the ongoing Alta conflict, where Norwegian authorities' disregard for Sami self-determination was a central issue, which has since become relevant again. The work was a tent formation where the skin that is usually held in place by poles was replaced by rows of barbed wire. The use of this hostile fencing material was also connected to other works Kleiva showed in the exhibitions. The material image "Wide Screen" was directly addressed to South Africa's apartheid regime, while other works had a more subtle narrative. On the floor in front of the acrylic painting "Innerst i hjertet har eg min forstand - tileigna Georg Johannesen" (In the depths of my heart, I have my reason - dedicated to Georg Johannesen) lay an object where a heart-shaped form created from coiled barbed wire was hidden inside a square iron frame.
Per Kleiva was selected to represent Norway at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1983, where his sculptural works made of barbed wire and wood were perceived as important contributions in a continent that had hundreds of Alta conflicts at the time. However, the other paintings he exhibited in Brazil and later in Mexico City also problematized environmental struggles and humanity's challenges, such as the triptych "Et eller annet fortapt sted" (Somewhere Lost).
When Per Kleiva's major solo exhibition opened at the Henie Onstad Art Center in 1984, he presented both new and old paintings, material images, and sculptures. On this occasion, he had painted the light birch poles that formed the structure of his lavvu black, perhaps as a representation of the Sami culture being burnt out or with regard to their lost battle against the Norwegian state. A new freestanding sculpture called "Eg skulle ynskje at du tok deg tid til å ofre ein tanke på Nikolai Astrup" (I wish you would take the time to think about Nikolai Astrup) was a stripped-down wooden form that resembled the famous painting by the artist mentioned in the lengthy title.