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Slik du forlater et bål

Sverre Bjertnæs

April 13 – May 6, 2023

Press Release

Galleri Brandstrup is proud to present "Slik du forlater et bål", a solo presentation by Sverre Bjertnæs. The exhibition will open on Thursday, April 13th at 6 pm. “Slik du forlater et bål " (How you leave a bonfire) is an exhibition of oil paintings on canvas, as well as bronze sculptures. The presentation will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring text written by author Carl Frode Tiller.

In January 2022, Sverre Bjertnæs adopted a new organizational approach for his works. After exhibiting for 30 years with a near-chaotic expression that spanned various media, Bjertnæs began marking all new paintings with a Roman numeral to intentionally indicate a before and after. With this, he aims to signal a return to an artistic practice centred around painting. The series commenced with "Image no. I, the child," which is a central part of this presentation.

The exhibition's title is taken from a poem by Hans Børli. While the poem deals with death as the ultimate departure, Bjertnæs' new works have a more optimistic attitude towards departure as a new beginning. The paintings in the exhibition started as abstract motifs and were then reworked several times before the final motif emerged, giving them a sense of relating to tapestry and inviting an experience that is primarily characterized by color, line, and texture.

At his solo exhibition « Hvilende hode» at Galleri Brandstrup in 2019, Bjertnæs began a long-term project, inviting a writer to write texts for the exhibited artworks to be published in an accompanying catalogue. The first writer was Dag Solstad, followed by Sumaya Jirde Ali in 2021 for the exhibition «Du finnes». For the upcoming exhibition "Slik du forlater et bål”, Carl Frode Tiller has written free interpretations inspired by Bjertnæs' paintings and sculptures.

Carl Frode Tiller, born in 1970, is a Norwegian author who studied history. He received critical acclaim for his debut novel "Skråninga" in 2001, winning Tarjei Vesaas' debutantpris and P2-lytternes romanpris, and receiving a nomination for the Brage Prize. He has since won numerous awards for his novels, including the Brage Prize, the European Union Prize for Literature, and the Kritikerprisen. His works have been adapted for theatre and have been translated into 19 languages.

Sverre Bjertnæs (born 1976) studied at the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo and then continued his education at the AKI Academy of Fine Art in Enschede, Holland. His paintings often feature portraits that combine a playful tone with images of complex relationships. In recent years, these perspectives have formed a unique language that balances classical figuration with conceptual experimentation, focusing on the communication between the artwork and the viewer as an aesthetic experience.

Bjertnæs' first solo exhibition was held at the Norwegian gallery Anarchist Fraction, run by Bjarne Melgaard, in 2000. In recent years, Bjertnæs has worked with painting, drawing, film, and wood and bronze sculptures, resulting in a maximalist approach to curation, where each exhibition creates a unique world that enhances the aesthetic experience. In January 2014, Bjertnæs held a highly acclaimed solo exhibition at the Stenersen Museum in Oslo, followed by his first solo presentation at Gallery Brandstrup "Now. Nothing. Two" in 2015. Since then, Bjertnæs has had major solo presentations at, among others, the Trondheim Art Museum, the Nordnorsk Art Museum, and the Vestfold Haugar Museum, as well as gallery exhibitions in Norway, New York, Berlin and London. In 2024, Bjertnæs is poised to make history as the first artist to have a solo show that will utilize the entire exhibition area of Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium.