Olav Christopher Jenssen

Sortland, Norway
1954

Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954 Sortland, Norway) is one of the foremost artists of his generation from the Nordic countries and has gained international recognition for his distinctive and multifaceted paintings, as well as for his idiosyncratic sculptures. His production includes drawing, watercolor, graphic works, book illustration and publications. Working simultaneously with multiple series and mediums, Jenssen alternates between the different works mentally and physically; from informal and rapidly painted pictures to more strict and formal paintings, in monumental as well as intimate formats. Always exploring and adopting new methods and techniques, his works contain both continuity and diversity, therein emerging a rich visual vocabulary. The paintings open up a philosophical space for dialogue and reflection, encouraging the viewer to unveil strata of paint and decipher cryptic symbols, as on a journey through the history of abstract painting.

Jenssen lives and works in Berlin and in Lya, Sweden, and has since 2007 held a professorship at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig in Germany. He is represented in important public collections, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Centre Pompidou, Paris and The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo. He has had major exhibitions at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2019); Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2010); and Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2003). Recent exhibitions include Estragon Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2018); Recent works Saarlandmuseum, Saarbrücken (2014); and Journal – works on paper 1979-2012 Henie Onstad Art Centre, Høvikodden (2013).

Photo: Selma Jenssen / Courtesy Galleri Riis.