Hanne Borchgrevink

OSL series: SOUND and IMAGE

OSL contemporary is proud to present the exhibition LYD og BILDE (SOUND and IMAGE) by the Norwegian artist Hanne Borchgrevink (1951). The exhibition is part of OSL series, the gallery’s new exhibition platform, running parallel to the gallery’s regular programme. LYD og BILDE is Borchgrevink’s first exhibition at OSL contemporary.

Borchgrevink is one of Norway’s leading painters, and has explored the boundaries of colour and form with her paintings and woodcuts since the 1970s. Over time, the artist has minimised her motivic range, concentrating on a set of basic shapes revolved around the silhouette of a house. For Borchgrevink, it is the eternal questions of painting that are in focus. She works in the intersection of abstraction and figuration, and experiments with the viewer’s perception of colours and forms. She follows a systematic approach, where one element remains constant, by for example repeating a motif, while changing the other elements of the picture, such as the technique, format, colour or surface treatment.

Borchgrevink’s work fits comfortably within the modernist tradition, but recent major solo exhibitions at Bergen Kunsthall (Bergen International Festival 2011) and Lillehammer Kunstmuseum (2016) have underlined Borchgrevink’s affinity with conceptual art. From an idea-centred starting point, she conducts perceptual colour experiments. She works methodically and analytically with the categories colour, surface and perception, through numerous repetitions of the same subject.

In her project for OSL series, LYD og BILDE, Borchgrevink incorporates music to explore whether an image can be described with sound so that the beholder experiences the connection between sound and image. Borchgrevink has invited 12 composers/sound artists/musicians to describe three woodcuts that are variants of the same motif – the silhouette of a house on a red background. The first house is light, the second a darker grey, and the third black. Borchgrevink is curious about possible similar, distinguishing features when 12 people independently describe the same image.

The three woodcuts are shown along with headphones, so that the gallery visitors can listen to 12 three-minute soundtracks. During the private view on November 2nd, and the final day of the exhibition, the soundtracks will be played aloud in the gallery. In addition, Borchgrevink is showing a 90-piece edition of woodcuts in smaller formats, that are variants of the three main woodcuts on view. The small editions appear as a visual echo of the larger woodcuts and soundtracks: Image – sound – image.

The use of sound to describe images is a long-standing interest of Borchgrevink, and sound descriptions were part of the preparatory stages for both her exhibitions in Bergen and Lillehammer, without becoming part of the final exhibitions. In LYD og BILDE, Borchgrevink has employed her investigations into perception of colours and shades, and repetitions of motifs, and has included the beholder’s aural sense through sound descriptions. She explores how variations over a theme in different sensorial media is perceived by the gallery visitors: Will the different soundtracks, made by different composers, sound alike? Or will they complete each other? Will the beholder sense and understand that the soundtracks portray the same image?

The invited composers, sound artists and musicians have all previously met Borchgrevink, and seen her work. They vary in gender, age, form of expression, and use of sound sources: Frode Haltli (b. 1975, accordion); Anders Jormin (b. 1957, contrabass); Øystein Wyller Odden (b. 1983, fuse box and pipe organ in Nes Church, co-performer Hanne Grieg Hermansen); Hild Borchgrevink (b. 1975, 3 sheep bells); Lene Grenager (b. 1969, cello); Sven Lyder Kahrs (b. 1959, saxophone, played by Rolf-Erik Nystrøm); Per Christian Revholt (b. 1951, piano); Jan Martin Smørdal (b. 1978, guitar); Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (b. 1973, voice); Sinikka Langeland (b. 1961, two kanteles); Per Anders Buen Garnås (b. 1980, Hardanger fiddle); Hans Hulbækmo (b. 1989, drums/ percussion, co-performer Heiða Karine Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck).

Hanne Borchgrevink lives and works in Finnskogen in Hedmark. She trained at the Norwegian School of Art and Design (1971-74) and the National Academy of Art (1974-79) under Ludvig Eikaas and Arne Malmedal. She made her painterly debut at the National Annual Autumn Exhibition in 1978 with a painting of a house. Past solo exhibitions include: Lillehammer Kunstmuseum (2000 and 2016), Bomuldsfabriken, Arendal (2001), Galleri Dobloug, Oslo (between 1981 and 2003), and Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo (1998 and 2007). She exhibited at Bergen International Festival in 2011. Her works have been acquired by key private and public collections in Norway and abroad, including the Norwegian National Museum, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum and the British Museum.