Exhibitions 2007

Behind the window - Norwegian Interiors from Tidemand to Tandberg
The exhibition is devoted to interior paintings done by renowned Norwegian artists: Interiors, which is the background for a story, the symbolically charged knickknacks, the backdrop for private actions or found in the description of "home sweet home". As a visitor, you may feel that you are "peeking a little" and breaking into the private sphere, and maybe you will also think thoughts like, "does my home reveal my identity and history"?
Kistefos-Museet wanted this exhibition to illustrate how a sample of Norwegian artists have dealt with the interiors for 150 years.

Among the artists we find:

Harriet Backer
Christian Krohg
Eyolf Soot
Adolph Tidemand
Ida Lorentzen
Mikkel McAlinden
Rune Johansen

Curator: Arnt Fredheim

Dansen gjennom skuggeheimen
Aksel Waldemar Johannessen - the working class painter

Aksel Waldemar Johannessen was born in 1880 and grew up in Kampen; a working class area in old Kristiania (Oslo). After his education at the Royal Drawing School in Kristiania and four years as a wood carver in Gjøvik, Johannessen became The Norwegian Theatre's first head of costume design. Here, he came into contact with "the national movement" and its spiritual leaders, Arne and Hulda Garborg. Through Hulda, Johannessen became interested in national costume traditions. Together with his wife Anna, he founded the Heimen Husflid in 1912.

At the same time,Johannessen also painted several paintings with socially realistic motifs. The impetus was to process his own feelings and comment on what he perceived as injustices and imbalances in society.
Johannessen had periodically major alcohol problems. One autumn day in 1922, he was found terrible injuried in a gutter. After a brief stay at Ullevål hospital, he died, leaving a wife suffering from cancer and two minor daughters.

In the winter of 1922-1923,  a debut- and memorial exhibition was arranged at Blomqvist Kunsthandel in Kristiania. The reception was mixed, but the art critic Jappe Nilssen, Edvard Munch and Gustav Vigeland gave appreciative reviews. Soon after the exhibition, Johannessen's wife died. The images were then seized by the Public Guardian's Office, and, thus, they were gone from the history of art for a long time.

In 1990, Haakon Mehren came across some of Johannessen's paintings. This was the beginning of a comprehensive effort , which resulted in Mehren's book Aksel Waldemar Johannessen. Our forgotten painter (1992). As a part of the project, Mehren reconstructed the previous exhibition at Blomqvist Kunsthandel in 1992. The exhibition continued to museums in Skien, Stavanger and Bergen, before being shown in Italy, Austria and Germany. Over 200 000 visitors saw the exhibition.
In 2007, Arnulf Øverland Gallery in Kristiansund exhibited a new Johannessen exhibition. It caused quite a stir, and was afterwards transferred to Blomqvist Kunsthandel. Kistefos-Museet showed, in the autumn of 2007, the exhibition "Dansen gjennom Skuggeheimen." In addition to paintings from the aforementioned exhibits, the exhibition displayed paintings that had never before been showed. The paintings are owned by Christen Sveaas and the family of Haakon Mehren.
The motifs of Aksel Waldemar Johannessen's art are taken from the working class' daily life around 1915. He tells of log drivers, the marching industrial workers and their wives. He was friends with beggars, street boys and prostitutes and understood their difficult situation. He knew their fates as he knew the curses of alcohol - many of the pictorial motifs are as if they have been taken out of the books of Oskar Braaten.
The worker poet Kristofer Uppdal major work Dansen gjennom skuggeheimen (1911-1924) also portrays the conflicts between farming communities and the industrial society. Uppdal was Johannessen's best friend and drinking buddy. The two were spiritual soulmates and working class artistic geniuses, but both perished as their time was not ready for their major projects.
In Johannessen's time, there was a vibrant industrial environment on Kistefoss, where many of the dramas he portrayed unfolded. In 1930, A/S Kistefos Træsliberi was heavily affected by the Randsfjord conflict, which fortified Jevnaker as "Oppland's red corner". Thus, Aksel Waldemar Johannessen world has a deep resonance here at Kistefoss.
With this exhibition, completely new paths were trodden, while still keeping with the correct historical overview.
Wood pulp for newspapers and magazines was produced at Kistefoss, and precisely these media formed the basis for the exhibition Pulp 11.

The exhibition showed artists' relationship with newspapers and magazines. This was a new exhibition form, and an exciting contribution, which perhaps opened many of the faithful visitors' eyes to a new art form and a new way of presenting art? Edvard Munch and Andy Warhol were two of eleven artists who were represented in this exciting exhibition.

Curators: Jan Walaker og Arnt Fredheim


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