Kjell Nupen

Three Paintings by Kjell Nupen

Kjell Nupen was a Norwegian contemporary artist who had his professional breakthrough very early. He studied at the Statens Kunstakademi. Nupen experienced success early on, and at the age of just 19, his art was bought by Riksgalleriet, Nasjonalgalleriet and Norsk Kulturråd. His younger artistic years were coloured by radical political expressions influenced by the turbulent political times that existed in Europe.

During his time in Düsseldorf, Kjell Nupen embraced the idea, so present at the academy, that art should mean something. This has resulted in a few symbols he has immersed himself in over the years, such as: the boat (endless journey), car wrecks (nature morte), eagle in flight, tree trunks (homestead),  and the lighthouse (sentimental journey).

During the 1980s human figures were no longer prominent in Nupen’s work,  replaced by motifs from nature. Nupen’s references to Edvard Munch, Matisse, and Eadweard Muybridge can be seen in many of his paintings such as “Flygende over Vann”. Nupen was especially known for his use of the color blue.

Edward Munch

Edward Munch, “Bathing Men”, 1907, Oil on Canvas, 81 x 90 Inches, Ateneum, Helsinki, Finland

“Bathing Men” is one of the later works of expressionist artist and printer Edward Munch. Born in Norway in 1863, Munch played a major role in German Expressionism and the art form that later followed; namely because of the strong mental anquish that was displayed in many of his works.

Many of Munch’s works depict life and death scenes, love, and terror. The patterns in his work would often focus on the feeling of loneliness. These emotions were depicted by the contrasting lines, the darker colors, blocks of color, somber tones, and a concise and exaggerated form, which depicted the darker side of the art which he was designing. Munch, a close contemporary of Sigmund Freud, is often and rightly compared with Van Gogh, who was one of the first artists to paint what the French artist called “the mysterious centers of the mind.”

Gol Stavkirke

Gol Stavkirke, Oslo, Norway, 1212 AD

Gol Stave Church (Gol Stavkirke) is a stave church originally from Gol, Hallingdal, Norway. It is now located in the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy in Oslo, Norway. When the city built a new church around 1880, it was decided to demolish the old stave church. It was saved from destruction by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments, which bought the materials in order to re-erect the church elsewhere.

It was acquired by King Oscar II, who financed its relocation and restoration as the central building of his private open-air museum near Oslo. The restoration, overseen by architect Waldemar Hansteen, was completed in 1885. In 1907 this early open air museum, the world’s first, was merged with the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, which now manages the stave church, still nominally the property of the reigning monarch. The church was dated to 1212 by the characteristic patterns of the annual growth rings in the timber construction.

A modern replica of the Gol Stave Church is in the mediaval park Gordarike. The copy was built in the 1980s and consecrated by the bishop of Tunsberg in 1994. In the summer evening on Wednesdays there is a devotional and sometimes musical performance. The church is often used for weddings. The woodwork inside the church is adorned with beautiful carvings and details.

Permafrost’s 100 Series Wooden Racer

Permafrost’s 100 Series Wooden Racer

Permafrost is a Norwegian industrial design studio working in many fields: furniture, computer design, lighting, industrial and interior design, and marketing. The studio was formed by four Norwegian industrial designers: Andreas Murray (b: 1975), Eivind Halseth (b: 1972), Oskar Johansen (b: 1974) and Tore Vinje Brustad (b: 1976). They  all graduated from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in 1999 and set up Permafrost in 2000.

Ivar Bjornson and Einar Selvik, “Skalden’s Song- Til Tore Hund”

Ivar Bjornson and Einar Selvik, “Skalden’s Song- Til Tore Hund”, from the Album “Skuggsja”

Ørna har stupt
i gløym-svevn kvilar
Kråka har kraksa i ørnereiret
Trudd seg orna lik
vann du aldri
låk var din løn
Brottkongens bane

The eagle has fallen
resting in forgetfull sleep
The crow has croaked in the eagle’s nest
Believing itself equal
You never won
Poor was the pay
Slayer of the king of shame

Ane Brun, “Changing of the Seasons”

Ane Brun, “Changing of the Seasons”

If you do not know about Ane Brun, Check out her music. This Norwegian artist is in my list of top ten female vocalists and song writers. I have been a fan ever since hearing her sing “The Opening”, the theme song of “Wallander”, one of the better detective series.

“Wallander” is available in an British version with Kenneth Branagh, which is a good series. However, I favor the original Swedish series starring Henning Mankell, which is less ‘polished’ and, to me, more intense in emotion.

The Attack!

Artist Unknown, (The Attack!)

The kraken is a enormous mythical cephalopod-like sea monster in Scandinavian folklore. According to Norse sagas, the kraken terrorized sailors off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. It has been a staple of superstitions and legends through the centuries, becoming a common ocean-dwelling monster in fictional works.

The word ‘kraken’ comes from the Swedish and Norwegian language, the definite form of the word “krake’ denoting an unhealthy animal or smoething twisted. ‘Krake’ (plural) and ‘kraken’ (singular) in modern German means ‘octopus’. ‘Kraken is also an old euphemism in Swedish for whales, a word once believed that would summon whales.

Christoph Schaarschmidt

Christoph Schaarschmidt, Light Trails at Bø, More og Romsdal, Norway

“I took this photo in July 2014 at Trollstigen in Norway. Standing there alone in the fog, I was waiting for the view to become clear. And then it happened, the fog disappeared and though it was 1 am already, one car came slowly up the steep serpentines. It was my dream for a long time to take a photo of lighttrails like this in Norway – and it was just an awesome feeling that it worked out on the most beautiful and famous street. A few minutes later the fog returned, even thicker than before.” – Christoph Schaarschmidt

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest 2016

Edward Munch

Edvard Munch, Six Paintings of the “Bathers” Series

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century. One of his most well-known works is The Scream of 1893.

The theme of redemption sounded earlier in Munch’s “Golgotha” painted in 1900 is explored in the “Bathing and Regeneration” series of  Munch’s work. These are primarily paintings of male bathers enjoying the healthful benefits of fresh air, sunshine and invigorating sea bathing—all while exercising in the nude and displaying their virility. Munch had begun visiting Norwegian spas in 1899 in pursuit of a cure for his own physical and psychiatric ailments, and it was at this time that he began to paint these scenes of bathing men.

Sköll and Hati

Dobie, “Sköll and Hati”

In light of the super blood moon eclipse from this week, here’s the Norse mythological tale about two wolves who wish to eat the Sun and Moon.

The monstrous wolf Fenrir had two sons; Sköll (Old Norse for “Treachery”) and Hati (“He Who Hates, Enemy”).

Sköll chases the Sun, and Hati, running ahead of the Sun, goes after the Moon. When either are caught, there is an eclipse. When this happens, Vikings used to rush to rescue the Sun or Moon by making as much noise as they can in hopes of scaring off the wolves.

Illustration by Dobie

Christer Karlstad

Paintings by Christer Karlstad

Christer Karlstad was born in Raelingen, Norway and lives and works in Drammen, Norway. He has studied at The Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts and Glasgow School of Art. His works have been acquired by Kistefos-Museet, Norway’s central bank, Statoil and Arts Council Norway, and has been commissioned by Refsnes Gods.

Norwegian painter Christer Karlstad’s constructed and ambiguous scenario freely engages in myths, symbols and archetypes, as this is how he sees and understands the world.