Kjell Erik Killi Olsen – Behind the gate


August 25 – September 14, 2013

We are pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by Kjell Erik Killi Olsen in Germany. At Loock Galerie Olsen will show a series of twenty new abstract paintings. 

Kjell Erik Killi Olsen has for many years distinguished himself as one of the most important artists in Norway. Kjell Erik Killi Olsen had his breakthrough with a series of works that were produced for a number of exhibitions in New York from the mid 80s. In a climate characterized by a new focus on painting, with the emergence of "Bad painting" and "New expressionism", his style with grotesque, naive figures in bright colors soon won recognition. Killi Olsen combined two-and three-dimensional expression, where the paintings could easily have sculptures mounted on their surfaces, while freestanding sculptures in papier-m–ché or polyester could get a painterly treatment. Central to the motifs was an almost scenic treatment of animal and human forms that occur in a variety of social tableaus. With helpless figures detained in a mental terrain characterized by anxiety, one can easily recognize the artist's identification with other peoples bad fate. 

This preoccupation with social interaction and vulnerable characters from society's underbelly has never left Killi Olsen's artistic practice. Today the paintings are more abstract, and are composed of layer by layer of detailed patterns, painstakingly produced by means of small, meticulous brushstrokes. The patterns are intense and often produced in bright colour combinations. He has taken the liberty of combining artistic virtuosity with a deliberately “deskilled–€ presentation. Contemplating the frenzied nature of these paintings makes one think of “outsider art–€, in other words art created by people outside the world of institutional art. Killi Olsen’s new paintings have links to this movement and thereby once again draw on the voice of society’s outsiders.

This is Kjell Erik Killi Olsen's first show with us and his first solo exhibition in Germany. In recent years, his works have been shown at solo exhibitions at Galleri Erik Steen, Oslo (2011), Aalesund’s Art Association (2009), Trondheim Art Museum (2007), The Art Museum of Northern Norway (2007), The Henie Onstad Art Centre (2005), Rogaland Art Museum (with Michael Kvium, 2004), Galleri Wang (2004), Pinacoteco do Estado, São Paulo (2003) and Esbjerg Art Museum (with Michael Kvium, 2003). Kjell Erik Killi Olsen also exhibited works during the Bergen International Festival in 1995 and represented Norway at the Biennial in São Paulo in 1989. Works by Killi Olsen feature in the collections of The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Trondheim Art Museum, Bergen Art Museum, Lillehammer Art Museum, Rogaland Art Museum and Gothenburg Art Museum. 

Kjell Erik Killi Olsen (born 1952) lives and works in Norway and France.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Loock Galerie, Berlin, and Kaare Berntsen Contemporary, Oslo.

We thank The Norwegian Embassy in Berlin for the kind support.