We want to use cookies that improve your experience on our site, help us analyze site performance and usage, and enable us to show relevant marketing content.

We are launching a free membership for artists
Open today 11-17 (Restaurant 12-20)

Ornaments of the Soul

Ornamental Drawings in Norwegian Outsider Art
09.11.19 – 01.12.19

This exhibition presents ten artists and over thirty selected works from the collection of Trastad Samlinger, Sør-Troms Museum. The exhibition also features a selection of drawings made by patients at the former Dikemark Psychiatric Hospital in Asker. The exhibited works shed light on different positions of ornamental expression in Norwegian Outsider Art and give us a unique insight into the breadth and vitality of this genre. Together they explore four aspects of ornamentation related to nature, architecture, calligraphy and geometry.


Friday, November 8th

19:00-22:00 Exhibition opening

Saturday, November 9th

17:00-18:00 Lecture "Outsider Art- playful ornaments and horror escape" by curator Simone Ritter

18:00-20:00 Filmviewing at Kunstnernes Hus Cinema: " Between Madness and Art: The Prinzhorn Collection"

Om utstillingen

The genre Outsider Artdenotes astonishingly original works created by individuals experiencing difficult life circumstances. These can include mental illness or development disabilities. For certain gifted people, the situation can generate strong inclinations to express themselves visually. The ornament, as visual metaphor, plays an important role in this.

Drawing is a medium often used by those who practice Outsider Art: a pencil, felt pen, ballpoint pen and piece of paper are easily accessible whenever the creative urge arises. Throughout history, ornamentation has never lost relevance. From J.W. von Goethe, Alois Riegl and Wilhelm Worringer to Adolf Loos, ornaments have been discussed aesthetically and ethically. While Kant declared the ornament’s abstract non-purposiveness, the industrialization’s mass-production generated an excess of ornaments and formal emptiness. The Arts and Crafts Movement, however, sought to establish a gesamtkunstwerk– a situation in which art, labour and life form a unified whole. Such unity can be brought forth in the ornament’s arabesque.

This exhibition is curated by Simone Ritter, curator and department leader at Trastad samlinger/Sør-Troms Museum, and is part of the Drawing Triennial’s expanded programme Before and After the Line. This programme encourages a wider reflection upon drawing as a universally human form of expression and a tool for understanding the world and ourselves.

Trastad Samlinger is an art- and cultural historical museum situated in Kvæfjord, in a building formerly known as Pavilion 7, which was part of Northern Norway`s first institution for mentally handicapped people. In addition to focusing on the history of this institution, the museum also has a permanent exhibition in Trastad Gallery, presenting art made by people living in the institution, but also contemporary national and international Outsider-Art. Trastad Samlinger is the only institution in Norway, which actively collects, research and exhibit Outsider Art.


Ann-Mari Erichsen

Ann-Mari Erichsen is a self-taught artist who has been drawing since childhood. She draws on paper whit a black marke pen, adding colour later. Her motifs are full of intricate, colourful patterns of animals and people, folwers and insects, which are sometimes associated with quotes from lyrics or elsewhere. Bold colours and the catchy complexity in the pictures assosiated with surprising stories are reminiscent in a ornamental stil.

Johan Hansen

Johan Hansen was a self-taught outsider artist and preferred to work with typical Sami designs. Hansen grew up on Trastad Farm in Kvæfjord, the main institution for the mentally disabled children in Northern Norway from 1954-91. With a simple and accurate line, Johan Hansen drew landscapes with reindeer, elk, the Sami people, sledges and lavoos. Previously, as Sigvor Riksheim’s student, Johan also worked a lot with colours. He created small sculptures from clay. They are normally sculptures of reindeer and Sami in their respective traditional clothing. He chose his designs from the life on the plateau, the close contact with nature’s elements and animals. Johan Hansen worked at Trastad Products in Borkenes until his retirement. “Det har æ laga” (eng: “I have made this”) is a phrase he uses to mark that he is the artist behind the artwork.

Kris-Stian Klausen

Kris-Stian Klausen is a self-taught Outsider Art artist who expresses himself through drawing. Kris-Stian Klausen has autism and already at school he enjoyed drawing and his talent appeared. Klausen quite enjoy lines and details, his great memory plays an important role in the creation process. Today he attends a day care centre in Harstad.

Herleik Kristiansen

Herleik Kristiansen is a self-taught outsider artist and has for over 40 years worked with different art techniques. Kristiansen grew up on Trastad Farm in Kvæfjord, the main institution for the mentally disabled children in Northern Norway from 1954-91. Kristiansen achieved recognition as an artist thorough his linocut, but has also created a large amount of drawings. Herleik Kristiansen was raised in this very institution, and was taught by the instructors of the Trastad-center in Harstad. He even resided for a shorter period in Bergen, where he attended an art school. Kristiansen has had several separate- and collective exhibitions both in Norway but also abroad. His artwork has for example been purchased by the Nasjonalgalleri in Norway. In addition, he has had several decorative assignments here in Northern-Norway. He is also a member of the Visual Artists Association of Northern Norway since 1977.

Oda Lundberg

Oda Lundberg er en selvlært Outsider Art kunstner med Down syndrom. Hennes kunstneriske talent ble oppdaget i skolesammenheng. Oda er urett i uttrykket og valg av materialet. Hun foretrekker å male med acryl, men har også skapt flere tegninger de siste årene. Oda bruker ofte en egen, spesiell skrift i sine verk. I dag besøker hun et dagssenter i Harstad.

Torstein Nilsen

Torstein Nilsen is a self-taught outsider artist and has worked for over 40 years with different art techniques . Nilsen grew up on Trastad Farm in Kvæfjord, the main institution for the mentally disabled children in Northern Norway from 1954-91. He received some tutoring by his instructors at the Trastad-center in Harstad. His linear style gains credit in the choice of design and perspective. Landscapes, rail tracks and city motives are frequently displayed empty of people, sober in the execution and poetic in function. He is a member of Visual Artists Association of Northern Norway since 1977. He has had many separate- and collective exhibitions and his artwork has been bought by the Kunstindustrimuseet in Oslo and has decorated Bjarkøy Svømmehall in 1979 and Trastad Samlinger in the year 2000.

Audgunn Vilhelmsen

Audgunn Vilhelmsen is a self-taught outsider artist. She uses often pencils or oil pastel. She also uses a great amount of force on the paper. The intensity and force she uses on the paper can sometimes become too great, and results in her tearing it. She has had many separate- and collective exhibitions, and many public institutions have purchased her artwork. She received two scholarships: Farsund kommunes kulturstipend in 1997 and the Debutantstipend from the Norsk Kulturfond in 1998.

Geir Wallem

Geir Wallem is a self-taught artist. His pictures are drawn on paper measuring 50x70 cm using marker pens. In his drawings, Wallem describes future cities that he relates to an “Alpha God” who rules over “the usual God”. The richly detailed drawings are a tight weaving of points and pieces brought together to make universal landscape visions. He produces a prolific amount of art and has been drawing since the 1980s. He has also created several folders of cartoons in which tales are told of the universe and the battle between good and evil. Much of his work has unfortunately been lost.

See also