Two museums to visit in and around Oslo

If your holiday destination is Norway, make your agenda a visit to the new National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo and a little further north to the Jevnakers Kistefos Museum

Norway is undergoing a moment of special cultural dynamism, which culminated on 11 June with the official inauguration of The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design of Oslo, the largest in Northern Europe. A little further north, near the town of Jevnaker, it lies Kistefos Museum combines the beauty of the Norwegian natural landscape with contemporary art: The temporary exhibitions are accompanied by the permanent collection of environmental sculptures.

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893. National Museum, Oslo. Photo Nationalmuseet _ Børre Høstland


The inauguration of the largest city museum housed in a building designed by Klaus Schuwerk, represents a crucial moment for the future cultural development of Oslo and Norway; as the director explains Karin HindsboThe National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design was intended for last generations, to be the ideal cultural reference point both for Norwegians who know and understand their roots and the development they have known through the centuries, and for foreign visitors to discover local identity.
The collection includes about 6,500 works ranging from art, design and architecture, spread over a period from antiquity to the present; the interesting feature is that the antiquities collection is contextualised in the context of the relations Norway has had with the European and Eastern peoplesjust like the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, the Arabs, for whom the Norwegian art of origin enters into dialogue with Greek and Roman sculptures, tapestries and Arabic miniatures.
Among the unique pieces of Norwegian antiquity, the Baldishol wallpaper, woven about a thousand years ago in the county of Innlandet. As you scroll through the rooms, following the seventeenth-century still life of the local school, you encounter the wonderful melancholy of Edvard Munchof which the museum houses the famous Scream; no less suggestive is the neo-romanticism of Harold Sohlberg. There is also room for vintage fashion, with a selection of dresses worn by Queen Maud and Queen Sonja. The museum’s itinerary ends with the twentieth century, with tapestries of Hannah Ryggenthe woodcuts of John Savio and some monumental installations such as Inner room V from For Inge Bjørloor The garbage man from Ilya Kabakov.
The collection is exhibited in 86 large and well-lit rooms, and enhanced by the sober and functional framework, which also uses large windows with special internal thermal conditions, made by the Italian company Goppion.
The museum represents a large-scale investment from the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, and is part of the multi-year plan for tourism and cultural development of the city of Oslo, which already a few years ago started with the opening of the Astrup Fearnley Museum, the construction of the new opera house and the rebuilding of the former industrial port.

The columns, installation exhibition at the National Museum, Oslo 2022. Photo National Museum _ Annar Bjørgli
The columns, installation exhibition at the National Museum, Oslo 2022. Photo National Museum _ Annar Bjørgli


However, the museum is also a window to new trends in creativity, which is why the third floor is hosting The light hall, where young Norwegian artists can be exhibited. It can be visited until September 11 next I call it art, a large collective with 147 creatives who engage in current topics such as identity, belonging, nationality and democracy. An exhibition designed to stimulate the debate on inclusion and exclusion from art and society.
In addition, the museum will host until June 2023 The pillarsthe exhibition focused on artists who have now become very famous, but who at the beginning of their careers were pioneers in dealing with at least some of the themes in I call it art: Between these, Georgia O’Keeffe And Simone Leigh. An ideal dialogue between old and new generations on issues and problems that have not yet been resolved, but which art has never stopped reflecting on.

View of the Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker.  Courtesy Visit the Inland
View of the Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker. Courtesy Visit the Inland


Surrounded by the forest in Viken County, not far from the town of Jevnaker, that Kistefos Museum is a laboratory that combines art and nature.
The museum’s sculpture park is enriched with a new work, the fiftieth in the collection: Variantsinterdisciplinary work of Pierre Huyghe (Paris, 1962) and his greatest site-specific work to date. The artist gives life to a unity, a physical and digital microcosm, permeable, where the real merges with the virtual. A screen that stands at the end of an island (regularly flooded in winter and therefore subject to natural seasonal variations) projects its 3D scan, and through a series of sensors detects the changes that take place in the natural environment and adds them , created using a variety of algorithms. We are therefore witnessing an overlap of seemingly identical environments, in fact different in substance, a metaphor for the potential for human impact on the environment, but also for the disasters that this can create.

Paulina Olowska, Esther Krumbachová in her office, 2021. Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection
Paulina Olowska, Esther Krumbachová in her office, 2021. Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection


Her Hauntology, open until October 16, is an exhibition that deals with the occupation of the substance in one’s being, in this case female. Through thirty paintings on loan from museums and private collections, including Christen Sveaa’s Art Collection, the painter, photographer and performer Paulina Olowska (Danzig, 1976) examines the contemporary female condition by contextualizing it in folklore and medieval traditionwho saw woman as a entity capable of evoking and controlling parallel dimensions.
In Olowska’s paintings, female alchemy, ambiguous glances, elegant figures wrapped in soft fabrics unite knowledge of nature, aesthetic references to true socialism and consumer capitalism, fashion and folklore. This unusual melange aesthetically and conceptually, it creates a romantic vision of art as the bearer of positive utopias, including the belief in women’s power to change the world.

Niccolò Lucarelli

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