This past Saturday (22nd January), Galleri Tonne in Oslo hosted the opening of Rolf Groven's 40 year retrospective exhibition. Below is a translation of the program for the exhibition:
"Rolf Groven broke the art-critical mold in 1971. This year he made his debut at the Norwegian National Autumn Exhibition with Mary and baby Jesus as Vietnamese, burned by napalm. The picture caused a sensation in the media and inspired fierce debates about art. At this time, figurative painting was on the rise, so Groven's old-fashioned style could be accepted in some art environments. His pictures have been frequently used in textbooks for schools and universities. In the 70s and 80s, many of his paintings were reproduced as posters and the reproductions were scattered by the thousands both at home and abroad.
Groven comes from the Romsdal region of Norway, born in Fræna in 1943. After graduating High School in Molde, he was a construction worker, sailor in foreign trade and a student at the University of Manchester. In 1971 he finished his architectural education at NTNU in Trondheim. He practiced in that field for four years before he started painting full time.
Groven has participated at the Norwegian National Autumn Exhibition six times. In 2010 he exhibited his new works "Paven" and "Angel with Gun" at a Film Festival in Krakow. His works have been purchased by the National Museum."
|A view from the loft at Galleri Tonne. I really liked the space - it has just enough personality of its own, but not so much that it's overpowering. They were using some very yellow tungsten bulbs to light the paintings, though. So that is the reason, if the colors seem wrong. |
|Another shot looking down from the loft. One of Groven's newest paintings (2010) at the far right. There seemed to be a steady flow of guests during the three or four hours of the opening. The show has already proved to be a complete success for Rolf Groven.|
|On the left, one of Groven's newest paintings. It deals with a topic that has been very controversial in the Norwegian news during the last few weeks. Maria Amelie, a 25-year-old illegal immigrant from Russia, has been deported back to her country after publishing a book about the life of immigrants in Norway and earning the title Norwegian of the Year 2010. Supporters of Maria Amelie claim she was a refugee. Many Norwegians fear for her safety upon her return to Moscow, especially in light of the news today that a suicide bomber killed 35 people in the very airport where she is scheduled to land this afternoon.|
|Groven talking in front of the painting "Karbokamerater" (2004) which won an award for a visual arts competition announced by the newspaper Dagbladet.|
|Another new painting, just completed this month. It represents a more international political issue in current Norwegian debates: the continuation of (and expansion of) oil drilling off the west coast of the country. Especially given the disastrous aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico spill last year, many Norwegians are reevaluating the investments their country has made in oil exploitation and exportation.|
|Groven with a friend and one of the many congratulatory gifts he received at the opening. To the right, his partner Anne Katrine who helped to document the day on video.|
|Growing international appeal: Groven talks with two international students from the University of Oslo.|
|After the exhibition, Groven and Anne Karine hosted an open house at their residence near Vigelandsparken in Frogner. Here, Groven talks with a close friend - a singer who has performed at the Oslo Opera house and teaches theater students at the Arts Academy in Oslo.|
|An artwork by Groven's daughter hangs in the foreground with one of Groven's own paintings in the background.|