Olav Christopher Jenssen

Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954 Sortland, Norway) is one of the foremost artists of his generation from the Nordic countries and has gained international recognition for his distinctive and multifaceted paintings, as well as for his idiosyncratic sculptures. His production includes drawing, watercolor, graphic works, book illustration and publications. Working simultaneously with multiple series and mediums, Jenssen alternates between the different works mentally and physically; from informal and rapidly painted pictures to more strict and formal paintings, in very large as well as intimate formats. Always exploring and adopting new methods and techniques, his works contain both continuity and diversity, therein emerging a rich visual vocabulary. The paintings open up a philosophical space for dialogue and reflection, encouraging the viewer to unveil strata of paint and decipher cryptic symbols, as on a journey through the history of abstract painting. Jenssen has over the years produced several public commissions ranging from murals and wall reliefs to freestanding monumental sculptures.

Jenssen lives and works in Berlin and in Lya, Sweden. He was appointed professor at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg i 1996, and has since 2007 held a professorship at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig in Germany. He is represented in important public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Kiasma, Helsinki, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, Marta Herford, Germany and The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo. He has had major exhibitions at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, and Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany. Recent exhibitions include «Enigma» Marta Herford, Germany, «Journal – works on paper 1979-2012» Henie Onstad Art Centre, Høvikodden, Norway, «Olav Christopher Jenssen» Saarlandmuseum, Saarbrücken, Germany, «Estragon» Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany. In 2019, the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo featured an impressive display of his works in the museums’ collection.

Selected works


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Olav Christopher Jenssen
A Day Behind
May 15 – May 19, 2024, Market Art Fair, Stockholm
Fusuma ocj 2
Olav Christopher Jenssen
September 08 – October 15, 2022
Olav christopher jenssen galleri riis webposter exhib
Olav Christopher Jenssen
A Lucid Dream. Recent Paintings and Journal Drawings
August 29 – October 11, 2020
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
Rubicon / The Rubicon Paintings, The Ezra Sculptures and The Inventarium Drawings
May 03 – June 15, 2019, Oslo
Ocm1024 colibrip no03
Olav Christopher Jenssen
The Arborist - Recent paintings, sculpture, works on paper
October 22 – November 20, 2016, Oslo
Oc jenssen fosse
Olav Christopher Jenssen
Jon Fosse / Exhibition and Book Release
March 16 – April 02, 2016, Oslo
Ocm1022 colibrip no01
Olav Christopher Jenssen
October 03 – October 25, 2015, Stockholm
2013 ocj introduction
Olav Christopher Jenssen
Panorama Second Generation / The Letharia Paintings
February 02 – March 10, 2013, Oslo
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
Panorama / Second Generation
May 10 – June 21, 2012, Stockholm
20122801 introduction ocj
Olav Christopher Jenssen
The Living Room
January 28 – March 04, 2012, Oslo
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
The Protagonist
April 22 – June 20, 2010, Oslo
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
Appointment No. 1
November 23, 2006 – January 14, 2007, Oslo
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
some Secrets some Thinking Bells some Late Palindromes some Time Paintings some Brown Paintings
May 08 – June 15, 2003, Oslo
1996 exhibition announcement edition erling neby 1
Olav Christopher Jenssen
December 09, 1995 – January 20, 1996
1996 exhibition announcement olav christopher jenssen  fra tid til annen
Olav Christopher Jenssen
Fra tid til annen
November 04 – December 03, 1995
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
Drawings and Paintings
October 24 – November 15, 1992
1990 exhibition announcement olav christopher jenssen  new paintings  cropped
Olav Christopher Jenssen
New Paintings
January 18 – February 11, 1990
1989 exhibition announcement olav christopher jenssen  small talk in sweden  1
Olav Christopher Jenssen
Small Talk in Sweden
April 20 – April 30, 1989
1987 exhibition announcement olav christopher jenssen  100 drawings
Olav Christopher Jenssen
100 Tegninger (100 Drawings)
March 26 – May 03, 1987
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Olav Christopher Jenssen
Demoralisert Landskap (Demoralized Landscape)
November 16 – December 08, 1985


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Photo: Selma Jenssen

Born 1954 in Sortland, Norway
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany and Lya, Sweden


1976 – 1979 National Arts and Crafts School, Oslo, Norway
1980 – 1981 National Academy of the Arts, Oslo, Norway


2024 A Day Behind, Market Art Fair, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
2023 Imperfectum, Ravinen Kulturhus, Båstad, Sweden
2022 Fusuma, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2022 Baroniet Rosendal, Chamber Music Festival Exhibition, Rosendal, Norway
2021-2022 Another Pale Afternoon/The Post Rubicon Paintings, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen
2020 A Lucid Dream, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2020 Rubicon Paintings, Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf, Germany
2019 Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo
2019 Rubicon / The Rubicon Paintings, The Ezra Sculptures and The Inventarium Drawings, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2018 Estragon, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany
2017 The Expedition, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen, Denmark
2016 The Arborist, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2016 Isotherme, Olav Christopher Jenssen in the Engebretsen Collection, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Norway
2016 The Expedition, Kunsthall Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Svalbard
2016 Colibri i Hardanger, Kunsthuset Kabuso, Øystese, Hardanger, Norway
2015 Colibri, Galleri Riis, Stockholm, Sweden
2014 Olav Christopher Jenssen, Saarlandmuseum Moderne Galerie, Saarbrücken, Germany
2013 Journal – works on paper 1979-2012, Henie Onstad Art Center, Høvikodden, Norway
2013 Panorama Second Generation / The Letharia Paintings, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2013 Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway
2012 Enigma, Marta Herford Museum, Germany
2012 Panorama/Second Generation, Galleri Riis, Stockholm
2012 The Letharia Paintings, Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm
2012 The Protagonist, Varberg Konsthall, Sweden
2012 Monogram, Galleri Ismene, Trondheim, Norway
2012 The Living Room, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2012 A Selection of Late Grenadine Paintings, Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf, Germany
2011 The Protagonist/New York Edition,Tracy Williams Ltd., New York
2010 The Protagonist, Västerås Konstmuseum, Sweden
2010 The Protagonist, Galleri Riis, Oslo
2009 Panorama, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark
2008 Zeitweise, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Germany
2004 Translation, Tracy Williams Ltd, New York
2003 Time Paintings, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
2002 Moderation – A Section from the Empty Drawing Room, Nordiska Akvarellmuseet, Skärhamn, Sweden
2000 The Empty Drawing Room, Kunstverein Göttingen, Germany
2000 Palindrome, Bergens Kunstforening, Norway
1997 Vongole, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden
1997 Radio, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany
1997 Biographie, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo
1996 Once, La Salle Blanche, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France
1994 Drawings 1986-1993, Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
1994 Since We All Came from the Same Place, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen, Denmark
1994 Bilder 1990-1994, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany
1992 Neue Bilder, Bruno Brunnet Fine Arts, Berlin
1992 Lack of Memory, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
1992 Bilder, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany
1992 Lack of Memory, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen
1990 Nye malerier, Galleri Riis, Oslo
1989 Pale Afternoons, Anders Tornberg Gallery, Lund, Sweden
1985 Demoralisert Landskap, Galleri Riis, Oslo
1979 Galleriet, Oslo


2017 diese unerklärliche stille (this inexplicable silence) with Jon Fosse, Buchkunst Kleinheinrich, Münster, Germany
2017 Summer Days, Serlachius Museum, Götsa, Mäntä, Finland
2017 Whither the Winds, Lunds konsthall, Lund, Sweden
2016 Hemsworth / Jenssen / Tollens / Reed, Thomas Rehbein Galerie : Koeln, Cologne, Germany
2016 Seeable/Sayable, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
2015 Teoria del Duende, Centro Frederico Garcia Lorca, Granada, Spain
2015 Siksi – The Nordic Miracle Revisited, Galleri F15, Moss, Norway
2014 Taking a Line for a Walk, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland
2014 An Appetite for Painting. Contemporary painting
2000 – 2014, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo
2013 Channelled, Lund Konsthall, Lund, Sweden
2012 Schöntrauer, E105, Berlin
2009 Vorspiel/Nachspiel, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway
2008 Drawing a Tension, Deutsche Bank/Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
2001 Impulses: H.M. Queen Sonja’s Private Collection, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo
1996 Nuevas Abstracciones, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid, Spain
1995 Das Abenteuer der Malerei, Kunstverein für Rheinlande, Düsseldorf and Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany
1992 Documenta IX, Kassel, Germany
1991 Transparencia Azul, Moderna Museet, Stockholm


Buffalo AKG Art Museum, Buffalo, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway
Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Oslo, Norway
Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway
Stavanger Art Museum, Stavanger, Norway
Northern Norway Art Museum, Tromsø, Norway
Karin & Jules Schyls Donation, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden
Malmö Museum, Sweden
Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden
Esbjerg Museum of Art, Denmark
Horsens Art Museum, Denmark
The Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation, Ars Fennica, Tavastehus Kunstmuseum, Finland
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland
Berliner Bank Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany
Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt, Germany
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany
Kunsthalle Rostock, Germany
Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, Germany
Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
Staatliche Museen Kassel – Neue Galerie, Germany
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France
Fonds National d´Art Contemporain, Puteaux, France
Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
City Bank Art Collection, New York, USA
British Museum, London, England
Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico
Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, France
Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
FRAC Auvergne, France