Galleri Riis

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 he held his most recent museum exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, an impressive display of all of his works in the museums' collection.


  1. 1976 - 1979National Arts and Crafts School, Oslo, Norway
  2. 1980 - 1981National Academy of the Arts, Oslo, Norway


  1. 2020A Lucid Dream, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  2. 2020Rubicon Paintings, Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf, Germany
  3. 2019Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo
  4. 2019Rubicon / The Rubicon Paintings, The Ezra Sculptures and The Inventarium Drawings, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  5. 2018Estragon, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany
  6. 2017The Expedition, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. 2016The Arborist, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  8. 2016Isotherme, Olav Christopher Jenssen in the Engebretsen Collection, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Norway
  9. 2016The Expedition, Kunsthall Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Svalbard
  10. 2016Colibri i Hardanger, Kunsthuset Kabuso, Øystese, Hardanger, Norway
  11. 2015Colibri, Galleri Riis, Stockholm, Sweden
  12. 2014Olav Christopher Jenssen, Saarlandmuseum Moderne Galerie, Saarbrücken, Germany
  13. 2013Journal - works on paper 1979-2012, Henie Onstad Art Center, Høvikodden, Norway
  14. 2013Panorama Second Generation / The Letharia Paintings, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  15. 2013Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway
  16. 2012Enigma, Marta Herford Museum, Germany
  17. 2012Panorama/Second Generation, Galleri Riis, Stockholm
  18. 2012The Letharia Paintings, Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm
  19. 2012The Protagonist, Varberg Konsthall, Sweden
  20. 2012Monogram, Galleri Ismene, Trondheim, Norway
  21. 2012The Living Room, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  22. 2012A Selection of Late Grenadine Paintings, Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf, Germany
  23. 2011The Protagonist/New York Edition,Tracy Williams Ltd., New York
  24. 2010The Protagonist, Västerås Konstmuseum, Sweden
  25. 2010The Protagonist, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  26. 2009Panorama, Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark
  27. 2008Zeitweise, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Germany
  28. 2004Translation, Tracy Williams Ltd, New York
  29. 2003Time Paintings, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
  30. 2002Moderation - A Section from the Empty Drawing Room, Nordiska Akvarellmuseet, Skärhamn, Sweden
  31. 2000The Empty Drawing Room, Kunstverein Göttingen, Germany
  32. 2000Palindrome, Bergens Kunstforening, Norway
  33. 1997Vongole, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden
  34. 1997Radio, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany
  35. 1997Biographie, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo
  36. 1996Once, La Salle Blanche, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France
  37. 1994Drawings 1986-1993, Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia
  38. 1994Since We All Came from the Same Place, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  39. 1994Bilder 1990-1994, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany
  40. 1992Neue Bilder, Bruno Brunnet Fine Arts, Berlin
  41. 1992Lack of Memory, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
  42. 1992Bilder, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany
  43. 1992Lack of Memory, Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen
  44. 1990Nye malerier, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  45. 1989Pale Afternoons, Anders Tornberg Gallery, Lund, Sweden
  46. 1985Demoralisert Landskap, Galleri Riis, Oslo
  47. 1979Galleriet, Oslo


  1. 2017diese unerklärliche stille (this inexplicable silence) with Jon Fosse, Buchkunst Kleinheinrich, Münster, Germany
  2. 2017Summer Days, Serlachius Museum, Götsa, Mäntä, Finland
  3. 2017Whither the Winds, Lunds konsthall, Lund, Sweden
  4. 2016Hemsworth / Jenssen / Tollens / Reed, Thomas Rehbein Galerie : Koeln, Cologne, Germany
  5. 2016Seeable/Sayable, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
  6. 2015Teoria del Duende, Centro Frederico Garcia Lorca, Granada, Spain
  7. 2015Siksi – The Nordic Miracle Revisited, Galleri F15, Moss, Norway
  8. 2014Taking a Line for a Walk, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland
  9. 2014An Appetite for Painting. Contemporary painting 2000 – 2014, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo
  10. 2013Channelled, Lund Konsthall, Lund, Sweden
  11. 2012Schöntrauer, E105, Berlin
  12. 2009Vorspiel/Nachspiel, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway
  13. 2008Drawing a Tension, Deutsche Bank/Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
  14. 2001Impulses: H.M. Queen Sonja's Private Collection, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo
  15. 1996Nuevas Abstracciones, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid, Spain
  16. 1995Das Abenteuer der Malerei, Kunstverein für Rheinlande, Düsseldorf and Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany
  17. 1992Documenta IX, Kassel, Germany
  18. 1991Transparencia Azul, Moderna Museet, Stockholm


  • 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