Alongside the close relationship with nature and the strong narrative trait, which has always been characteristic of the art of Norway, the artistic panorama of the Eighties also shows the persistence of the expressionistic tendency, typical of 20th century art starting from E Munch. But while the previous decades were characterized by a conscious isolationism, based on the fear of the effects of commodification and debasement connected with the art market, the 1980s saw an increase in knowledge and interest in international relations.
Many artists born in the fifties and brought to light in the eighties were trained abroad and therefore in contact with the most recent developments in European art. They have brought a postmodern approach to the academies of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, where they have often held teaching assignments.
Paintings that initially seem to fit into a tradition of abstract lyrical landscape often reveal traces, for example, of the transavantgarde, such as the works of H. Korvald (b.1951), T. Lid (b.1952), SB Tufta (n. 1956), O. Ch. Jenssen (b. 1954) and AK Dolven (b. 1953). Neo-expressionistic attitudes, associated with the use of signs and myths, can be found above all in the works of A. Pettersen (b. 1943) and A. Erichsen (b. 1958).
According to listofusnewspapers, younger artists are also keenly interested in alternative forms of expression, eg. multimedia installations. But even in their works the presence of nature is deeply felt.
In the installations of PI Bjørlo (b. 1952), S. Tolaas (b. 1959) and I. Karlsen (b. 1952), the themes of life, death and the cycles of nature are faced with intense commitment. The sculptor B. Breivik (b. 1948) proved to be a master in treating black granite, playing on the differences in structure between rough and smooth surfaces. In his constant exploration of the artistic meaning, Breivik has also worked with series of specific shapes that could be both abstract and reminiscent of tools or mythical symbols: made with different techniques and materials, they sometimes refer to high technology, other times to work artisanal. Breivik therefore canceled the “ uniqueness ” of the work of art, also alluding to modern mass production and ancient medieval artisan tradition; in his insistence on the importance of art in society, Breivik is linked to that moral quality that has constantly characterized the Norwegian artistic tradition.
Similar intentions can be found in the videos of M. Heske (b. 1946) who, referring to the artistic history of Norway, searches for natural motifs painted by Norwegian painters of the 19th century to translate them into the immaterial language of the video; his most notable work is the Voyage pictoresque project, begun in 1983. In K. Bjørgeengen (b. 1950) time and memory are elaborated by combining solid materials and video, and integrating sound with painting.
Surrealism, which had never had any relevance in Norwegian art, emerged in the 1970s under the influence of K. Rose (b.1936), and then took on a character of anxiety and hallucination typical of the 1980s in the works like comic by B. Carlsen (b. 1933). P. Kleiva (b. 1933), one of the protagonists of the artistic movement with strong political connotations in the sixties and seventies, had made use of intense colors and elements of pop art to communicate his message; in the 1980s he turned to patterns that could be abstract or based on pictograms printed in a way that evokes the strong Norwegian decorative tradition.
On the fringes of the Norwegian artistic life, but constantly followed by the attention of the public, O. Nerdrum (b. 1944) has taken on the task of renewing the romantic academic tradition with grandeur. With a Caravaggesque or Rembrandtian style he tackles the contemporary issues of the alienation of modern city life and social injustice. His works from the 1970s were very explicit in their message, while the more recent production has become more symbolic and far less accessible.
Traditional modernism, in the forms of lyrical abstract expressionism on the one hand, and constructivism on the other, was not fully accepted in Norway until the 1960s, and still in the 1980s several artists of the previous generation were busy experimenting with these. formal languages.
Among the most significant exponents of these currents are the painters J. Weidemann (b.1923), I. Sitter (b.1929), J. Johannesen (b.1934), GS Gundersen (1921-1983), and the sculptor A Haukeland (b. 1920). J. Groth (b. 1938) has developed a coherent aesthetic inspired by, among other things, calligraphy: he works exclusively with black and white, drawing a black line on white paper or crossing a black tapestry with a white line. Since the late 1980s Groth has begun to try his hand at sculpture, and his minimalist lines have invaded the space in the form of bronze sticks.
Beyond these experiences, the figurative approach, the narration and the close relationship with nature always remain the prevailing characteristics of Norwegian art of the 1980s.