Art exhibition

Exhibition ended: Retellings

Experience a world of flowers, plants and mystery in the works of Inger Johanne Rasmussen, one of Norway’s foremost textile artists. Her awe-inspiring textiles adorn the rustic walls of the Timber Barn at Nyfossum this summer.

Inger Johanne Rasmussen (born in 1958) is famous for her unique textile works. Her tapestries are often compared to paintings because of the shapes, figures, and especially the varied shades of color she uses, which are reminiscent of a watercolor. The process behind her work begins with a drawing. Next, she dyes felted wool and cuts it into pieces. As in a puzzle, the pieces are placed next to each other and then sewn together by hand. This unique technique, which she developed, has been referred to as textile intarsia. The motifs are varied and range from plant-inspired patterns to geometric shapes. The themes represent both personal memories and her Nordic cultural heritage, transformed and retold by the artist.

Textile art has traditionally brightened and brought warmth and color into our everyday lives. This tradition is enhanced, explored and mirrored in Rasmussen’s compositions. An admirer once stated that when he dies, he hopes that St. Peter will say, “Welcome, you will now live in one of Inger Johanne Rasmussen’s textile works.” The artist’s motifs stir our senses, and we feel at home in their beauty and vulnerability.

In the Timber Barn, part of the former Cobalt Works’ Director’s Residence complex, Rasmussen displays new and familiar works. The Silo rooms center on themes such as the tree of life, and what challenges lie hidden beneath the pattern. In the first room on the barn landing, we find the work  “Searching for the Bluest of Blues” inspired by the Cobalt Mines. In the second room, Rasmussen has been inspired by the flower patterns of one of England’s most prominent silk designers of the 18th century, Anna Maria Garthwaite. The work in this room emphasizes Rasmussen’s focus on learning and carrying on pattern traditions through dramatization. The exhibition is a tribute to flowers and plants, to Norwegian folk art, to the color blue, and most of all to the ordinary seamstress and everyone who strives to make our world that bit more beautiful.

Rasmussen studied at the National College for Handicraft and Design in Bergen 1978–82 and 1992–94, and at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm 1982–83. She has had a number of major exhibitions in Norway and abroad, in venues such as Sven-Harry’s Art Museum in Stockholm (2015), Telemark Gallery (2015), Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall in Arendal (2013), Spiral Garden Gallery in Tokyo (2012), Drammens Museum (2008) and Sørlandets Art Museum (2006). She has also published several books on fabrics. Her work has been purchased by most of the major museums and institutions in Norway, including the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Sørlandets Art Museum, National Museum of Decorative Arts and design, KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen, Arts Council Norway, Public Art Norway and Oslo Municipality, as well as a number of private collectors.

Other things you can see and experience at The Cobalt Works