About Inghild Karlsen:
Visual artist Inghild Karlsen received widespread recognition just a few years after her first solo exhibition in 1979. When her installation Fugleskremsler (Scarecrows), situated on an islet outside of Mandal, was sawn down during one dark night in 1984, the then young artist as well as the radical, new art forms that had recently reached Norway, got a lot of attention from both the media and the general public at large.
Karlsen has repeatedly been identified as a representative for the new trends and working methods which sprang up in Norwegian art from the 1980s onwards. She was, among other things, one of the first artists in Norway to work with installations; an art form that since the beginning of the 1980s has grown from being in the margins into becoming a central expression within contemporary art.
Karlsen was also a pioneer in Norway due to her work with performance art and her collaborations with stage actors and playwrights. During the 1980s, she collaborated with the playwright Cecilie Løveid, and the two Danes Kirsten Delholm and Willie Flindt, the founders of one of the best-known performance groups in the Nordic countries, Hotel Pro Forma. She has also received recognition for her early adoption of video as an art form.
The Northern areas and Northern Norway have played a significant role in Inghild Karlsen’s art. Through subject matters, motifs and materials, significant parts of her work have been connected to these areas of the world. Specific cultural history, landscapes and ways of life in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas have been used as staring points in several of Karlsen’s installations and performance pieces. At the same time, her work appears neither retrospective nor nostalgic. Often, it is the ability to highlight something bigger and more universal in concrete objects and phenomena that characterize her art.
The fact that Karlsen has made working processes – among these felting – into parts of exhibitions, and allowed performances and installations to merge into one another, has made many observers point to movement as a central characteristic of her artistic production. There is also a form of movement in her frequent reuse of various objects and elements from installations in other contexts.
In 1984, Karlsen represented Norway in the Sao Paulo Art Biennial. She was one of the artists included in the National Museum’s 2016 exhibition Stille Revolt (Silent Revolt), which highlighted the often overlooked process- and conceptual art in Norway from the 1970s and 80s. She was the festival artist for Bergen International Festival in 1999, and she has received atelier fellowships at PS1 in New York (1984-85), Cité in Paris (1988) and Bethanien in Berlin (1995-96). Karlsen has participated in several exhibitions in Norway, the Nordic countries, USA, Italy, Germany and Poland. She has carried out several public art projects, and she has been receiving the Norwegian Government’s Guaranteed Income for artist since 1999. Karlsen’s works have been acquired by Art Council Norway, Bergen Billedgalleri, The Museum of Contemporary Art (The National Museum), Henie Onstad Art Center at Høvikodden, Queen Sonja, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, the University of Tromsø, and Troms county municipality.
Photo: Inghild Karlsen, Outdoor/Indoor, 1994.