Jeannette Christensen: Interruptions

This spring Norwegian artist Jeannette Christensen will fill the permanent presentation in the Rasmus Meyers Collection with the exhibition Interruptions.

With Polaroid pictures and new video works, the exhibition invites the viewer to participate in a dialogue about time, identity and history.

By following individuals over time, as a viewer you gain an impression of life’s vulnerability. In this intervention Christensen wishes to invite the public to partake in a dialogue with the works in the collection: Whom do we encounter on the walls of a museum, and who is it that is being represented? How do you make a static picture move, and a moving picture static?

Frozen in Time

Since the mid-1990s Christensen has worked on a series of Polaroid pictures entitled The Passing of Time. The pictures are based on a selection of portraits by the Baroque master Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), such as “The Milkmaid” (1657-58). What Christensen is preoccupied with is above all the actions that the women are performing. Vermeer has captured them in the middle of an activity – whether it is pouring milk, reading a letter or studying notes.

A Polaroid photograph is a snapshot – it freezes time – and in Vermeer’s paintings you can find something similar, according to Christensen; they depict a frozen moment in time. Christensen has repeatedly photographed the same models, both women and men, in the same postures. The models grow older and the Polaroid film and the formats have also changed. In this way process and time become integrated in the work.


Stretching out time is Christensen’s strategy for making a moving picture static and a static picture move. The filmed video portraits, Woman Interrupted, are adjusted down to an extremely slow speed as a logical continuation of the Polaroid series.

In 1658-59 Jan Vermeer painted Girl Interrupted at her Music. In the everyday motif of the woman in the picture, something suddenly happens that makes time palpable. Interrupted in her earlier state of concentration, the sitting figure turns towards the viewer. This turning point demonstrates for us the gap between the figure’s fictive timeless universe and the impression of entering into our world. She exists partly in her own time, yet, when our gazes meet, also in ours.

About the Artist

Jeannette Christensen (b. 1958) has since the beginning of the 1990s worked with installations, sculpture and photography, in which a discussion revolving around the concept of sculpture, time and materiality has been a common theme. The citation, appropriation and combining of elements from art history with contemporary art, and the position and presence of art in society are recurring interests, 

Christensen has worked with a broad range of materials and is especially known for her installations made of Jello, a material that is fluid and fleeting – one that is in a constant state of transformation and will inevitably disintegrate with the passing of time. In her intervention at KODE Christensen works with some of the same issues, but here in portraits executed in video and photography.

Christensen lives and works in Oslo. She has studied at the Academy of Art and Design in Bergen (Vestlandets Kunstakademi) and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1992-93 she was the recipient of a grant and year of study at the P.S.1 International Studio Program in New York. She has extensive exhibition and teaching experience and has exhibited at numerous Norwegian art institutions, such as Kunstnerforbundet, Henie Onstad kunstsenter, Sørlandets kunstmuseum, the Vigeland Museum and the National Museum, to name a few, and her works have been acquired by the National Museum, Arts Council Norway, Sørlandets kunstmuseum, Public Art Norway (KORO) and the City of Oslo.

Christensen was guest professor and head of Skolen for Mur og Rum at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, 1998-2000. Associate Professor at the Art Academy Department, part of the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, 2000-2007 and has been Professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo since 2010.

Her works are discussed in a monograph by the Dutch cultural theorist and artist Mieke Bal, Fragments of Matter, Jeannette Christensen, published by the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in 2009. More recent publications include the book The Passing of Time, which gathers a selection of the series of Polaroid pictures with a text by Kristin Gjesdal, Professor of Philosophy at Temple University in Philadelphia, published by the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2017, and in 2019, the dialogue Mieke Bal with Jeannette Christensen, An Aesthetic of Interruption: Stagnation and Acceleration was published in ASAP/Journal 4.1, The Association for the Study of Arts of the Present, John Hopkins University Press.

  • 2 Jun 2020 to 29 Nov 2020
  • Kode 3
  • 160,- / 110,- / 0,- *

* Adults: NOK 160, Students: NOK 110, Bergen Card: NOK 110, Free admission for children and KODE members. The ticket gives admission to all exhibitions at KODE for two days