Thomas Pihl: Sight Specific

KODE launches the New Year with an exhibition of Thomas Pihl. The exhibition ”Sight Specific” is the first retrospective presentation of Thomas Pihl, featuring both older and more recent works.

View digital exhibition here

Thomas Pihl (b. 1964) lives and works in both Bergen and New York. Throughout his thirty-year artistic career he has achieved recognition as one of the most prominent artists of his generation in Norway, and has also been an active player on the American art scene since 1994. Pihl returns now to his birthplace Bergen to present his first retrospective exhibition.

The exhibition is part of KODE’s ongoing series of shows featuring major Norwegian artists associated with West Norway.

Monochrome Meditations

The way in which the eye perceives colour and light is a central aspect of Pihl’s oeuvre. He is known for his large, monochromatic paintings. In a process where the colours are applied to the canvas in countless layers, he builds up transparent surfaces that together evoke a form of optical illusion for the viewer. The many layers create an interstice between the surface and the canvas, which the light penetrates through, causing a special effect together with the pigments. The effect can be beautiful, overwhelming and meditative all at the same time.

The exhibition “Sight Specific” presents works from the different periods of his artistic career, from 1990 to 2020, with an emphasis on the most recent works. Pihl’s exploration of the acrylic medium is developed further in his sculptures, where he uses the leftover materials from the painting process. From the large formats to the smaller, experimental paintings and drawings, a multifaceted oeuvre materializes. 

A common feature of Pihl’s artistry is a preoccupation with the role of perception in an encounter with the artworks and the world at large.

About the Artist 

Thomas Pihl has exhibited in numerous institutions in Norway and abroad, and his works have been acquired by Arts Council Norway, the National Museum, Oslo, Hunter College City University of New York (Presidential Purchase Award) and KODE, among others. He is also Associate Professor at the Art Academy’s Institute for Contemporary Art, the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) in Bergen.

Pihl studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, Hunter College City University in New York, the School of Visual Art, NY, and the National College of Applied Art, Institute for Colour, in Oslo.

Practical information

The exhibition is curated by art historian and former museum director at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Karin Hellandsjø and is accompanied by a large catalogue.

The exhibition will run at KODE from Saturday, 23nd January to Sunday 2nd May 2021.


Video: Meet the artist

(English subtitles)

  • 23 Jan 2021 to 2 May 2021
  • 150,- / 100,- / 0,- *

* Adults: NOK 150, Students: NOK 100, Free admission for children and KODE members. The ticket gives admission to all exhibitions at KODE for two days