SOFT galleri //
Norske tekstilkunstnere

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0151 Oslo

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Sissel Blystad

5. January – 3. February 2017

The exhibition will be officially opened by Sissel Ree Schjønsby.

In 1977 the organisation which serves the interests of Norwegian textile artists – Norske tekstilkunstnere (NTK) – was established. Throughout 2017 we mark this historic event. The 40th anniversary year opens with a solo exhibition by Sissel Blystad at SOFT galleri. Blystad is a notable artist who has worked with textiles in various ways throughout a career spanning more than 50 years. We are therefore very proud she has agreed to participate in the celebrations with an exhibition at SOFT. Blystad will also be included in our big anniversary exhibition Ode til en vaskeklut, hymne til en tiger (‘Ode to a Washcloth, Hymn to a Tigre’), which opens on 24 March 2017 at the gallery Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo.

Sissel Blystad has used rug yarn from the Hoelfeldt Lund spinning mill throughout her years of artistic practice. This thick Norwegian yarn is glossy and strong, and with it she has woven many tapestries. In 2002, however, put the loom aside.

Curiosity and a need for innovation led me and my friend, the yarn, to develop new techniques in the last decade. I started gluing the yarn onto old blankets, and most recently, onto carton. The works have become smaller, details have been photographed, digitally manipulated, printed and then framed under glass. But the main goal remains almost always the same: the pictorial room that I can create with this yarn and with colour. (Sissel Blystad)

When Blystad stepped back from weaving, her works became freer in form. Some shapes resemble keyholes, others suggest stars or completely abstract figures. Blystad has dyed the rug yarn herself, producing strong and clear colours. All the strands are remnants from her years of weaving, and she uses them to create new works that seem to point to a textile lifecycle. The colourful strands bend this way and that, creating pictorial depth and sending our eyes on a perpetual circuitous dance. The works have been photographed on studio walls that are marked by many years of artistic activity. The photos are then ‘baked into acrylic’, as she puts it. The acrylic glass gives the pictured strands of yarn a heightened glossiness. It is these works she exhibits at SOFT for the first time: an exhibition of new works based on photographs of earlier works.

Blystad asks herself: ‘How far can I “stretch” a textile work and have it still appear to be textile?’

Sissel Blystad (b. Oslo 1944) lives and works in Bergen. She studied at the National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo (1964–65) and the National College of Art and Design in Bergen (1968–70). Since receiving Bergen Municipality’s artist stipend in 1974, Blystad has won more than twenty artist stipends. During the period 1994–2011, she received a guaranteed income from the Norwegian government.

Blystad exhibits widely in Norway and internationally. Some of her solo exhibitions have been presented by the galleries Bergen Kunstforening (1996), Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo (2002), HV Galleri in Stockholm (2003), Tidens Krav in Oslo (2014), Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium (2014), Sandnes Kunst-forening (2015), Kunstgarasjen in Bergen (2016) and Hester in New York (2016). She has participated in numerous national and juried group shows and collective exhibitions: the annual autumn exhibition (17 times), and the annual regional exhibition for western Norway (16 times).

Of more international format, we mention her contributions to exhibitions such as ‘Expression Textile Nordique’ at Angers in France (1973), ‘Norwegian Textile Art’ in Moscow (1989), ‘New Norwegian Tapestry’ at the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Trondheim (1992), ‘Accordion’ at the Laura Bartlett Gallery in London (2014), ‘Soft Monuments’ at KODE Art Museums of Bergen (2015), LIAF (Lofoten International Art Festival) in Svolvær (2015), ‘Tefriss’, Kvit Galleri /Felt Galleri in Copenhagen, and the art fair NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) in Miami Beach (2016).

Sissel Blystad has produced a large number of public artworks, including what is perhaps the best known tapestry in Norway: ‘Landscape’ (2005) which hangs in the foyer of the Norwegian Parliament. Her works are also acquired for public collections, among others, for Arts Council Norway, the North Sea oil rigs Gullfaks B and C, the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Trondheim, the University of Bergen, Oslo Municipality, the National Museum in Oslo, and KODE Art Museums of Bergen.


Glanset.  Sissel Blystad
Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen


Glanset. Sissel Blystad
Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen


Glanset 21 (2016)  Sissel Blystad
Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen


Glanset 19 (2016) Sissel Blystad
Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen


Foto. Øystein Thorvaldsen