Abstract Feeling, 1995 - 2008

A series of sculptures and drawings.

"Out of the roughly sixty small sculptures constituting the series Abstrakt Følelse, which Bjørn Bjarre created in the period 1995-2008, some are naturalistic renderings of people, while others depict humans with eight eyes, feet sticking out of their heads, bodies gored by planks, or reduced to nondescript, organic shapes. There are common traits among the various figurines in the series; they are typically made from hair, plastecine and Lego blocks, and they call to mind pop culture, such as comics, computer games and sci-fi. Such references to pop culture are part of a long tradition of art that questions high versus low culture."

- Bjørn Hatterud, from the exhibition catalogue Gradually Approaching the City - Art and Modern-day Norway, Art exhibition in the VIP Terminal of Oslo Airport (2013-19)

Bjarre is very aware of the fact that he uses materials that are transient and fragile - easily destroyed. Nobody knows how plasticine reacts over the course of time. This means that the Abstract Feeling series contains it’s own kind of melancholy. Just like all living creatures, the series is part of an ongoing process of change. Unlike much other art, this is a project that is not particularly concerned with the concept of everlasting life. Bjørn Bjarre explains the idea behind his carefully planned project like this: “How does an art project begin? I think my project started with the idea of no longer making art that was inspired by other art, which is an impossibility.”

- Anne Karin Jortveit, from the exhibition catalogue In a Norwegian Wood - Norwegian art of the last decade, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warszawa, 2004

Bjørn Bjarre’s “Abstract Feelings” are sort of freaks. They also have a cultural parallel in the special effects of Hollywood movies that produce both cute and less friendly aliens. Film freaks and all kinds of “elephant men” are highly impressive. They fascinate us by showing something else that confirms the normality of the viewer. They also offer the possibility of an outlet for our turbid feelings of fear, by making us protected witnesses at a safe distance, observing the slimy monster breaking out of the intestines and through the pelvic wall.

Bjarre´s sculptures function in a different, deeper and more dismal sense. They are immovable, placed on a pedestal for sculptural contemplation. They are constructed so that we can gaze at their dissonance in peace and quiet and discover the many peculiar ways that humanity can manifest itself. Monsters in the entertainment industry have a tendency to look very much alike. One probably has to create almost archetypical pictures so that a global public can recognize itself and react. Bjarre´s sculptures sometimes make use of similar traits - for instance, eyes placed directly on an oblong form. But on the whole, his figures are so corny - that they evade comparison with something else.

- Åsmund Thorkildsen, Dinky Kinks, from the catalogue Bjørn Bjarre Abstract Feeling, Galleri F15, 2002

Abstract Feeling no. 1 (The Dream Work), 1995, Private collection

Abstract Feeling no. 31 (Reverse), 1996, Private collection

Abstract Feeling no. 4 (Untitled), 1995

Abstract Feeling no. 74 (Trippelface), 2002, Nordea Art Collection

Abstract Feeling no. 95 (Walking Head), 2007, Private collection

Abstract Feeling no. 99 (The idiot), 2003

Abstract Feeling no. 8 (Meteorite), 1996, Collection of Art Council Norway

Abstract Feeling no. 61 (Facescape), 1999, Private Collection

Abstract Feeling no. 15 (Construction Site), 1996, Private collection

Abstract Feeling no. 89 (Ocularity), 2007


Abstract Feeling no. 34 (Untitled), 1997, Collection of The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design