Liv Dessen (b. 1935) works with painting and drawing in medium and large formats. The drawings are characterized by abstract expressiveness and often colorful compositions with charcoal and pastel. It is a dynamic, rhythm and energy in the works that gives them a musical touch and makes them seem like a dance between artist and work. The strength of Dessen's artistic practice in its spontaneity, freedom and openness, which means that you have to rediscover the works every time you look at them. Liv Dessen lives and works in Oslo.
TF: Liv, can you tell us a little about your artistic work?
LD: I work with painting and drawing in an abstract tradition. In the past, some figurative elements could come in, but they are hardly visible in my work now. For a while I was part of the drawing group Ultima Thule which held exhibitions in several places in this country besides abroad. I also participated in the drawing and painting group Krapplakk. Our studios were in the same house and we held exhibitions together. In recent years, drawing with charcoal and pastel has become my preferred technique. Charcoal and pastel are materials that are incredibly fascinating to work with on paper! But the painting will surely return!
TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process!
LD: I regularly draw croquis. The human body in spatial situations is technically challenging and at the same time inspiring in my artistic development. With charcoal and pastel, I work intuitively with shapes and colors, spaciousness and light. I am looking for compositions that give a characteristic expression and good experiences. I'm looking for the germs of excitement in what's already on paper. I do not have a thematic plan in advance, nor do I use specific stagings and am therefore free to receive impulses and ideas that come along the way in the work. My work turns into overtime. During the work, I let emotions, thoughts, memories, knowledge and empathy get "entered the arena". I choose colors, some lines, dots and characters that create chaos and that give resistance. I like to be there - in concentration with my gaze to be on guard all the time, to either add or to reject. I want a result that gives the eye an experience of small and large sensations and enables an experience of the entire image surface.
TF: What inspires you? Do you work from a theme?
LD: I find inspiration in the daily impressions and chores. Moods picked up after conversations and gatherings with family and friends - or when I read a book or listen to music. The work process in the studio is in itself inspiring - shape and color develop in surprising directions and give impulses to new expressions and images. Otherwise, I am especially fond of modern ballet - the interplay between music and movement in the room gives visual impressions that give me a lot. I do not work from a theme.
TF: What are you currently working on?
LD: I have just completed two large drawings for the Drawing Triennial 2019 to which I was so lucky to be invited. I have not made many large drawings, but for my exhibition in Tegnerforbundet in 2016 I showed a large drawing that was sold abroad. The buyer came back and wanted an even bigger drawing! This, plus the curator of the triennial wanted large formats, inspired and challenged me to make two large drawings for this autumn's triennial.
TF: What does drawing (drawing) mean for you / your work?
LD: Drawing means a lot. To be able to express myself with materials such as charcoal, pastel and pencil on a surface, a paper, in different qualities. Not having a thematic plan in advance requires the use of imagination - and effort! My way is to look for and use themes and shapes that appear on the surface during the work process - it's exciting. It will be going back and forth to the motif, assessing, putting on or taking off - so there will be a lot of walking during a day at the studio! The picture becomes a documentation of the work process over time. The details themselves can be insignificant, but in relation to each other, excitement can be created and guide the eye around the image surface and give an overall meaning: To arrive at an inspiring and exciting whole.
TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!
LD: There are two, not so big drawings. They are made with charcoal and pastel on paper. The work process is as I have described above. The titles are created after the drawings are completed.
Available works by Liv Dessen in the online store here .