The Drawing Triennial's main exhibition - All that Lies Between

Oct 13, 2023


Dec 22, 2023

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The exhibition All that Lies Between in Tegnerforbundet is the main exhibition for The Drawing Triennial 2023.

This year's triennial takes place, alongside Tegnerforbundet, at the National Museum, Deichman Bjørvika and Tenthaus.

Opening October 12, 2023 (see opening program)

Find out more about the Drawing Triennial 2023.


All that lies between. Everything that lies between the drawn and the written. The stories that should not be written down, but that find their proper form through drawing. The spaces, the white spots on our linguistic map, that take place between the words. The drawings that evade the words, and the words that fill the drawings with new content. Thirteen artists are exhibiting in Tegnerforbundet's gallery with works that move in this landscape - between the drawing and the text, the line and the word, the materiality of paper and the immateriality of speech. The curator of the exhibition at Tegnerforbundet is Ottar Karlsen.

Learning to speak is a time-consuming process. From an infant's babbling to its first word, up to more or less full control of language. During this process, we learn to pronounce words and phrases correctly, and understand that language has rules and a logic of its own. There is a right way to use language, and there is a wrong way to use language. Language inhabits us. By the time we hit our early teens, most of us stop drawing. We become overly critical of our drawings, they don't resemble reality, and they don't resemble what we imagined when we sat down to draw. We stop using drawn lines to explore the world. What about the rest? All that lies outside of what we have been taught to express? The meanings that are not expressed with and through words, but which lie between words. Behind words. What aesthetic, political and linguistic discoveries are hidden in our language? What stories exist in the drawings of those who never stopped drawing?   

Adam Pendleton creates visually striking text work. Words and sentences in English dominate the image. We know the words, and we understand the sentences, but they still strike us as novel. Pendelton directs a critical spotlight on the words that build the story. Is language a tool or a ruin? If it is a ruin, maybe something new can be built up from the fragments that remain?

Gabrielle Paré also makes use of English in her art, a language most people in Norway speak and understand nowadays. Paré uncovers new meaning between the cracks in language, in linguistic nooks and crannies, and sheds a light to reveal what lies hidden there. Paré analyzes the way we all have different degrees of access to language. She examines how despite sharing the same letters and words, parts of the language that are everyday speech for some still remain inaccessible to others. 

Christina Bruland examines a language that is not accessible to many of us. As an artist and sign language interpreter, Bruland uses Norwegian sign language as artistic material. Through printmaking and clay, Bruland captures this fleeting language between immaterial signs, drawings and concrete meaning, leading the way to a third language: art as a form of communication. 

Araiz Mesanza examines another immaterial and fleeting element of communication: the position of the tongue in the mouth, and the shape of the lips when words and sounds are pronounced. Mesanza has created an alphabet made up of what looks like clouds of dust or shadows. It is an alphabet that reflects the fact that – despite our many different languages and dialects – it is the same mouth and tongue that do the job of pronunciation. Sounds that are pronounced the same or almost the same, but mean very different things in different languages, create new layers of misunderstandings on our Babelian journey through history. What if these sounds could find their own form, become their own alphabet? Who could speak this language? 

Mette Stausland 's drawings are the concrete traces of an inquiring process. Her works are not drawings that convey an external or personal story, they are in themselves the drawn story of their own creation. The traces of this creation, the search on paper for the right shape, the blurred lines and shapes, become a separate language that finds its expression as it is recorded. 

If Stausland's drawing is language in the making, Terje Nicolaisen 's works can be seen as a zeroing of an artistic language. In his project for the Drawing Triennale, he attempts a new start, with blank sheets, so to speak, in order to experience what appears on paper during an artistic reset. What can be created in the attempt to forget rehearsed strokes and formulations? Is it even possible to restart? 

Jan Groth did not work with language as such. Nevertheless, his lines and marks can be reminiscent of signs and symbols. They are as much intimate presence as they are a nod to a system beyond themselves. Groth's drawing is entitled Pre-alfabet, which gives it a more concrete meaning. Here, the spontaneous hand movements aim not only to manifest their existence; these lines seek systematizing, to be arranged. But it's not there quite yet; as a pre-alphabet, this is an expression of what comes before systems and meaning. What can be found here? Which words and meanings will eventually be formulated by this pre-alphabet? Can we allow ourselves to speculate whether Groth's alphabet, once it finds its true form, can formulate a thought we cannot yet access?   

Bui Quy Son uses language as raw material in his work. In an attempt to create a new language, he bends and breaks its existing physical form. By creating a new typography, or changing an existing typography, he seeks to change the meaning of the language. Can words and expressions filled with xenophobia, racism and homophobia be detached from discriminatory content by skewing their meaning? Are certain attitudes wrapped up in typography, as they are in language and culture?

One of the questions that the curatorial group brought into their work with the Drawing Triennale was whether drawing can be considered a language of its own. A general and universal language, divested from the internal logic and rules of everyday language, but with added nuances and extended recognition. Is it accurate to claim that certain stories and experiences can be more precisely expressed through drawing, rather than searching for and putting together the right words?   

 Both Sissel Fredriksen and Victor Guzman use drawing as a tool to tell stories; about war and suffering, growing up and the search for community. 

Sissel Fredriksen has drawn television screens, which show destroyed buildings, destroyed homes and oppressive bomb shelters. The images originate from the war in Ukraine, and show the suffering of the Ukrainian people and the consequences of Russia's missile attacks against the country. In the corner of the drawn screens we see the small blue logo from a news channel or television station. There is distance between the bomb shelters and Fredriksen who draws them, just as there is distance between Fredriksen's drawing and us as viewers. There is distance between Ukraine and Oslo. What does this distance do to us? Can Fredriksen's drawing of television screens convey something of our own sense of despair and helplessness? Can it say something about our own place in the world?   

Victor Guzman's  project "As we recall home" is about finding one's place in the world. Guzman's family came from Chile to Norway. In his drawings, we are given access to a close and private sphere. As if we are visiting his childhood home, surrounded by familial order and chaos, we take part in everyday life and play. Scattered across the drawing's surface are spots of color reminiscent of childish scribbles. On closer inspection, we see that they are satellite dishes. In Guzman's drawings, these colorful satellite dishes become a sign, a symbol of the family's search for belonging and, in anticipation of this, their search for Chilean television channels. 

Aurora Passero Can a textile installation function as an independent physical language? A language where tactile proximity and presence replaces words? What can we read in such a language, what opinions and statements are woven into the threads? Aurora Passero works with textile installations that engage the surrounding architecture in dialogue. She seeks contradictions within, and between, her works, an abstracted language, where the raw and substantial meets the subtle and fragile. Passero mixes genres and qualities to create visual disharmony and tension, and freely draws inspiration from popular and undergroundculture, art history, craft tradition and ethnological material. For TT23, Passero has created a woven statement, a counterpoint in the form of threads and air, resistance and lightness.

Johan Urban Bergquist and Marthe A Andersen hunt for the hidden sides of our consciousness, and of our socio-economic history. In Marthe's performative lecture, we are guided through the secret history of banknotes, and are introduced to the hidden symbols, ghost drawings and meanings hidden in them. In all our collective wealth, what do the designs on the banknotes tell us about our own history and self-image? Can they give us new insight into our symbolic values, or reveal something about us that we didn't know before? 

The probability of revealing something previously unknown about ourselves is high indeed when Bergquist's alter ego, Orakelet, uses oracle cards to perform a reading. In a work that borrows as much from drawing as performance art and relational art, Orakelet will delve into the dreams of the audience, interpret and predict them.   



About the participating artists

Works list


Image (detail): Adam Pendleton. Untitled (Who is Queen). 2021. Silkscreen ink on Mylar. Adam Pendleton, courtesy of Private Collection and the gallery Max Hetzler Berlin, Paris, London. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur.