About Kunsthall Svalbard

Northern Norway Art Museum opened Kunsthall Svalbard in Longyearbyen in 2015 as a dedicated exhibition and project space for international contemporary art. Northern Norway Art Museum is a central actor within the visual arts in Norway and, increasingly, the international circumpolar North. From its base in Tromsø, the Museum serves Norway’s three northernmost counties (Nordland, Troms, Finnmark) and Svalbard through exhibitions, research and related arts programming. A part of Kunsthall Svaldbard’s activity centers around an Artist in Residence programme sponsored by SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge’s Cultural Business Development Foundation.

Kunsthall Svalbard’s inaugural residency project was a series of exploratory probes by Olav Christopher Jenssen into the biological, geo-political and cultural aspects of Svalbard’s contemporary landscape. Jenssen brought with him to Longyearbyen two custom-made expedition cases, each housing 25 aluminium plates upon which to record and react to his experiences in the Arctic. These plates are informed in turn by a group of over 200 watercolours that served as an initial mode of creative documentation and reflection. Added to this areelements transposed from Jenssen’s temporary studio in Longyearbyen, a makeshift atelier populated by zoological specimens in the old Svalbard Museum. The underlying experimental nature of Jenssen’s residency project resonates with previous histories of Arctic exploration imagery, while simultaneously linking to the wide spectrum of scientific research activities central to Svalbard’s identity today.