Jennie Bringaker (b. 1978, Oslo) lives and works in Strømmen. She has a BFA from the Norwegian Theatre Academy at Østfold University College and an MFA in Studio Art from New York University. Her recent exhibitions include 'Lay Me Low', Nitja senter for samtidskunst, Lillestrøm; 'Gripp Extended', Sandefjord Kunstforening, Sandefjord; 'Constructing Structures', Coast Contemporary, Hovedøya, Oslo; 'Avbrutt kvinne', Salgshallen, Oslo; 'Amulet', Portabel, Oslo; 'Upstairs', Femtensesse, Oslo; 'Rostockgata Skulpturpark', Kunsthall Oslo, Oslo; 'Human Touch', Tegnetriennalen, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; and 'Pillow talk Bestiary', The Association of Norwegian Sculptors, Oslo. In 2022, solo exhibitions of Bringaker will be on show at Kunstnerforbundet and Femtensesse in Oslo. Her work is included in the collections of the National Museum of Norway, Oslo Municipality, Lørenskog Municipality and KORO – Public Art Norway.Photo: Tove Sivertsen
Interview with Jennie Bringaker
Jennie Bringaker, through her cooperation with the Femtensesse Gallery under the directorship of Jenny Kinge, has been selected for the new interdisciplinary Competence Programme for internationalisation. The programme, financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and facilitated by the network Norwegian Arts Abroad (NAA), was launched on 25 November and will continue until the end of June 2022.
The new interdisciplinary Competence Programme is for a team of one artist and one sales agent/gallery from each of the seven art fields; visual art, dance, literature, music, film, arts & crafts and design/architecture.
Seven participating teams were selected by an international jury made up of representatives selected from each of the NAA organisations. The Director of CHART, Nanna Hjortenberg, was the jury member selected by OCA to represent visual art.
In the past, many galleries in Norway have been forced to close due to financial limitations. In light of this, OCA was asked by the Ministry of Culture to administer an application-based support scheme to help facilitate an increased presence of Norwegian galleries at international art fairs from 2015 onwards, and by doing so, help secure commercial viability for them.
From the visual art field, OCA therefore asked to have applications from galleries that wanted to start participating at art fairs abroad for the first time for this Competence Programme.
The selected team from the visual art field was the Femtensesse Gallery with Jenny Kinge, and the first artist she wants to apply for participation in an art fair abroad with, Jennie Bringaker. The gallery’s goal is to connect Bringaker’s work to new audiences abroad and advance her profile internationally.
In addition, Bringaker has been selected by NRK (The Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation) to appear as one of Norway’s foremost contemporary artists in their production, Artist Life. The series will be broadcast from December 2021 to January 2022, with Bringaker’s profile being broadcast on 6 January 2022.
You started out as a performance artist and were part of the duo Trollkrem with Tor Erik Bøe from 2013 to 2018. In 2018 you began your practice as an independent sculptor and moved on from the performative aspect. What brought about this change?
I guess there will always be several reasons, both personal and professional for such a shift in one’s practice. For me, one of the main reasons was that I felt an urge to express my recent experiences of losing my father very suddenly - at the same time as the arrival of my child. The life and death binary suddenly became so real. I guess I needed to manifest something in real objects. In retrospect, I can see that this need for sculpting has always been there, but I never really dared to let it loose. The sculptures I made would be part of a bigger project, a performance, installation or theatre design. Also, dealing with sculpture was my father´s job for 37 years, as director of the sculptors' union. This made me think that sculpture was his world, not mine.
Are there any special themes that you are currently focusing on in your practice?
The first sculpture I made after deciding to take a break from performance was a clay model made in my bedroom. I had nailed the armature to a little stool, and when I took the sculpture in the car to be cast, the stool had to come with it as well. It was a sculpture of a hollow-eyed female figure with a child on top of her head. After this I made several other sculptures dealing with the relationship between a large mother figure and a small child. The power structure between them would be reversed in a way that the small figure somehow seemed to be more in control of the situation. I am still very much interested in exploring this dynamic but have recently also incorporated animal figures in the artworks, more specifically cats. They might be catty humans or human cats, hybrids from the past or maybe of the future. To me, the only hope for the future of the human species is to come to terms with being animal. There must be a shift in how we perceive our surroundings, away from the homocentric with humans as top priority.
I guess my work also deals with living as a very physical thing. That the mind and the body are one unit, not two separate entities. And experiences can never be purely mental, it is always linked to your physical self and the world around you.
Are there other artists or experiences that have inspired your artistic practice?
I am very much influenced by the work of Louise Bourgeois. The fact that she made some of her most complex and challenging work in her seventies never ceases to impress me. I also find her fearless exploration, with different materials and techniques, truly inspiring. It is hard to pick out one specific piece, but The Cells has a special place in my heart. They are such personal and detailed works, and at the same time sculpturally and conceptually very strong.
Niki de Saint Phalle, Marisol, Nicole Eisenmann are other artists that have been important in my own process these past years. The authors Margret Atwood and Kerstin Ekman, and theorist Donna Haraway are figures whose work I read frequently.
I would also like to mention the Norwegian artist Ingerid Kuiters, whom I recently got to know. I discovered her work through a catalogue that I found at Sandefjord Kunstforening and instantly fell in love with it! She is now 82 years old, but has never stopped working or exhibiting. She is an amazing person and artist!
Jenny Kinge (b. 1985, Oslo) is a gallerist and curator based in Oslo. Over the past years, she has worked as an independent curator for various institutions in Norway such as KORO – Public Art Norway, Munchmuseet, UKS – Young Artists’ Society and Oslo Academy of Fine Art. In combination with several freelance projects, from 2015 to 2019 she co-organised the artist-run gallery 1857. At the start of 2020, she opened Femtensesse, her own contemporary art gallery, exhibiting Norwegian and international artists.Photo: Niklas Hart
Femtensesse is a contemporary art gallery located in the Ila Pensjonat artists' complex in Oslo. In 2022, Femtensesse intends to feature a solo show of Norwegian artist Jennie Bringaker at an international art fair. Through a number of exhibition projects over the past years, Bringaker has distinguished herself as a fearless sculptor who creates figurative and stylised objects that speak for themselves. Her works have already captivated the Norwegian audience, and now is the time to introduce her works internationally. The presentation will consist of a careful selection of recent and new sculptural works by Bringaker.Photo: Istvan Virag