Art

Håkon Gullvåg – Norways royal master painter gives me a tour of his studios

Håkon Gullvåg – Norways royal master painter gives me a tour of his studios

A while back I had a very interesting meeting with Håkon Gullvåg. I was in Trondheim to report on the Trondheim Jazzfest and during my stay in the Rica Nidelven I noticed they had a few very interesting paintings on the wall. I asked about the painter and our press contact told us about the famous/infamous Håkon. She told us he had a studio in the city and trough a mutual friend we reached out to see if we could setup a meeting. He happened to be in town and the next morning we met the man himself at his studio for a long talk and an exclusive tour of his amazing workspace.

Early on Håkon Gullvåg found a unique figurative expression, which to a large degree reflects aspects of his well-developed talent for drawing. He has a supple and lively brush-stroke, and a rare ability to communicate the motif’s distinctive character.

Håkon Gullvåg (b. 1959) was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway. Already at 16 years old he attended the Art School of Trondheim (renamed Trondheim Art Academy in 1977). He boldly experimented in various directions, both abstract and figurative, yet from the end of the 1970s the figurative expression reined supreme.

His artistic breakthrough happened at his Oslo-debut in Gallery Dobloug in 1983, and several key institutions purchased his works. The critics were positive, several deemed him a postmodern painter, given how he elegantly fused together elements from art historical styles with different types of symbols, and refigured them into things with a new distinctive character.

Since the early ’90s he has developed the painting towards what we still view as his foremost hallmark: A voluptuous baroque style, where the motif is sketched in sharp colours against an almost always night-black background. The dramatic mode of painting emphasizes a theme that receives increasing place in Gullvåg’s art; the transience of being.

Since 1995 Gullvåg has received several large commissions for liturgical artworks, distinguishing himself as one of Norway’s foremost artists in this field. Almost parallel to this, he received acclaim for his portrait-project of well-known Norwegians) – in recent years his portraits of the king and queen have generated considerable attention.

Also his works temporarily mounted in Nidaros Cathedral, Summer 2005, have created great media attention and many heated debates. Indeed, it has been several decades since we last saw an artist who has managed to create so much debate and at such intensity.

More info at: http://haakon-gullvaag.no/en-forsiden

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Florian Rooz

August 8th, 2014

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