Sverre Gullesen (born 1980, Mo i Rana, Norway) is a visual artist educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in Brussels. He has previously worked with performance and social choreography, but since 2015 he has worked primarily with sculpture and reliefs in concrete reliefs.
He has held board positions in OCA and NBK, among others, and chairmanships at Kunstnernes Hus and UKS, and from 2021 at Nitja. From 2006 to 2015 he worked with the artist group D.O.R and ran Gallery D.O.R in Brussels. He has exhibited at the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, The Armory Show, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Akershus Kunstnersenter, Lillestrøm, Kristiansand Kunsthall, 222T and NoPlace, Oslo. He is currently working exhibitions at Triumph Gallery, Moscow, Smena Center, Kazan, National Center for Contemporary Contemporary Art, Nizhny Novgorod, solo presentation at Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo and art for the new Tøyenbadet swimming pool.
The works in Sverre Gullesen’s exhibition interact in a poetic and implicitly political whole in line with the rest of his oeuvre. Here sculpture, politics and social practice are natural aspects of the same the same thing. Through his ambivalent engagement with the formal language of modernism, Gullesen indirectly addresses the ideologies associated with these forms. Weaknesses and flaws in the structures are given as much importance as the inherent beauty of the materials.
While the choice of technique and materials naturally points to the large public works and tightly representative public architecture of modernism, sculpture appears to be representative public architecture, the sculptures themselves appear rather organic and vulnerable, like wreckage and remnants of the ‘big ideas’ of the last century. The sculptures become metaphors for social structures under pressure, systems and ideologies that are breaking down. The tall, low, narrow, wide figures stand together in space, like individuals in an assembly. Each of them is a conglomerate of materials and references molded together into a new whole. Through eroded, hard sandblasted surfaces, wounds and cuts, the inner framework of the forms is revealed. In the two-dimensional works on the wall, the inner play of colours of the materials is exposed as a hint of unexplored potential. Gullesen’s work conceptually takes the form of a kind of phoenix: through the wounds and cracks one can glimpse glimpses of hope for the future in the remains of what has been.