Art project, straight from Hvittingfoss

Patrik Entian and Aleksi Wildhagen make up the art group & Co. & Co. was founded July 2014.

During the recent period they have been working at a location at Hvittingfoss. A rather strange and abandoned place some might find, They have been recieved there by a couple who lives on a large estate. & Co seemingly found this spacious abode a world of its own, with many curious details and motifs, apt to inspire working on paintings.

& Co exhibit the fruits of their labour at Gallery LNM in Oslo from 11.05-04.06.

On the exhibition opening, a middle aged couple, rustic and cowboy-looking with hats and other paraphernalia, were sitting at the reception table. Their presence seemed theatrical, one almost expected them to deliver some sort of performance. But it never happened, at least when I was there. Instead, we were given to examine a collection of numerous paintings in different formats.

The artist`s have produced mainly abstract and semi-abstract paintings. The paintings are for the most part in light colours with a delicate expressive style, The atmosphere seem to be one of tranquility, observing and patience.

The leitemotif for the paintings are the surroundings in Hvittingfoss, where the painters have been working on the property of the couple who lives there. This couple´s abode has evidently been the source of much fascination on part of the painters. They have been working in this place for a long period, ever finding sources of new ideas. One gets curious, what kind of a place is this really? The paintings shroud it in mystery and tell their own story.

The connection with the Hvittingfoss location seems of vital importance to the artists, but the traces of this connnection is not obvious in the paintings. Partly due to their absract nature. Yet it is an enticing and humorous background story that the exhibition context brings forth. Soon one might get the idea that the paintings are after all connected with this rustic couple living somewhat isolated on their country estate.

Moreover, the artists would probably not have produced these paintings elsewhere.

& Co in this exhibition have quite similar painting styles, and since the paintings are unnamed it is in fact rather difficult to tell them a part. As such the project seem to be a process of inspiration between artists as well.

In September 2014, & Co. had their debut on the National Art Exhibition #127, (an annual art exhibition established in 1882, Oslo, Norway). Their contribution was a performance that took place during the exhibition period. With live drawing they documented each artwork in the exhibition, they blended amongst the visitors, they wore hearing protection, which gave them the opportunity to focus on the drawing task.

Since October 2014, & Co. have met up every monday and friday in Hvittingfoss, a small town community situated exactly half the distance between the two & Co. members homes. Here their work consist of using the place as their studio and playground for painting, drawing and photographing, in addition to conversations with the locals and random passers by.

The project has previously been presented in an exhibition and book release at the petrol station in Hvittingfoss. The book contains of documentation of the outdoor working process around Hvittingfoss centre, texts by the artists and a huge documentation of paintings and drawings made so far. And now the project has reached Gallery LNM in Oslo.

- Jørgen Flatabø

(Photos by courtesy of the artists)