Art house Messen, Ålvik, Norway
Kunstnarhuset Messen, Ålvik, Norge

Vanessa Rosalia Larsen

Situated between the Hardangerfjord and grand mountains, Kunstnarhuset Messen provided incomparable scenery. It could not have been a better setting to undertake my nature-focused project and I spent a significant amount of time exploring the natural surroundings for inspiration.

The project centered around the concept of imprints- ones left on nature. The process of working was therefore an organic exploration of medium, techniques and subject-matter.

The re-use of materials was an important factor in my process in order to highlight the necessity for environmental sustainability. I printed with dead flowers and drew on paper and prints that had been damaged or leftover from previous projects.

Mountains surrounding the fjord were used as subject-matter. Their outlines were sketched and applied to hand-drawn grids that had been developed to incorporate a more fluid design. Using various shading techniques resulted in patterns that ultimately took on a form of their own.

(Vanessa Rosalia Larsen was guest artist at KHMessen in August 2020.)

November 15, 2020
Vanessa Rosalia Larsen

`Acausal connections and synergies of wholeness in chance events`

KH Messen, Ålvik by Beatrice Alvestad Lopez (Guest artist August 2020)

The title ` Acausal connections and synergies of wholeness in chance events` draws upon the notion of togetherness described by Carl.G Jung where fluidity and magic resonate in chance events and synergies as I worked site-specifically influenced by the unforeseen and spontaneous by placing myself as body within the environment using local matter, organic residue, driftwood and found objects in assemblages on site and in studio.

The Ålvik-totems were made up of found material from the basement of KH Messen and consisted of left-over residue from local factories and institutions such as glass tubes, pink bags for logs, navy ropes, beads and textiles crafting an alternative material language of place addressing sustainability, trans-local temporalities and hydro-feminism.

These assemblages and outdoor rituals open up a dialogue of environmental and local historical connotation in relation to chance elements, synchronicities and myth found in debris and objects. By working outdoor I relate to elemental forces, the non-human, ancestral narratives and belonging in uprooted time of crisis and climate anxiety. The ritualistic process of listening, walking, observing and touch establish a reciprocal connection to previous life spans and origins.

In processing the environment inward reflections take place in form of philosophical thought, spiritual affinities, approximations of anthropology and deep-ecology. I position my bodily self in nature in order to learn from nature, reconnect, heal and nurture earth emotions creating an alternative language for a new world.

Collection of Time
Elemental Bodies
Fruits of the Earth
November 4, 2020
`Acausal connections and synergies of wholeness in chance events`

A dance of the day

Our daily life seems to be gone, but perhaps this is the moment to discover another daily routine? Bergen based dance artist Yohei Hamada invites you to find your new morning routine and start the day with his daily short dance video letters.
Don’t panic, and take initiative of your life. Even in an unprecedented situation, there might be a lot of seeds of your daily life sprouting around you.

“A dance of the day” by our guest-artist Yohei Hamada

October 21, 2020
A dance of the day

Sandra Kruisbrink

NOW at Gallery Getekend in Heerenveen The Netherlands, the solo exhibition of SANDRA KRUISBRINK with recent drawings from Ålvik Norway !

Exhibition period: 20-9-2020 t|m 15-11-2020

SANDRA KRUISBRINK stayed in artist residency KHMessen in Ålvik, in the winter of 2019. The nature (fjord, mountains, forests) and the silence had a great attraction and were a source of inspiration. Sandra could roam around to photograph and draw. The exhibition includes a number of these drawings and a series that later emerged in her own studio.

She herself says about her work: “While drawing I filter the photographed images, edit the photo and dissect the image in such a way that it sometimes almost disappears. In this way I look for the limit of what I can leave out. I work almost meditatively in drawing an endless amount of lines, dots and minimal traces back to my memory. The silence and inaccessibility thus become subjects ”.

SANDRA KRUISBRINK participated in various exhibitions in the field of contemporary drawing. Her work was previously shown in the opening exhibition GETEKEND. She lives and works in Amsterdam.

Galerie Getekend
Stationsstraat 6
8441 AX Heerenveen

Lariks Ålvik, 2019, pigment ink, pastel and pencil on paper, 97 x 72,5 cm
Lariks Ålvik, 2019, pigment ink, pastel and pencil on paper, 97 x 72,5 cm
Pinus Sylvestris Krossfuru 2, 2020, tempera and pencil on paper, 29,5 x 42 cm
September 21, 2020
Sandra Kruisbrink

Johanne Teigen

At KHMessen I started my new interest to develop my work process in natural surroundings. I investigated the challenge of spaces where there already exists elements. The rocks at Hardangerfjorden became my starting point, where I moved from there and up towards Roaldsdalen and back again in the garden of KHMessen. While I was in these surroundings, I created a different awareness of my body, my perceptual capabilities, and my mental and physical constraints together with the paper and textile material I used. It was a reconnection for me.

(Johanne Teigen, Norway, was staying at KHMessen for a one-month-residency in August 2020) 

September 4, 2020
Johanne Teigen

Selection 2021

The selection committee at Kunstnarhuset Messen has now made the selection for 2021! That has been a very difficult decision this time all because of COVID19.

Because of the lockdown we have postponed the awarded working periods of all the artists from April, May, June, July, August and September this year to the next residency year 2021. Meaning, that we only had a few places left to offer to new artists, only for the months that were left over in 2021. That was a difficult decision to made with over 100 applications all of them from highly qualified artists.

We are pleased to announce the selection of 2021:

New selected artists:
Koen Kievits (the Netherlands)
Georgina Louise Campbell (Australia)
Danielle Klebes (USA)
Chih Hua Huang (Taiwan)
Andrew Neumann (USA)
Heidrun Rathgeb (Germany)
Jan Kromke (Germany)
Ina Loitzl (Austria)
Molly Joyce (USA)
Lynn Cazabon (USA)
Olia Fedorova (Ukraine)
Son Seon Kyung (South Korea)
Kuenlin Tsai (Taiwan)
Tero Juuti (Finland)
Ninet Kaijser (the Netherlands)
Efrat Merin (Israel)
Lucia Veronesi (Italy)
Paul Burn (USA/Germany)
Franzisca Siegrist (Swiss/Spain)
Christopher Eidtang (Norway)

Postponed artists from 2020 to 2021:
Julie Rafalski (Poland/USA)
Vardi Bobrow (Israel)
Kate Finegan (USA)
Marie Bink van Vollenhoven (the Netherlands)
Beth Frey (Canada)
Noor van der Brugge (the Netherlands)
Doris Marten (Germany)
Sky Kim (USA)
Kerstin Mörsch (Germany)
Hellen Abma (the Netherlands)
Christopher Squier (USA)
Anna Pangalou (Greece)
Ben Giles (UK)
Romane Armand (Belgium)
Scardoni Eléonore (France)
Bettina Henkel (Germany)
Marloes Staal (the Netherlands)
Timo Hofacker (the Netherlands)
Narumi Hori / Yuhi Kazama (Japan)

(illustration is made by Gregory Gan, during his stay at KHMessen)

August 19, 2020
Selection 2021

Intern open studio

During the whole Corona lockdown time KHMessen has had the pleasure to enjoy the stay of three guests that had to expand their stay to three months. All three artists have enjoyed their time at Messen during the lockdown. It felt like a safe place to be and within the restriction they still had the freedom to cycle, swim and take walks in the surrounding, next to their intensive studio work.

One of the three, Marion Blume left Messen a week ago and now Olivia and Greg are at the end of their stay. So yesterday we held our monthly open studio with a selective group of visitors.

Olivia Brelsford-Massey (UK) showed her process by presenting a short video with animation inspired by foundings in and around the house and the magic of the fjords. And by showing small drawings of thoughts and playful assets for her video and objects in her studio.


Gregory Gan (Russia nd Canada) read an short story to us in his studio about the existence of his watercolors and how they are tangled with his life. We listened to his story surrounded by his beautiful watercolors and video works.

May 31, 2020
Intern open studio

66 associations for 66 days

making sourdough
finding energy and inspiration in nature
finding back to nature
feeling itchy
overnight oats
morning coffee on the rocks
whales I haven’t seen but it is good enough to know they are out there
sleepless nights
sleepy days
the northern star
all kinds of weathers
spring, autumn and winter in one day
hard time
sourdough pancake
sourdough pizza
losing myself
finding faith in patience
learning to let time pass without feeling bad that nothing happened
there are just days
time flies
time stands still
movie nights
looking into troll caves
feeling hobbity
feeling blue
uncountable shades of blue
the freshest water and the cleanest air
feeling the freedom
being captured
no time
too much time
sticking my hand in moss
collecting wild garlic
zoom meetings
more ideas
hands on
hands off
peanut butter
frozen blue berries
factory sounds
waterfalls and streams
hiking and biking
being conscious
being careless
another hike
taking yourself for a walk
door handles
between mountain and fjord
more dough
How do we know that time has passed if we are imbedded in a dream which is so close to objectivity that it feels almost real?
Marion Blume. Ålvik, 05 May 2020

May 5, 2020
66 associations for 66 days

Closer to Home

I came to KHMessen to investigate dwelling places as social entities. I was born in Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, and when I was still a child, my family migrated to France, and then Canada. From my earliest memories, well into my adult life, and across several countries, I lived in high-rise apartments. In my artwork, I wanted to capture the ambiguity of feeling at once intimately connected, and anonymous amongst one’s neighbours.

I decided to recreate every house in which I lived using watercolour paintings. I would create a collection culminating in a painting of my latest “residence”: KHMessen. Besides the watercolours, I wanted to make a multimedia collage based on the outlines of these homes—a kind of Frankenhome—which would then be laid onto a large canvas to create a cyanotype, an architectural blueprint. This blueprint would be combined with video projections, soundscapes, watercolour sketches, and relief prints. The theoretical concept for which I sought a visual metaphor was an image schema, a visual, linguistic, embodied, and historical pattern the mind conjures to give us an understanding of the world, and arguably, forms the basis for our identity. My proposal aimed to visualize how each person’s unique history is intimately connected to their experience of lived places, and to other human beings. 

Shortly after I arrived to KHMessen, the first cases of COVID-19 virus began to emerge in Norway. As the situation intensified over the next several weeks, the Norwegian government enacted ever-stricter measures to control the pandemic. The situation brought into stark contrast my privilege of living in a remote village—I was able self-distance by going on hikes in the mountains, or bike rides along the fjord—and the lockdowns my friends and relatives faced across urban centres around the world. Around this time, I was painting my former home in Toronto—a twenty-two storey apartment block where I briefly lived with my mother and grandmother some years ago. As my paintbrush gave shape to the neat rows of apartment cubicles, I began to fret about how my mother and grandmother would need to negotiate interactions with their neighbours: every door handle, every pressed elevator button now represented a possible vector of transmission. I began making frantic phone calls organizing food deliveries, checking up on elderly relatives, and trying to convince them to stay home. 

The state of emergency catalyzed my thoughts about what I found truly important: paradoxically, as ever-stricter social distancing measures came into effect, I felt ever-closer to people across ever-widening physical distances. As we experienced isolation, fear, anxiety, or boredom each in our particular ways, friends, colleagues, and family began finding new ways of connecting on social media. At that moment, having painted thirteen out of a planned thirty former domiciles, and having drafted video projections onto a blank canvas, I placed the project I tentatively titled Closer to Home on hold. Besides, I reasoned that watercolours would make an ideal pastime for the two-week self-quarantine I would have to undergo at my next destination, wherever that may be. As booked flights, festivals, conferences, and teaching engagements were predictably cancelled, or rerouted online, I found myself much more amenable to small changes, finding that I needed to muster my resources to prepare for the big ones.

I am now working to establish connections with other artists who find themselves in similarly precarious situations. Amongst colleagues working in art, film, and anthropology, we launched an Artist Support Network (, which aims to provide support to artists adapting their modes of creative production to changing circumstances. We began hosting online gatherings, where we discuss how to respond to the crisis most effectively as artists, and as community members. Using an online platform, we are also pooling together resource for artists, filmmakers, and educators, who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

My work has also taken on a much more personal quality. I started recording video letters, largely unedited and improvised, which I began sending out to relatives and friends. I bring my friends along on hikes, bike rides, or on daily routines. The rawness and immediacy of these tele-messages feels authentic. It is, perhaps, a way that I intimately connect the experience of a lived place to other human beings.

Gregory Gan  (Ålvik 03.04.2020)

April 4, 2020
Closer to Home

Survival tips part 2

survival tips part 2:

– how to listen to rocks

– making bread from clouds

– how to knit from seaweed

– and ask for seaweeds’ permission

– creating anything from dust

– and other waste.

– rewriting old myths

– drawing intentions from sticks

– ways to locate electricity in the earth.

– ways to befriend water

– ways to decolonize 

– ways to sew seeds.

– making fabrics from shadows

– boats from syllables

– music from canned beans

– friends with grass.


Olivia Brelsford-Massey

March 28, 2020
Survival tips part 2