Call to participate in Norway’s First Small Talk Festival

On Tuesday May 24th from 18:00 till 21:00 (or later) Ålvik will have the premiere of a new festival dedicated to small talk. The festival will take place at Ålvik’s Open Air Music Chapel (OAMC). The rollable, foldable small talk starters kit that is made by Messen’s resident PJ Bruyniks will be shown there. This is an interactive construction that invites you to talk with each other about all the small things in life. Or big things.
But there is a lot more to this festival in which we call upon you to participate!

There will be an open mic for your short songs, short stories, jokes and other performances. You can sell your own small talk snacks (snikksnakk snacks) like cakes, brownies, pies, local delicacies. You can sell (and buy) small things at the small market. You can play small games, see short movies, anything as long as it is small. School children, parents, workers from the not so small factory all can participate, perform, sell and buy. Anyone can use the stage, the grasslands and the open mic.

Please participate in this unique festival! You can participate with a performance, a song, a snack or anything else.
Contact Bjørn Otto Wallevik ( in Norwegian or PJ Bruyniks ( in English for more information or to register yourself as participant.
When more is known about the program we will come back with more information.
Har du litt lyst å væra med på truleg Norges fyrste Småprat Festival ?
Tysdag 24 mai fra18.00 -21.00 på Storhaug er det planlagt ein liten festival. 
Artisten PJ Bruyniks har laga eit “småprat-start-sett” som går på hjul og kan foldast i saman, vil bli vist på festivalen. Det er ein konstruksjon som inviterar til å snakka saman om dei små ting i livet. Eller dei store.

Men det kan være mykje meir på denne festivalen og me håpar du vil være med å delta.Det vil væra ein mikrofon for små songar, korte historier, vitsar med meir.
Du kan selja ditt heimelaga småprat -snacks ( Snikksnakk Snacks) som kaker, brownies, kaker eller andre ting. Du kan selja (og kjøpa) små ting på mini marknad. Du kan spela små spel, sjå korte filmar, berre det har eit lite format.
Skule born, foreldre, unge, eldre, arbeidarar frå den ikkje akkurat vetle fabrikken kan delta med å opptre på scenen, selja og kjøpa. Alle som vil kan bruka scenen og ledig området rund på Storhaug. 
PJ har satt sitt eige namn på Storhaug og kallar det for Ålvik’s Open Air Music Chapel (OAMC). “Ålvik’s utandørs frilufts musikk kapell”

Veldig bra om du vil væra med på denne unike mini-festivalen. Som nemnt kan du delta med å opptre, synga ein song, spela eit lite instrument, noko godt å bita i eller noko anna lite.
Du kan kontakta Bjørn Otto for å ta det på norsk eller direkte med PJ Bruyniks (på engelsk) for å meir informasjon og for å melda deg på som deltakar.
Nå meir eg kjent med programmet for festivalen kjem me tilbake med informasjon.


Call to participate - Flyer

KHMessen at Galleri puls

Messen’s Open House is a public meeting between the guestartists, staying in Messen at that moment,
and the local people and those interested. The guestartists give a presentation about their work, a workshop or give a concert.
In every way they would like to present themselves, and their work.

All works and photographs by Tiziana Abretti

Invitasjon Messen_Puls







Exhibition Ellen de Vries

Ellen de Vries is a dutch photographer, living in Haarlem (NL), who was a resident of Messen during the summer of 2014.
The result of her stay is now visable, projected as slide show, on the windows of Galleri puls in Norheimsund. Until February 2016.

Interview with Ellen de Vries, after her stay in 2014.

What did your stay at Messen mean for your artistic work?
A stay at Messen gave me the opportunity to explore the region for making my photographic art work. In general: travelling and staying for a while in another place is valuable for me to broaden my view and to create my own photographic world.

What were the results?
I created new photographic work.  Back home I developed my films and made small prints. From a selection a made five photographic prints of one square meter. These artworks are exhibit on a exhibition of Noorderlicht. I hope this exhibition will travel to Norway! (and they did right now!)

What, if it did, did your stay mean for you in your artistic work and development?
I had the time to absorb the study of light; especially the blue light. More over; during my stay there were artist who also where interested in the phenomenon of blue light. That was very interesting and inspiring for me (explored new literature and new ways of thinking/seeing).

What did your stay do for your knowledge of Hardanger and Norway?
As a landscape photographer and social geographer I always explore the region. First on map and later in reality. Probably I have seen more of the Hardanger region then most inhabitants have…

How has the stay influenced your contact with other artists?
Very inspiring. Especial for the study of blue light, as I mentioned before. Hope to catch up again with some of the artist. Not only with the artists in the house, but also with artist who life in the region. Good reason to come back once again.

Source: Messen documentation website:

Framsiden-Puls2 Framsiden-Puls1

Ho Ho Ho

Ho, Ho, Ho, Christmas is on it´s way ! Here comes our Christmas wish :

Christmas-KHMessen2015 kopie

An Inspirational Residency

Having spent a wonderful 6 weeks at Messen Kunstnarhuset over the previous summer, I was keen to return there for September and October 2015. It is really an inspirational residency. The environment – on the banks of Hardanger fjord – is spectacular. There are wonderful trees and plants and rocks to draw, endless walking possibilities, and at that time of year, a plentiful supply of blueberries to eat as you go. And at least as inspiring as the stunning natural environment is the generous artistic community that thrives at Messen.

The residency exists because of the continuing vision and efforts of a group of artists who are from or have moved to this special part of Norway. As a visiting artist, one has many opportunities for creative exchange – with fellow artists-in-residence, with those artists who live and/or have permanent studios there, and with those who belong to the two artist collectives associated with managing the house and residency.

Links are forged between resident artists and the local community. In late September, the public were invited to presentations/open studio sessions by me and fellow resident artists – Karla Caprali (Brazil/USA) and Kit Kelen (Macao/Australia). Around this time too, at the invitation of Simone Hooymans and Hans Pulles (Messen’s resident artists and caretakers), I enjoyed running a collaborative forest drawing workshop for a group of eight-year old Ålvik children, guiding them in drawing a large collaborative forest picture.

exh11 exh12 exh13

Around a month later, the public were invited to another event. The Messen Autumn Show (October 24-25, 2015) was the initiative of the six of us who were resident in October – Kit Kelen, Kristen Keegan (Canada), Ranveig Lægreid (Norway), George Ridgway (UK) and Dafna Staretz (Israel/Germany). The presentation of paintings, drawings and installation works was accompanied by the performance of poetry, vocal and musical improvisation works. My contribution to the exhibition consisted of two folding books – Scots Pines of Ålvik and the next chapter of the Tree Diary (a work-in-progress begun at ARNA Art and Nature Residency in Harlosa in Sweden during the summer, as well as a number of small ink and watercolour drawings, a drawing installation and two larger watercolour and ink works.

exh1a exh1b exh1c exh2b Exh3 Exh4 exh6  exh9

Planning and presenting this event (which was amazingly well-attended despite the short notice!) was a real pleasure – evidence of the good will, generosity and creativity not just of the current artists-in-residence but of the communities who foster and maintain this fantastic residency.


Truande [looming]

The sea is steely grey and reflective, hard and animated.

The bus carries me out of the town, past the place where I was shown how to pull a trigger and swing a lasso, past the place we moored a boat and attended a small camp-fire party one pleasant evening, past the steps to Kjepso, past the spot where they are building a new tunnel: the machines at peace today because it is Sunday.

A pause in Kvandall to meet the ferry and then it’s off again towards Granvin where the fjord is narrow and the mountain face on the far side is so sheer that there is no road. The trees cling to the mountain and reach up and up towards the sky. They run out of soil before they reach the top where the exposed rock is blanketed only in cloud, not tree. The rain darkens and weighs down upon everything.

As my departure date approaches, the sculptural mid-summer bonfires along the shores grow bigger.

Susan hughes artist (Ireland), Messen, Ålvik, artist residency , Norway

This is a link to Susan´s Norwegian blogs:


rain on the fjord, photo Susan Hughes


I awaken dreaming of home where waves crash white on a beach, dramatic and full of light.

Here, far inland from the open sea, the waves lap.

Today the fjord is calm and the sun shines. The air is sweet and I drink it up in long breaths marvelling at its taste, so clear and sharp it cuts through my body. After much standing and looking I peel off my Doc Marten boots and layers of tights and socks. My soles grip the warmed rock as I scamper across and down to a small pebble shore, one of the few places where the water is accessible. The water in the shallows slips over my feet, cold and fresh. I stand still, breathing. A larger-than-usual flock of seagulls flies over me. I wonder if they are agitated by something.


photo Susan Hughes

I hear a sound, much like the sighs that come from the factory, but from out on the water and not so far away. Porpoise, I guess excitedly as I look over to see sleek black forms breaking the surface coming around the corner of the huge rock which continues the mountainside deep underneath. Up come the fins: one, two, three. Two adults and a calf tucked in close. No, definitely bigger than porpoise. Dolphins? These move slower than dolphins. They breathe again, shooting up a spray indicating a big set of lungs. I am confused. The sound their breath makes in this stillness is larger than anything I have heard from any other creature.

Instantly a memory shoots into my consciousness out of forgotten depths. I am in Knut’s car, driving along the winding roads, though tunnels in rock as he drives us to play in a concert in a small Folkets Hus on up the fjord. I am asking him if he has seen the porpoise. ‘Oh yes’, he says, ‘and the other ones, the whales’. ‘Whales? No!’ I say, incredulous and jealous. ‘Yes’, he replies cooly, ‘these ones with the black and white. I have seen them’.

Jesus, I now think, could these be orca? And there, a head moving a little bit more out of the water to reveal a clean white mark against the black – the marking of an orca. It must be. I cannot believe it.

All through the years, all those hours standing on rocks just like this looking out at the sea hoping, wishing to see a whale; here in the Hardangerfjord, or in Donegal, at home in Down or in Kerry, in England, Spain or on the log-filled beaches of British Columbia, always dreaming, seeing them only ever in my dreams.

And here they are, three at once, passing me by and disappearing.


Susan Hughes from Ireland

Susan wrote a lot about her experience in Norway on her blog:

Knitting project in Ålvik

Jen Pepper lived for one month in Kunstnarhuset Messen, and started up this project because of her fascination about water and topographic maps.

Pepper: “My project “How to wear a Hardangerfjord” is a collaborative project with three women from Alvik, Astrid Farestveit Selsvold, Camilla Gangal and Merete Salvesen Wallevik.

Much of the motivation behind my artistic projects has to do with translation and how forms are in constant ebb and flow. It’s natural to me to be attracted to water, and as a resident artist at KH Messen that is situated only a few steps from the Hardangerfjord was a perfect inspirational location for me to take up residence for the month of March.

In my art practice I make use of materials that are flexible in nature, often working with metals, rubber, and fibers, etc. My mother was a master knitter, and as a child I marveled at the way she could read knit code like a book, turning a long line of wool into a three dimensional form (a sweater).

As an artist I am also keenly interested in cartography and the process of map making, translations, if you will, of land and especially water bodies that are presented as finite illustrations, but in actuality are constantly shifting and changing. Nothing is ever permanent.

Transforming the shape of the Hardangerfjord into a fluid knit matrix of Norwegian knitting designs, is an additional layer of translation – allowing for a certain knit code to be read and interpreted through yarn which to me is similar to that of the act of seeing, drawing and interpreting the world around us.

My plan is to photograph and video different ways people might “wear the Hardangerfjord” as a performative object, in the location of Alvik; a shawl, a baby blanket, a tent, a cape, a hat, a hammock.  To be “wrapped up” in the Hardangerfjord is my intention of this great waterway that has been, and remains to be, so vital culturally, ecologically and environmentally to the western part of Norway.

Working with the community members of Alvik has been a great treasure, personally and professionally, tethering me to knitting traditions, the people and many cultural histories of Alvik and Norway.”


Hordaland Folkeblad-Pepper-72

Hordaland Folkeblad.pdf

Coming into the Fjord

Hello from North Carolina!

Now, deep in January—which I realize may mean something very different in the American South than it does in Norway, or Australia, or in the other far-flung places from which artists and writers have come to Ǻlvik—I’m warmed by thoughts of my August on the fjord. (Does anyone else from the Not-Norwegian world find that their automatic-pilot typing fingers resist typing a “j” right after an “f?”)

Here are a few of the poems that landed on me sitting on the rocks looking out over the water. You know what I mean.

Coming into the Fjord

A seagull yaps like a puppy announcing a new arrival.
Another creaks like a gate too long unopened.
A fly hums by me but doesn’t land.

No midges or mosquitoes, here. No fire-ants
To keep you tense and dodging. A few furred bees, is all,
mumbling on the yellow vetch.

Any biting thing, I brought it with me.
I can send it back. Tonight, I’ll sleep with the window wide
and let the air come in.


The air here is—What can you say of an air that doesn’t bear
The smell of smoke, perfume, or must? Only that it changes.
Steady sameness makes us blind and numb.

Swinging puffs of gentleness cool my skin.
Then pause and let it heat again. The sun.

A person could get sun-burned here.
I think a person wouldn’t care. The wind.

Thanking and Asking

For moments—more than moments, really—for whole minutes of savored mental peace.
For pieces knitting back together.
For finding a gift.
For learning to ask, consciously, and in all directions.
For healing: brain, body, and beyond.
For stories.
For joy.
For union and re-union.
For swilling it around in my mouth to get every bit of the flavor.
For the trail of crumbs.
For eyes to see the crumbs and courage to follow them into the dark woods,
bending under the low branches, bowing to the shadows.
For this channel, this invisible-on-the-surface path through the shallows
between rocks where the surf breaks and boats and bones could break too
if it weren’t for this one deep still safe strand of true water
that may carry me, if I don’t steer stupid and fight the flow.

Writing in the dark, you can’t even see the words you leave behind your self.
You just fling them down. The birds will come and neaten up after you are done.


Let me walk in the sun today
And let the sun speak

Let it speak to my eyes,
To my visual cortex
To my pituitary
To my neurochemistry
To every cell of me
Let the sun speak
And let my cells listen
To that ancient agitation,
Molecular ears trembling
With atomic wonder.

Let my neurons shiver and crack with it
Let my thoughts hatch out
Feathered by the message of the sun.

Staying Afloat

It’s whitewater
this swirl of adrenaline serotonin
PEA cortisol testosterone oxitocin
and the unnamed effluents of factories undiscovered.

and me in this tiny, tossing shell
gripping my paddle
for dear life
for life is dear
and if I go down
if this torrent takes me
down where there is no air
down where there is no breath
where the battering currents
break my tender body on the rocks
or pin it under hungry fallen trees…

…then I come apart

then I am just another stream
hither-and-thither molecules
just bits

no boat

no paddler

no eye.

Donna Glee Williams, RN, MFA, PhD
NCCAT Center Fellow
The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching


photograph: Hans Pulles


God Jul !

This year, 2014, has been a exciting and dynamic year for Messen. Why? Because we have had special visitors from all over the world! Writers, poets, painters, performancers, photographers, people making beautiful drawings and people doing creative research. We laughed, talked and made lots of new friends. Sometimes the projects and initiative of an artist became a bigger plan, like a publication of the work made in Messen, or an exhibition with all the work made in Messen. We like that ofcourse. But also without a visual result, we are sure that the time in Messen influenced somehow the creative mind.

It was also a dynamic year because the artists of Messen and some of the guest artists gave a serie of workshops to the local schools. That was fun and informative ! And to be continued in 2015.

It is always a bit sad to say goodbye again to someone, who has been a housemate for a while, and even became a friend. But luckily for us, a lot of you return to Messen one day, for a new creative dive into the Hardanger !

So, we hope to see you again in 2015, and we hope to meet you in 2015 !

Merry X-mass


Carol Archer: thoughts on the sublime

Carol Archer Profile pictureMaking art at Messen Kunstnarhuset impressed on me the wonders of light, colour and nature in this remarkable part of the world. The sky exerted a magnetic attraction on me and I found myself noting its changing colour throughout the days and nights I spent there, particularly as the days lengthened between mid-June (when I arrived) and the time of the summer solstice.

I loved the sustained twilight and the deep blues of the midsummer night sky.

Day sky Messen midsummer14

Night skyMessenmidsummer14

Although I’ve taught students about Romantic painting for years, it was my stay on Hardanger fjord that really deepened my understanding of the notion of the sublime. Such environments are humbling because of the inescapable knowledge that one’s own efforts – and one’s very being – cannot but be puny and transient by comparison.

During my stay at Messen I was lucky to see an exhibition in nearby Oystese of Norwegian Romantic Painting, including many wonderful works portraying the Hardanger fjord.  It is true, I think, that the sublime environment stirs one’s creative impulses – even if, like me, the portrayal of the grandeur of that environment is not the subject of one’s work. Although I did some studies of the view of the fjord from my studio window and the Folgefonna glacier, my own work at Messen was centred on smaller wonders: the local trees and their leaves and the stones at the nearby fjord beach.

two tree studies Messen 14

Tree studies, watercolour on handmade paper, 22 x 15 cm.

Tree study messen july14

Tree study, oil on handmade paper, 22 x 15 cm.



Plantand stonestudies14 Messen

An Ålvik Tree and Stone Register, ink and watercolour on paper in a Chinese folding book approximately 10 x 25cm in size.

Carol stayed for 2 months in Messen, last summer, together with the artist and writer Kit Kelen.