Photo: Susann Jamtøy

Open Space i Trondhjems Kunstforening 2019

Open Space in Trondheim Art Society, Norway
Title: The space between us

Open Space Artist Group: Lisa Pacini, Christine Istad, Mona K. Lalim and Hennie Ann Isdahl
Medium: Painting, photography, sculpture, object and video



The original nature of colours is that of a dreamlike tone, a light-induced music. The moment I form thoughts, concepts and phrases about colours, their scent dissolves, and I hold on to only their material bodies.
– Johannes Itten, 1961


At a time when issues concerning architectural qualities, urban space and the lack of colour are frequently discussed, Trondhjems Kunstforening invites the Open Space group through its purple doors to take over its exhibition space. The four individual voices of Lisa Pacini, Hennie Ann Isdahl, Mona K. Lalim, and Christine Istad unite in a collective study of spatial constructions, perceptual, psychological effects and the expressive power of colours. The four of them, together with the exhibition space, constitute the quintessence, this ether that allows us to perceive colours, light and space. In his time, colour theorist and Bauhaus teacher Johannes Itten told his students that "Knowledge of the rules of the form should not be a prison, but rather a liberation from uncertainty and unclear sensations." In the exhibition, spatial constructions and dialogues are intersected with each artist's distinctive expression, in an example of the liberation Itten articulates.
In Japanese philosophy and pictorial tradition, the empty space is filled with invisible structures, and the Japanese word for a person is ningen, the last word (gen) meaning in-between. The group's collective spiritual quest is sensed in their perception of space and how the structures of the artworks tie each artist to the space between them. Itten was known for his inquisitive and exploratory philosophy; today, one would call this approach to the world phenomenological. In his search to understand what one is painting, he turned to the Japanese art form of Sumi-e. In this tradition, sensing the flower's root, as much as the flower itself, is required in order for the artist to reproduce it (p. 94). This spiritual aspect unites the four artists, and a continuum of ongoing explorations of spatial constructions and the counterpoints of colour is characteristic of their work previously exhibited in Zoellner Arts Center, PA, USA, Nord-Trøndelag Kunstmuseum, Tromsø and Bryne Kunstforening. The exhibition includes techniques such as painting, photography, sculpture, object and video.

In 2020, an exhibition with Open Space is to open in the museum FUNDAÇÃO D. LUÍS in Cascais, Portugal.

Text: Art historian, Benedicte Sunde

[i] Johannes Itten, Farvekunsten og dens elementer, 1995 norsk utgave Forsythia, side 8

[ii] Ibid, side 8

[iii] Yoshimasa Kaneko, Japanese Painting and Johannes Itten’s art Education, side 95, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Volume 37, Number 4,Winther 2003, pp. 93-101. Published by University of Illinois Press




Photo: Susann Jamtøy.


Photo: Susann Jamtøy


Lisa Pacini, Hennie Ann Isdahl. Art photo by Christine Istad. Photo Susann Jamtøy.


Painting by Lalim, photo by Istad and sculpture by Pacini


Photo by Istad, sculpture by Pacini, painting by Lalim and painting by Isdahl.



Lisa Pacini og Hennie Ann Isdahl


Dissolved Japan #02,art photo on textile by Christine Istad. Midnight Blue, wall sculpture by Hennie Ann Isdahl. Photo Istad Art.