Eva Laila Hilsen

Eva Laila Hilsen is a graduate of the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo. She is a member of Association of Norwegian Graphic Artists, The Association of Norwegian Painters, The Drawing Art Association of Norway and The Association of Norwegian Visual Artists.

Eva Laila Hilsen made her debut in 1987 with the exhibition Under Way in Bodø Arts Society. Since, there have been more than forty exhibitions of her work in private and public galleries, nationally and internationally.

She has participated in a series of group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Norwegian Paintings, Statens Høstutstilling (National Autumn Exhibition), Øst- og Vestlandsutstillingen, Norge (Eastern and Western Norway Exhibition) and Trøndelag Exhibition.

Graphic art Biennales and Triennials in Italy (IV International Small Engraving Exhibition, Cremona - Premio Leonardo Sciscia amateur d'estampes, Milano - Premio Internationale Biella Per Licisione, Biella.) Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Ukraine, Yugoslavia. In 2009 she took part in the 5th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius, Lithuania. Her work has been exhibited at the Pleiades Gallery in New York, and she participated with an installation in a German garden project in Darmstadt “KlangARTen”. Lately she had a solo exhibition in South-Africa and Paris. See also enclosed CV.

Her work has been bought by private collectors and public arts organisations in Norway, such as the Norwegian Cultural Council, Art in Schools, New-Norwegian Cultural Centre, as well as a series of local councils. She is represented in The National Museum of Cracow, the State Gallery of Fine Arts in Cairo, the University Gallery of Windhoek in Namibia, the Cremona Civic Museum, Italy, and the Engraving Museum of Douro, Portugal. She is the recipient of a series of scholarships, including Norway Graphic Artists, Hedmark and Opplands Artists Scholarship, the Harriet Backer’s Memorial Fund, and has also received travel grants to Paris, Berlin and Namibia.



02.04. - 27.06.2016

Inside out-Outside in

Eva Laila Hilsen, «Inside out – outside in», Bedigliora, 25 June 2016

Eva Laila Hilsen is a graduate of the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo. She lives in Fagernes, a beautiful municipality of Nord-Aurdal, in Oppland county, Norway. Her work is shown in many exhibitions in private and public galleries, nationally and internationally.

Eva Laila Hilsen has since 1991 worked with, and been known for her houses with their shapes, gables, walls she creates in drawing, painting and graphics. She applied for the artist’s residence in the Casa Atelier planning to work with her houses and house shapes in the village. Even before she came to Bedigliora, she was very much intrigued by the photos of the site, by the village known since the middle ages and its special architecture and buildings.

When she came into the two rooms that would be her studio-living room and a bedroom for the next three months, the deep, white painted and thick brick walls, the deep windows and very few furniture made an impression on her. The immediate thought, she says, emerged as a «tabula rasa»: These white rooms were a kind of liberating catharsis for her, and it didn't take long before they were the inspiration for the project. Early in her stay she read a book called Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, one of her favourite Japanese writers. She was inspired as well by her dreams. Even if the idea originally was to work with drawing and houses, she ended up with photos of the site, put together into collages on computer using Photoshop. Suddenly it became clear to her that her project would take the room out and let the nature in.

She called her work «Inside out – outside in» because of this inversion: the interior is out in nature and the exterior comes into the house. The strange, dreamlike atmosphere and the alienation effect may recall paintings by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte. All collages use photos taken around Banco, Bedigliora, Beride, Curio – those who know the area will recognise some of them, like the kindergarten’s cardboard figurine on the invitation card. Putting pictures together, houses and buildings are set into the shelter of a bed or turned into a dollhouse collection. Huge trees find themselves integrated in her small Bonsai collection. There’s grass and clover meadow in the bedroom, a double bed out in the wild, and the resort's landscaping and garden architect who turns grass or rakes inside the house. There’s also an invitation into the Studio to a «Breakfast in the Green» – a hint at Alice in Wonderland or Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass? The artist serves cheesecake with green icing to the places’ animals, insects, and figurines.

Bedigliora has subtropical climate. Ivy, for Norwegians an ornamental plant, has taken over trees and other scenery in several places.  What if the vegetation takes over again our civilization and the world? A frightening scenario appears in some of the works – we might fear that, some time in the future those pictures become reality. But, besides this dystopia, the artist hopes that the audience sees the humour in the works – and the beauty. Some of them go over into the decorative.

The pictures are fiction, finds, fantasy and fictional narratives. The works are not based on facts, but all the elements of the collages are objects, houses, nature, the artists has seen and photographed during her stay. Look around – you will discover details of the Casa Atelier, the structure of a chair, a radiator, but also visual aspects of the surroundings. They might have been a part of everyday life for most people, passing without notice. For the artists they are motives to observe, detect relationships and opportunities, and put them into new frames.

In a small series she shows details of the few furnishing in the two rooms, as well as the great blooming outside. In this project she works with antonyms or contrasts like soft/hard, matt/glossy, black/white, etc. The pictures together with the opposite words are printed on watercolour paper.

Maximal expressivity using minimal means is an important quality for Eva Laila Hilsen – and may be for other artists of her country as well, just think of the Norwegian writer Jon Fosse, with whom she worked to illustrate some of his texts. Eva Laila Hilsen also likes to read and to write poems. In the poems she wrote in Switzerland we recognise some of the subjects of her pictures. She wrote them in her mother tongue Norwegian and translated them in Italian, the language of her artist’s residence – a linguistic «Inside out – outside in».

Ruth Gantert and Eva Laila Hilsen