Statped South East Hovseter, Block A

An installation consisting of two benches with buttock imprints, neon signs spelling out the Norwegian word for “I”, and two mirrors – encourages children and adults to experience art by using their senses of sight and touch.

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  • I – am a variable entity, Jeannette Christensen. Photographer: Jeannette Christensen
  • I – am a variable entity, Jeannette Christensen. Photographer: Jeannette Christensen
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About the project

About the project

Jeannette Christensen’s installation I – am a variable entity, which dates from 2008, was acquired in connection with a refurbishment project at Statped South East Hovseter in Oslo.

The Institution, which was formerly known as Huseby Resource Centre, is part of the Norwegian Support System for Special Education (Statped), which works to promote the active inclusion of children, young people and adults with special educational needs in education, work and society.

Christensen’s installation includes two steel benches. Each bench seat consists of a concrete slab that bears the imprint of a person who sat on the concrete before it set. A neon sign spelling out the Norwegian word for “I” (“jeg”) hangs on the wall above each bench. On each wall there is also a mirror which reflects the illuminated sign on the opposite wall.

The bright light emitted by the neon signs and the ease with which the installation can be explored through touch make it accessible to people with visual impairments. It invites sensory exploration, play, and reflection on what it means to be “I”. The mirrors remind us about the importance of reflection, both literally and metaphorically, for knowing who we are. They also remind us how our identity evolves over time. The buttock impressions on the benches are different sizes, so visitors can sit in the impressions and see if they fit – or simply enjoy looking at the art on the wall opposite.

Jeannette Christensen (born 1958) studied at places including the Western Norway Art Academy and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She is Professor of Fine Art at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and has been working with installation, sculpture and photography since the early 1990s. Her works often encourage viewers to reflect on the nature of sculpture, time and materiality.

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