June 6 – August 29, 2020
Femtensesse, Ila Pensjonat, Oslo, NO

In December 1938 you would find the menu from the popular restaurant Tranen in Waldemar Thranes gate 70 in Oslo when flipping through the newspaper Aftenposten: Excelsior soup, a portion of merling, crackly ham with turnip and plum porridge, followed by information on the Dining hall for women on the second floor. This building, where Tranen still occupies the ground floor, was purpose-built as a home for self-supporting women in 1921 and apparently, a food lift brought dishes ordered from the restaurant to the lady’s dining room upstairs. In June 2020, enlarged posters of Clémence de La Tour du Pins’ watercolor series, Window Studies, are displayed on advertising boards outside Tranen. From here, her works serve as small gestures to anyone who meanders the streets of the city and, as the plum porridge in the Tranen menu, they are a temptation to enter the building. Femtensesse is proud to present its inaugural exhibition Upstairs in Ila Pensjonat featuring works by Jennie Hagevik Bringaker, Mikael Øye Hegnar, Clémence de La Tour du Pin and Martin Sæther.

And now in the heat of summer the wind sent its spies about the house again. Flies wove a web in the sunny room; weeds that had grown close to the glass in the night tapped methodically at the window pane. 

– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, 1927

In Woolf’s novel plants, birds and mold find their way into an abandoned summer house. This fertile and ruthless nature, seemingly unstoppable in its cold pursuit to claim the house, has inspired this exhibition to establish its place within the historical building. De La Tour du Pins’ window studies, inspired by Brooklyn Brownstone houses from the 1920s, reap- pear in actual size and in multiple versions within the neo-baroque interiors of the building. The papier mâché castings by Sæther are climbing the walls of the same room. The uneven surface of his large relief reflects the wallpaper of the interiors it inhabits, which was glued on to the walls in the 1980’s when burlap was in vogue. Higher up, above the lilac chair rail that runs through the room in the former ladies dining hall, Hegnar’s wax monotypes are framed in tailored marbled passepartout, through which captivating landscapes come into view. Across the floor of the dining hall, Bringaker’s series of female clay figures coated in car paint are spread out, divinely inhabiting the space, except for one firmly placed under the summer sky in the secluded back yard of Ila Pensjonat.


Installation view of Window Studies, Femtensesse, Oslo, 2020