The exhibition I Have Walked by Your Side for a Long Timepresents new works by Håkon Bleken. Through images that oscillate between the past and present, we meet the gaze of a 91-year-old man, who holds a conversation with art history, looking back on a long artistic life, and on the city of Trondheim.
The title is taken from film history, from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Central to the film is an iconic scene where death reveals itself to the main character, played by Max von Sydow:
-Who are you?
- I'm Death.
-Have you come for me?
-I have walked at your side for a long time now…
Death has a central place in Bleken's art and is a recurring theme, along with other motifs such as love, music, politics and the city of Trondheim. Many of the paintings demonstrate Bleken's lifelong and strong relationship to Cubism.
There are few artists who can compare with Bleken's position in Norwegian art and society, and his voice is clearly present in the public debate. Already in in 1952, at the age of 23, he made his debut with his first solo exhibition in the Trondheim Art Association. Since then, he has had a total of over 30 exhibitions at the institution, in what is today the Trondheim Art Museum. In connection with his 90th birthday in 2019, the larger retrospective exhibition Do Not Go Gentlewas created in collaboration with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter. The exhibition was shown at Henie Onstad in 2018 and at Trondheim Art Museum in 2019.
For the exhibition, the museum produces a catalog with a newly written essay by Solveig Lønmo and an exchange of letters between Håkon Bleken and Johan Börjesson.