Maria Pasenau
EXHIBITION From 29.08.2019 To 12.10.2019

Challenging the exhibitory space of Fotogalleriet, PASENAU AND THE DEVIL is a threefold project consisting of an immersive multimedia installation of newly commissioned photographic and sculptural pieces, a nomadic video work and a publication. Through this extensive project Maria Pasenau wishes to explore the ‘Darkness’ as the hidden side of humanity, with alternative representations of the self, sexuality and subcultural beliefs that escape the world of normality, often pushing the boundaries of societal acceptance. The project represents a generational struggle against dictated categories, set by market structures and capitalism violently entering our lives by means of images.

In a world where women artists continue to be prosecuted for showing their bodies and desires, the explicitness of Maria Pasenau’s work makes it highly precarious. Identity and gender are currently taking the form of binary categories; of Darkness and Light. Instead of supressing the Darkness in favour of the Light, this exhibition will lift the Dark out of the shadows in order to paint a full portrait of the artist. By doing so, Pasenau does away with the idea that the Dark and the Light are binary opposites. The photographs will be accompanied by text and sound, allowing the spectators’ bodies to merge with the body of the artist. This merger will allow the audience to become acquainted with Maria Pasenau’s photographs in an intimate setting.

The artist’s own body thereby acts as the point of departure for this exhibition. Maria Pasenau was born in the era of the selfie as a means of self-expression. Through her photography she wishes to show the alternative story of her generation – a story that is often lost in the cavalcade of polished self-promotional imagery. Pasenau’s work shows a narrative that is queer, naked, imperfect and sincere, making it all the more relevant in a time of resurgent political foreclosure in which basic human rights and freedoms are under constant attack. In this sense, her work echoes the voice of feminist artists like Carolee Schneemann, whilst also referring to the art practice of Robert Mapplethorpe, who reframed ideas of sex and identity by taking pictures of his friends and contemporaries, and the chaos and stark aesthetic of Bjarne Melgaard, looking into self-destruction, divergent sexual interests and unusual religious rituals.

Maria Pasenau’s artistic diaries engage in a new understanding of the physical and psychological treatment of images, questioning their social and political implications, which often lead to societal disorders and traumas. During the past years, she has developed a body of work that shows her hunger for a space of resistance in a world shaped and dominated by mass-media jargon only. Maria Pasenau bridges a quotidian view on nascent and descendent pop-iconic models, questioning this image-based exploitative system in need of structural change, and of a different portrayal. The artist often asks what it means to be intimate in the current system of desire, communities, identities and regulatory frameworks, which affect concepts of friendship, romance and sex itself. 

On the night of the opening an introductory film to the exhibition will be on view at Vega Scene in Oslo. It will subsequently become nomadic. As part of the project PASENAU AND THE DEVIL, a publication will be launched during the exhibition period, allowing the audience to further connect with the artist’s imagery. In addition to the photographs, the publication will present scholarly texts and written pieces by Antonio Cataldo (artistic director at Fotogalleriet), Elise By Olsen (artist and curator), Stina Högkvist (director of collections at the National Museum in Oslo), and Bjarne Melgaard (artist), amongst others. It will also feature poems by Pasenau herself.

For questions and further information about this exhibition, please feel free to contact Fotogalleriet’s Communication Consultant Arash Shahali (mail:, tel: +43 664 24 500 87).



Maria Pasenau (Mjøndalen, 1994) is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Oslo. She studied at the Norwegian School of Photography in Trondheim. Some of her recent solo exhibitions include Crew Teens (2016, Uncontaminated Oslo Fashion Art Festival, Oslo), Playtime (2017, YME Universe, Oslo), Whit Kind Regrets Pasenau (2018, Makeriet, Malmø, Sweden) and My Name is End, Bitter End (2018, K4 Gallery, Oslo). She has been part of numerous group exhibitions such as Early Works (2017, curated by Elise By Olsen, New Galerie, Paris, France), After School Special (2017, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen), The Hoodies (2017, curated by Charlie Roberts, Kristiansand Kunsthall, Kristiansand), Faithless Pictures (2018, curated by Andrea Kroksnes, Norwegian National Museum, Oslo), Pinkcube (2018, curated by Anja Carr, Tenthaus, Oslo) and Sub (2018, curated by Bjørn Hatterud, Akerhus Kunstsenter, Lillestrøm). Additionally, Maria Pasenau has appeared in Bjarne Melgaard’s digital exhibition Life Killed My Chihuahua on the Instagram account of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (2018, curated by Elise By Olsen and Julia Peyton-Jones) and she was the first artist to take over the Norwegian National Museum’s Instagram during Tori Wrånes’ Hot Pocket exhibition there (2017, curated by Stina Högkvist). Pasenau has also done performances at Fotogalleriet, OCA – Office of Contemporary Art Norway and Soppen Performance Festival, Oslo. She is one of  the youngest artists to have work acquired by the Norwegian National Museum for their permanent collection.

Fotogalleriet is grateful for its continued support from The Arts Council Norway, as well as the Norwegian Photographic Fund (Nofofo) and Oslo Municipality. It is also indebted to The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture for their exhibition honorarium program. The extended exhibition programs are made possible through additional, generous grants by Fritt Ord Foundation, Oslo, and the Norwegian Photographic Fund.