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The potentials of natural science

"In a circle on the lawn lie nine sculptures carved in granite, entitled S for Seeds and Survival. The massive and hard material is given its shape from various seeds from weeds, where Barbro Raen Thomassen makes the almost invisible become visible. Unto the viewer the sculptures reveal not only the shape of the seed, but also its innate potential. The classic material offers a weight and a raison d’être which they do not possess in their natural form, and forces us to reconsider the otherwise not wanted plants as well as the biological system they belong to and award them due respect."
(Nanna Hagedorn Olsen,, 6.6.2024)


"Stone and outdoor sculpture go hand in glove and can certainly be described as canonized throughout the history of art. The motif, however, is not taken from the same classical catalogue. This ambivalence between form and motif links the work to a modern tradition challenging our expectations as to what a high-value object is. The art work is likewise in dialogue with an object centered genre within contemporary art which lifts forth the trivial, that which is so commonplace and available that it hides itself openly."

(Marie Skretting on "Common pigweed. Seed with bracts" (Iddefjord granite 78 x  89 cm) outside Archaeological Museum, The University of Stavanger. From the book "Kunstsamlingen", UIS 2023.)

"The artist has from her ecological and sustainable perspective worked for years with close readings of the most tiny and vulnerable elements in nature: seeds […] It is very much worth while seeing this exhibition which suits our time as well as the season."

(Frida Forsgren, Fædrelandsvennen 12.5.2022. About the exhibition RTWG at Søgne Gamle Prestegård, Kristiansand)

"The environmental struggle may not  be obvious in the shape of the work, even though it lies smouldering in the background and is a breeding ground for many a broken expectation. […] S for Seeds and Survival (II) is surprisingly carved in Carrara marble, but without the characteristic splendour and luxury we associate with this marble. The effect seems to be intended by the artist herself, who says that “to carve a seed capsule in stone implies a paradox: The little and light becomes massive, the organic turns inorganic, the ephemeral and vulnerable solid.” [...]

When the goddess Persephone annually was abducted to the Underworld by Hades, her mother Demeter was in such deep grief that she let all plants wither and the temperature sink. This is how the ancient Greeks explained the Seasons. It was not until Persephone came back that the vegetation could flourish into a new Spring. In the Autumn Exhibition this year, Barbro Raen Thomassen stands for the plants´ potential, the seed, while Mirjam Raen Thomassen gives us the plants´ nourishment, the sunlight."

(Grace Tabea Tenga, Billedkunst No. 3, 2020. On the National Autumn Exhibition)

"Raen Thomassen´s art sets us in an existential mode for re-searching – ´see again´ – our inner and outer landscapes."

(Frantzsen&Mjanger,  Instagram Norwegian Crafts, #dailycraftpick 16.07.2020)

“Deep down in the stone”, ”Milky-white poetry”, “Naked, as in an anatomic theatre». «Barbro Raen Thomassen grinds forth stones reminding us of disconnected body parts. It might seem brutal, but is carefully and poetically done. Her daughter Mirjam shows the nuances in the gallery room.”  “Where the mother is concerned with the depths hidden in things, Mirjam Raen Thomassen is interested in the room surrounding them. With her point of departure in Risør Kunstpark, where the exhibition takes place, she has captured the shifts between light and shadow that occur as sunbeams travel along walls and ceiling within a day´s rhythm.”  “Reality around us […] is extended, helping us to penetrate it better.”

(Kjetil Røed, Vårt Land 11.9.2019. On the exhibition “Raen Thomassen x 2. Compositions in White», Risør Kunstpark.)

"Poetic and assured"

"[…] up the hill towards the lighthouse, stands Barbro Raen Thomassen`s sculpture Potential resting horizontally on a base. The sculpture contrasts det masculine looming lighthouse with its ambiguous organic shape articulated somewhere in between penis and seed capsule. The sculpture is poetic and assured and supplies the landscape with a gentler quality."

(Frida Forsgren, Fædrelandsvennen 4.6.2019 (Art critic on the 50th Anniversary of Sørlandsutstillingen)

"One of the five most important  exhibitions in China right now."

(Yi Ciyuan, online Chinese Art Media for Mobile Phone, when the exhibition "What do we care about?" opened in Beijing 25.5.2019)

"A great sculpture"

(Lars Elton about Pepper in Marinaressa Gardens, «Personal Structures», European Cultural Center, Venice. Dagsavisen 18.5.2019)

"In Barbro Raen Thomassen´s drawings the meticulous competes with the high-mettled and raw."

(Astrid Hygen Meyer on the drawings in Verbarium by Paal-Helge Haugen, Maria Kjos Fonn, Hanne Ørstavik and Annabelle Despard (Portal Edition 2015), Klassekampen 26.9.2015)

"With a perfectionist´s feeling for the stones´s hide, Barbro Raen Thomassen has honed and polished her sculptures until they reflect the surrounding light and emerge with a three dimentional force."
(Nina Hobolth, Senior Researcher, mag art, in the catalogue for the exhibition RART, Kunsthal Nord, Aalborg 31.10 - 20.12.2014)


"A possible common denominator for these works is the doubleness of meanings, the tension between the unexpected and disquieting on one hand, and on the other hand the aesthetic expression evoking pleasure."
(Mag art Anders Ørom in Kunsthal Nord´s programme sheet for the exhibition RART, Aalborg 31.10 - 20.12.2014)


"Barbro's delicate plant drawings [...]carry further the tradition of botanical science and they make themselves felt by creating immediacy, holding on to the sense of a temporal dimension: the living, the dead, the sustained and the remembered."
(Nina Hobolth, Senior Researcher, mag art, on the exhibition Plantasi with Marianne Rønnow, Kirsten Kjærs Museum, Frøstrup 01.09.2012)


"Esthetically the expression is beautiful in itself, but it also points outwards towards something else that we cannot see - something that concerns existential questions and the uncertainties and possibilities of life itself."
(Else-Brit Kroneberg, Curator at Sørlandets Kunstmuseum on Thomassens seed objects, Museum of Archaeology, Stavanger 2012-13 in the journal Fra haug ok heidni. No 3 2012)


"Barbro Raen Thomassen has achieved the most difficult of all: Working in the visible in order to give the invisible a space to appear in."
(The poet Paal-Helge Haugen on the installation From Ash in the book Av Aske, Entos, Kristiansand 2009)


"Eco-art at its most veracious."
(Wera Sæther, writer and photographer, on From Ash 2009)


There is noise, and we long for quiet. There is commotion in every channel, and we long for calm. The artist Barbro Raen Thomassen knows this; she feels it in her body. And what she creates we can stand before in stillness."
(Olav Egil Aune, Arts Editor, Vårt Land 24.11.2007, on the exhibition Alabaster, RAM galleri, Oslo)


“Seed as a concentrate: That out of something hardly visible can emerge something so great, so mighty. But also as expression of a mystery: As a static product between genesis and decay, the incarnation of latency between that which has been and that which is to come.”  “ The exhibition is sparse in its form. Through the great calm of its presentation there open up vast rooms for thought. What more can an exhibition achive?” 
(Dietlinde Schirmacher, Berlin-Köpenich, 4.03.05)

"It is a powerful piece, like the earth´s navel and we congratulate you” 
(Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey on “Earth to earth” in a letter, 26.06.01)

“Her pictures could be many thousands of years old and yet they should retain their significance into the distant future. This is an example of the innate ability of art to defy time, to work in all directions at one and the same time.” 
(Arne Thomassen in Bohusläningen, Sweden, 13.04.00)

“From a jet black, light-absorbing base appear signs like glowing copper and silver. Burnt stone tablets and narrow strips with a golden rain of signs down the black, as light on a raven’s wing, as fragments of love-words eaten by time. They speak to us. Not through letters and words, but through traces in time.” “….like letters about sorrow and hope. Beauty is there to be made and found.” 
(Helge Torvund in Stavanger Aftenblad, 18.04.99)

”Barbro Raen Thomassen´s works are radiating some refined light and thousand years of sorrow.” 
(Péter Molnár, 4th International Biennial of Sculptor´s Drawing, Budapest, 1996)

“Quiet, introspective art is her trademark. A vibrating fingertip sensuality...” 
(Arild Borgen in Fædrelandsvennen, 07.07.95)

“Our guest Barbro Raen Thomassen from Norway catches our eye immediately with her sculptures by the entrance, not through colours and blatant symbolism, but with a collection of torsos of welcome simplicity.” 
(Mette Fastrup in Thisted Dagblad, DK, 10.04.95)

“Through the simplest of means, three human torsos spread across the broken stonefloor, the artist from Lillesand has succeeded in creating a strong and importunate picture of the war’s biggest cruelities.” 
(Gunvald Opstad in Klassekampen, 11.07.95)

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