Irma Salo Jæger (b. 1928) is represented with an exhibition of seven monumental works from the collection in 'Tårnsalen' at KODE 4 this spring – five of them purchased last year.

“Colour is such a natural presence everywhere that we barely notice it. Which is why it’s important that someone looks after it, takes care of it. That too is one of the painter’s most essential tasks.” Irma Salo Jæger

The Finnish-Norwegian artist Irma Salo Jæger has been a central figure on the Norwegian art scene for more than sixty years, and the exhibition at KODE presents a selection of her works from the late 1960s through to the early 2000s.

Jæger began her artistic career around 1960 with abstract compositions in earthy colours. After several years, her clearly defined compositions began to evolve in a more expressive direction, with the soft tones giving way to a more intense, luminous, spectral palette. This bold approach to colour earned Jæger a prominent place among Norwegian artists.

Jæger first studied art history in her native Finland before moving to Norway to train as a painter. Through her artistic work, she has become involved in environmental issues and carried out a number of public commissions, such as decorations for Bøler metro station in Oslo.

One of her works in the KODE collection is … at lukten av den kunne kjennes gjennom nesen … (… that the smell of it could be sensed with the nose …) (1968). With its impulsive white brushwork and grouped colour fields, this painting – like several others of the period – illustrates Jæger’s fascination with light, space and movement, an interest inspired by op art, the movement that explored the artistic potential of optical illusions. The sensuality of these works is rendered more concrete through the addition of poetic titles.

Retaining the spectral palette, Jæger developed her compositions by adopting cleaner, more architectural structures. Also on show is Utkast til et verdensflagg (Design for a World Flag) (1972). With its large colour fields made from pieces of felt sewn together, this work will be on display for the first time since its debut in 1972. Playing on the idea that the nations of the world should have a collective flag, the work was inspired by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights […] and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” – a theme Jæger addressed in a series of paintings from this period.