NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

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.

Gallery name: Fotogalleriet

Address: Møllergata 34, Oslo

Opening hours: Tue, Fri-Sat 12:00 - 17:00, Thu 12:00 - 19:00

Open: 31.08.2019 - 12.10.2019