CV, biography, recent writings

2021 CV 08 complete_Refsum
Chronological list of artistic activity, publications, academic work and education.

Grete Refsum (1953) is a professional visual artist, working on existential topics related to tradition and memory, religion, psychology and traces from World War II.

During 30 years, Refsum explored central Christian themes. Her point of departure lies within Western traditions, namely The Roman Catholic Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. She often works in series and has visualized Christian ideas and symbols in materialized form, like: the cross/crucifix, sacraments, prayer/meditation, liturgy and texts. Her artistic concepts are informed by theological research, and her subsequent formal interpretations intend to invite dialogues: ecumenical, inter-religious, including secular.

Based on a combination of sculpture, drawing and work with stained glass windows, Refsum has developed her personal techniques of binding metal thread in combination with found materials, like stone, wood, rubbish and glass. Since 2010, she has parallel to her studio work, initiated several interactive, public works based on thrown away textiles, within ecclesial spaces.

Refsum has held numerous artist’s talks, lectures and workshops, contributed in art projects, particularly in ecclesial spaces that comprise: liturgical use of art through art interventions and installations, performances, shows of various kinds, permanent embellishments and catechesis.

Since 2010, Refsum has approached themes related to World War II. The first project titled Tante Vivi, prisoner no. 24127 Ravensbrück (exhibited in 2013), deals with her nanny, grandaunt Live Carlmark (born Thune), the sister of her paternal mother, who protested against the Nazi occupants in Norway, and hid Jewish refugees in her apartment in Oslo (1942). In spring 1943, she was imprisoned in Norway (Grini), and in October transported to Ravensbrück, where she barely survived 18 months imprisonment.

The second project was made (2017) for the Gedenkstätte in der JVA Wolfenbüttel (Germany), Neugestaltung. It is a modeled relief, made as a paraphrase after a photograph of her late husband’s father Wilfred Jensenius, depicting the cell with himself and two comrades. Refsum also has participated as Zeitzeuge/contemporary witness to the new memorial archives.

The third war related project is a work of  micro history, in which she tells her personal story related to the Second World War, based on the fact that she was named after a Czech Holocaust victim, who hopefully will have her Stolperstein set in Prague in 2022.

During the last three years, Refsum has accomplished a Sorgprosjekt/Mourning project in response to the loss of her husband in 2017. It will be shown in the Gedenkstätte in der JVA Wolfenbüttel, opening 30th September 2021.

From the fall 2017 to summer 2020, Refsum has studied par time at MF – Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society. In the latest course on church architecture (RL2615), she wrote about Vestre Aker kirke. She plans to follow a course on psychology of religion, which will add to the knowledge base that nurtures her artistic development – corona-delayed.

Recent writings

———. 2021. “Teologi innenfra. Katolske refleksjoner i Det andre namnet av Jon Fosse.”
Nyhetsbrev OVEK (Også vi er kirken) vår 2021, s. 12-15. 

———. 2020. “En moderne Job. Refleksjoner over Eg slepper deg utan at du velsignar meg“. Nyhetsbrev OVEK (Også vi er kirken) høst 2020, s. 11-16. 

———. 2020. “Religion som bevegelse. En sosiokulturell forståelse av religiøs læring”.
Nyhetsbrev OVEK (Også vi er kirken) vår 2020, s. 13-16. 

———. 2020. “Seraf. Eksempel på sorgarbeid gjennom egen kunstnerisk praksis.”
St. Sunniva. Tidsskrift for Feministisk Teologi 1: 36-46. (Not yet available on Internet.)

———. 2019. “Gjenoppdag kristendommen”. Nyhetsbrev OVEK (Også vi er kirken) 2019, s. 5-6.