OPEN TODAY 10 - 17
Under the patronage of
Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II


Toril Johannessen - Unlearning Optical Illusions

Saturday 17 June sees the opening of the exhibition Unlearning Optical Illusions by Toril Johannessen (b.1978) from Norway. The exhibition is the latest in the series ARoS FOCUS // NEW NORDIC where ARoS turns the spotlight on new Nordic art. 

Toril Johannessen works with a broad spectrum of artistic media and her installations include photos, textiles, drawings, and text.

The exhibition Unlearning Optical Illusions presents three colourful installations (Unlearning Optical Illusions I, II and III), together spinning a web of narratives spanning the colonial past of Europe to present-day views of the world. 

- We’re thrilled to present Toril Johannessen as the eighth artist in this exhibition series. A characteristic feature of Johannessen is her ability, through her works, to place the complexity of the world on the common agenda, says Erlend G. Høyersten, museum director, ARoS.


Toril Johannessen was born in Norway in 1978 and educated at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design. Her works have been shown at a multitude of international exhibitions and she has recently taken part in the Istanbul Biennial and Documenta. 

One of the treats in store for visitors at the exhibition at ARoS consists of five monumental rolls of cloth. At a first glance, the patterns on the fabric resemble those typically found on West African textiles, but they are, in fact, based on a number of scientific patterns designed to investigate optical illusions.

- Toril Johannessen’s emphasis on the ambiguous is characteristic of her artistic practice where her works constitute cracks in clearly structured narratives. The works are often based on protracted investigations based on factual details. Her works become a personal archaeological examination of the world, says Jakob Vengberg Sevel, curator.

Learn more about the artist here 


Press office:

Anne Riis: / 0045 2888 4464

Jens Henrik Daugaard: / 0045 2888 4467

Sponsor for the ARoS FOCUS/New Nordic series:

Detobelske 375

©ARoS 2017