“Sol: Artist - Dictionary Nerd - Nomadic Captain”
QUOTED New York, Winter 2018
“My mediums are painting and drawing. I create images—preferably life size—of heaps and piles of naked bodies. All the naked figures that you see are people in my life, my friends. If you know my circle, you’ll recognize faces. I try to say something about how all living beings—humans, animals, plants, all of it—are all connected into one big, beautiful thing. We are oneness having the experience of separateness.”
Daniel Brown, “Sol Kjok Joins Forces in Her Search for Universal Truths”
Aequai, October 8, 2016
“This is very smart stuff, heady and transcendent.”
Nicole Disser, “A New Gallery with Epic Views of Shit Creek Will Host the Next Wild Torus Event”
Bedford + Bowery, November 6, 2015
“Sol’s work consists of massive paintings depicting entangled bodies of bald, nearly identical humanoid creatures frozen in the midst of physics-defying acrobatics. The figures appear to be preparing for a sci-fi future, suspended inside jars of primordial goo. Or maybe they’re trapped in a terrarium, where the progeny of an alien invasion and inter-species reproduction can view what’s left of the evolutionary misstep (humans) as nothing more than colorful sea monkeys. In a way, Sol’s work– at once grotesque but profoundly beautiful– induces the same kind of dizzying disorientation that Wild Torus’ manages to achieve with the human yarn balls they orchestrate."
"Sol Kjøk is a Norwegian-born, NYC-based visual artist and founder of NOoSPHERE Arts, a nonprofit exhibition and performance venue on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, NYC. She lives and works at The Mothership NYC, the arts collective she founded in Brooklyn in 2005. In 2015, she started Last Frontier NYC, a new collaborative arts platform for international artists and performers, calling it "a campfire where the creative tribe can share its stories."
Last Frontier NYC: Whispering Voices
The Village Voice, October 7, 2015
“Six artists with a vision coming together from different disciplines to create a unique art experience: an immersive live installation of sound, movement, images, and forms exploring our interconnectedness as human beings -- that elusive source that unites us all, and out of which everything we know and experience arises and returns.”
Tore Feiring, «Captain of the Mothership”,
Byavisa, March 5, 2015
“She paints figuratively and draws in an expressionist style. ‘However, my work originates as physical performance, and so can be seen as genre transcending. I also do ‘art as extreme sport’ when creating huge wall drawings on site during a very limited period prior to the exhibition period. During this intense time, I live in the venue 24/7, eating and sleeping very little. Thus far, I have done this in galleries and museums in New York, Berlin, Sweden, and Oslo,’ says Kjøk.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Tommy Olsson, «No wave, the NO way”
Klassekampen, May 20, 2014
«The story of the house, and not least how the project came about, is as magic and movie-size as the effects it has had.” [Translated from Norwegian]
" ‘I am a visual artist who has founded an artist-run exhibition venue,’ the New York-based Norwegian artist Sol Kjøk clarifies. Expanding on this, she says that the term ‘gallery’ has the wrong connotations for NOoSPHERE Arts' activities. Everything is based on an egalitarian foundation.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Atle Alund, «Fremmed fugl har landet»
Oppland Arbeiderblad, September 10, 2012
"Strange Bird Has Landed. […] When Sol Kjøk opened her first solo show in her native land in eight years, the feeling remained that she was still a strange bird in her own country.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Culture Section: “Amerikansk besøk på St. Hanshaugen»
Aftenposten, Sep 8, 2013
"Sol Kjøk’s works are often used in fine arts instruction at several universities in the U.S., together with such artists as Ingres and Schiele.” [Translated from Norwegian]
“The Norwegian-born painter has been on the move since she left the cold mountains of Eastern Norway. She traveled the world studying painting, languages and art history, before settling down in New York in the late 90s to attend Parsons School of Design, getting an MFA degree in painting. During her time in New York, she has founded an artists’ collective, run the NYC Marathon four times and opened the non-profit arts venue NOoSPHERE Arts on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Sol (which means 'sun' in Norwegian) is true to her name: full of energy, brightness and a catching laughter.”
“One of the most lingering pieces for me was Sol Kjøk’s Do You Know How Lucky You Are? Simply done in colored pencil, this piece was mesmerizing. It portrayed naked bodies squeezed into balls, or perhaps planets with one lone colored figure holding and orchestrating the entire scene. What is the artist saying here? Are we those masses of humanity? Or are you that lone figure toiling to keep it all together? So many questions, countless riddles and limited time to figure it all out."
Line Tiller, “Min Arbeidsplass”.
DN magasin, July 20, 2012
"Growing up in Valdres, I always felt like a cuckoo baby. It was like I never fully fit in, so I was convinced that the gypsies must had left me behind when traveling through the valley. Hence, New York Gypsy Mania is close to my heart, and I usually listen to gypsy music when painting.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Nordic Life, Artist Profile
VIKING Magazine, April 2012
“A source of inspiration for me is running. I get all kinds of ideas that just pop into my head when my mind is free to roam for hours. I’m not really inspired by looking at other art because it’s already been filtered through somebody else’s temperament."
Christina Skreiberg, “Tre kunstnere i NYC",
KUNST, Vol. 2, 2012
«’But I am interested in the paradox between our amazing strength and our endless vulnerability. In what happens when you force yourself to do something you don’t really master; in how it feels to struggle for something and to be outside your comfort zone. But also in the joy and freedom inherent in taking the leap,’ she says. ‘The discomfort springing from being naked is also part of the work.’ [Translated from Norwegian]
Katrina Stuart Santiago, “Finding the Absences in Nothing to Declare”
GMA News, Philippines. January 24, 2012
"But right outside is a wall filled with Sol Kjok’s Nine Nights/Successive Shifts, a beautiful amalgamation of one woman, moving from youth to age and death, where the latter forms into a ball of her body repeated in different poses, until it reaches the most aged of her at the center. Nine Nights is a ritual for mourning and death, when the spirit is presumed to be lingering and saying goodbye, where the ritual is for those left behind as they tell stories of the one who passed, a necessary taking stock of a life gone, one that in Kjok’s work resonates as words but also as the unsaid. The body pushes itself through the years, the body as the one that remains but also the one that cannot stand for the life that’s lived. The body as figure here is rendered gracefully even when aged, precisely because it ages."
Maren Ørstavik, “Fra Oslo til New York – og tilbake”
Aftenposten, January 5, 2012
"Gallery Ramfjord hosted a show of works created by Norwegian artists residing abroad, including Ellen Bang’s sculptural suite Wolf Pack, on loan from the University of Bergen, and Gitte Dæhlin’s fantastical installation Gryende Oppstand [Dawning Uprising] from Lillehammer Art Museum. Anki King and Björn Hegardt showed drawings, while Sol Kjøk placed her personal New York stamp on the selection with, among other works, a large‐scale mural." [Translated from Norwegian]
Bjørn Hatterud, «Åh! Åh! Åh! Det går likar .NO»
Billedkunst, Dec 9, 2011
«Writer Edy Poppy visited the gallery to do a reading of English translations of her books on power and sexuality in romantic relationships. This type of power struggle in the intimate sphere is also reflected in Sol Kjøk’s large wall drawing, as well as in her smaller drawing of naked people.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Trond Rogne, “Sol frå Bagn står høgt i New York»
Valdres, July 16, 2011
"My drawings and paintings are the visual terminus of a much longer method, and perhaps their extravisual meaning is to be found in the archeology of their making: Driven by a desire to first experience as manifest reality the symbolic content of my images, my process starts with performances staged in my studio, where my models and I make pitiful attempts at acrobatic exercises: We walk the tight rope, strenuously climb wires suspended from the ceiling, balance on balls and twist our pale and puckered bodies into a myriad of uncomfortable positions. It is important that this initial physical experience, ripe with the potential for injuries and skin-against-skin contact, lives on in the final pieces, as I strive to convey a bodily awareness of the paradox of strength and vulnerability that is the human condition." [Translated from Norwegian]
Kaja Korsvold, ”Trekker norsk kunst til New York”
Aftenposten, June 20, 2011
"Sol Kjøk designs her own clothes and jewelry, related to her artwork, in which she uses the human figure and symbols. She holds several degrees in literature, art history and fine arts. Her MFA in painting is from Parsons School of Design in New York. In her studio in her live-work space, she shows us large paintings dominated by muscular bodies and colors.” [Translated from Norwegian}
Nic Costa, "Idiosynchronism – An Art Movement for the 21st Century"
ARTERI Art Magazine, Vol 11, 2009
Meghan Dailey, "Always Somebody Moving"
Entre Sol et Ciel, Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin, 2010
“Her core themes—the body, its limits and the tension between its strength and its vulnerability‐‐mutate into a variety of mediums. Recent sculptural pieces in which color‐pencil drawings on Mylar are mounted on hand‐fired glass represent a recent extension of her project into three dimensions. […] The glass, which she likes for its resemblance to ice, transmits perfectly the notion of fragility and of accident, since the casting process introduces unexpected results, slight imperfections. The sculptures are also hung from braided human hair, which is both strong enough to hold a certain amount of weight yet also fragile, even unpredictable. There is a risk that the pieces, like the bodies rising and converging in her drawings, could fall—a maddening but tantalizing possibility of self‐destruction colliding with a willful determination to be present."
“The wall work in Berlin was made in one week, during which Sol Kjøk lived in the gallery and worked virtually around the clock for seven intense consecutive days. 'This performance aspect is an important part of the process for me. It is a matter of testing out the limits of the body and facing the risk of falling flat on one's face,' Sol explains to SNITT.” [Translated from Norwegian]
“Sometimes the figures have flaming red hair, suggesting not only sexual passion but élan vital—the force that creates the womb-like ball of red figures held in one hand by a rather grim looking gray man. Something similar appears in the womb-like space between the embracing figures—they seem woven together—in another drawing. Kjøk’s red—sometimes whole figures are delicately drawn in red, making them stand out from the white paper even as their transparency turns it into indwelling light—adds an iconoclastic emotional intensity to figures that, for all their tempestuous togetherness, have a certain classical quality."
Helmer Lång, "Agile Attempts"
NY Arts Magazine, Summer, 2009
“The Nordic Museum of Drawing in Laholm, Sweden, now introduces artist Sol Kjøk […]. The Norwegian artist has lived and worked in many different cities in Europe and the U.S. Her drawings speak an international language that can be understood in all cultures; that is, they communicate through their human figurations, their demonstration of the body’ possibilities in interaction with one another."
"It is expertly done. So dazzlingly accomplished that you all but miss the fact that Sol Kjøk's work also holds existential questions with a full range of feelings, spanning from safety-seeking anxiety and fear, to protective love and joy of life." [Translated from Swedish]
Helmer Lång, "Mycket mer än människokroppar”
Skånska Dagbladet, July 25, 2008
"This makes for a kind of conceptual art where the artist directs the action, in such a way that the result reads both dramatic and mystifying. The viewer constantly feels that there is much more to this than a simple juggling with the organic forms of the human body; there are also symbolic accents and even a philosophy of life." [Translated from Swedish]
”With her drawings and paintings, Sol wants to convey a […] feeling of balance; a physical presence in one’s own body. She is fascinated by opposing forces and the connections between them.
Love and violence, masculine and feminine, the beautiful and the ugly; there is always a little bit of both […]’, says Sol Kjøk, whose orange-red lipstick contrasts against her blue-violet track suit – the very same colors that recur throughout her work. ”Orange-red and blue-violet – it is my favorite thing to look at." [Translated from Swedish]
Noel Kelly, "Book of Swells"
Nordic Museum of Drawing, Sweden
”The work of Sol Kjøk refutes masculinity and femininity as conflicting ends of one spectrum. Her reconstruction of gender challenges this bi-polarised ideology. Identity and individuality are subservient to the greater union of body, mind and spirit. There is no doubt that these are sexual figures. However, the sometimes contorted physiognomy and physicality of the figures speaks of the sublime; a rapture wherein strength, tenderness, vigour and tempestuous urgency portray the essence of the human state."
The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today
Volume 1: Limited Edition
Erotic Signature - ES Publishing, 2007
Live Sætre, "Opplandskunst i alle stuer"
GD, June 15, 2007
"[...] In one room, visitors stare straight into the eyes of a naked man holding a ball of human beings in his hand. [...] Some of the exhibiting artists come from far away. Sol Kjøk, born in Lillehammer, but now residing in New York City, got a whole room to herself for her drawings, [one of which is] called Waiting for the Sun. "An excellent draftsperson," says Ådne Løvstad as he climbs up a step ladder to tack to the wall a naked man with an intense gaze." [Translated from Norwegian]
Ulf Barslund Martensson, “Scandinavian in New York"
Nordic Reach, No. 15, V 18, 2006
“How would you describe your work? My art is a story about love and about being present in one’s body; a comment on the paradoxical co-presence of the supposed opposites of spirituality and carnality."
Jane Durrell, "At Manifest Gallery"
Cincinnati City Beat, February 15, 2006
"At Manifest Gallery, an interesting tension plays out between Boris Zakic's paintings of mostly solitary figures in the outer gallery and the pulsing togetherness seen in Sol Kjøk's drawings just beyond in the "drawing room." One tells us how alone we are, the other what strength and fears there are in groups. Zakic incorporates his titles into his compositions in tall, handsome letters, while the name of Kjøk's show, String of Beads, comes from recurrent appearances of a slender, bright red chain, a visual and symbolic anchor for the drawings. Faultless technique from each artist, in works that keep coming to mind."
John Del Signore, "Tower of Babel"
Gothamist, October 10, 2006
"[...] So it makes sense that Tower of Babel was promoted as a ritual; we were invited to leave behind the routine of "going to the theater" and float collectively along a rolling river of foreign tongues. Though it might seem all that chattering would add up to cacophony, the end result was an almost musical harmony. Needless to say, I was transported. My storyteller sensed this and withdrew, though not before I got her card. Her name is Sol Kjøk; she's a New York-based artist whose work is very much worth a look."
Felicia Feaster "Something Weird Grows in Bklyn"
Creative Loafing Atlanta, July 28, 2005
"[...] There is a shared sci-fi quality to much of the work, as it deals with contemporary life. Sol Kjok's ethereal drawings of a congregation of nude, bald women and men forming their bodies into a planetary mass look like a cross between the androgynous representatives of some future race and the randy hippies of Alex Comfort's Joy of Sex. The work is trendy and very now, and gives the sense there are cohesive, shared doings bubbling up from the studios and galleries of Cool Factory New York."
Erik Bjørnskau, "Anbefales!"
Aftenposten, April 15, 2005
"Recommended! Galleri 27: Visual Artist Sol Kjøk was born in Lillehammer, but has been working in her studio in Brooklyn, New York City, for the past few years. Her exhibition, which opened a bit more than a week ago, is called Perlestrenger (String of Beads). And a contrasting string of beads is what runs like Ariadne's thread through the 30 plus drawings and her monochromatic oil paintings of athletic nudes. The graphite drawings and the icy blue, more plastic paintings are born from a painstaking process: First a performance in the studio, where the artist and other models carry out "acrobatic acts" with climbing ropes and miscellaneous equipment. Next are photographs of these acts, which the artist subsequently uses for collages that she again turns into these virtually classical drawings. The contemporary air of "scenes" and setting and the abstract and often chaotic figure groups make this something entirely different from classical nudes." [Translated from Norwegian]
VG, April 22, p. 71
“Sol Kjøk is being compared to the Nordic Romantics. In a large loft in Brooklyn, New York, she is working with floating, dancing and intertwining human bodies that are connected by means of a red globe." [Translated from Norwegian]
Klassekampen, April 8, 2005, back page
“Interestingly, her sharp-eyed, insightful drawing does not belong to a particular culture; it is part of the Western tradition. It seems to profit from broadly accepted international languages of contemporary art, despite the fact that, given Kjøk’s acute skills, the work continues the long history of Western figurative art. Her process connects her with current art practice--she begins by staging performances in her studio.” (Goodman)
“Like a healer inflicting a wound upon himself in order to achieve the curing of the same wound in another person, these primordial processes are the prefix to some genuinely potent gallery medicine. They are enactments of the sacrament of life, and the drawings are the encapsulations of those archetypical experiences; a corporeal elixir to heal our spirit.” (Franz)
Alice Gudheim, "Balansekunstnaren Sol Kjøk"
Valdres, June 18, 2005
“This exhibit is dripping with bodies. Naked figures in motion, intertwined, forming a pleasant tumble of muscles. The anatomy is so correct that I, as a viewer, can feel my limbs cramping and the lactic acid mounting, the body heat and the claustrophobia, as if I were part of the image. And, like a red thread running through: the string of beads. Thin strands of red pearls that connect the bodies, linking them together and anchoring them to the red sphere.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Julie Bernzot, "At Manifest Creative Research Gallery"
Cincinnati City Beat, Feb 1, 2005
"[...] Sol Kjok and Steve Ziebarth take a different tack, and show the human body in reaction to its landscape - whether that is a body in confusion, relaxation, fear or any number of emotions. Each artist's distinctive and skillful depiction of his or her subject intrigued me.[...] Don't miss these talented artists in this thoughtful gallery."
Jerry Stein, “Manifest is an Art Gallery – and Much More"
The Cincinnati Post, May 23, 2005
"Kjok's drawings of the human figure recall the work from great past masters such as Michelangelo and DaVinci. Yet, the swirling configurations and dream-like moods bring the art into the realm of contemporary art."
Maria Børja, "Kunstnere i N.Y."
Magasinet, September 18, 2004
«She lives in a warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, that she renovated herself. The ceiling height must be some 10 meter, more than enough to dangle from a rope. Indeed, that is part of her work. [Sol’s] imagery requires strenuous physical efforts where the models, Sol and the others, are suspended in uncomfortable poses.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Mayda Álvares, “Mira!LUBOLO*”
Art Studio Magazine, Madrid, December 17, 2004
"Fotografía, video, performances, cine, documentales, conciertos, graffiti y rap, se darán cita en la Casa de América (Madrid) dentro del Festival Mira!LUBOLO*, Arte y Música contra la esclavitud*, con la participación de artistas de diferentes países como (...) los creadores multimedia como Sol Kjok (Noruega)...La mirada creativa, la idea de trascender la realidad y plasmarla en otro lenguaje, está presente en los dibujos de la sueca [sic] Sol Kjok (...)"
Jenny Sherman, "Painting the Town Norwegian"
Viking Magazine, May 2004
"Kjøk (whose work) features whirling tumbles of human forms in a series of drawings (...) also attended school here, and got her Master of Fine Arts in painting at Parsons School of Design. She has previously lived and gone to school in Georgia, Vienna, Colombia, Paris, and Cincinnati, but knew that New York was where she wanted to stay."
Alexander Spivak. "Exhibition Review”
Metro, Vol. 3, February, 2004
“The works of Sol Kjok, without any exaggeration, riveted my attention. My long-standing habit of detecting either the male or the female principle in a work of art in this case was broken against a monolith of strong, if you will, fierce, drawing. The creator of this surprise turned out to be a young woman.” [Translated from Russian]
Lederer, Priesch, Death in the Studio
New York, NY, 2002
“In the Fall of 2001, Hannes Priesch and Niki Lederer invited emerging and established artists in New York, Toronto, Bratislava, and Vienna to stage their own deaths for a photo shoot in their own studios. As one might expect from those endowed with creativity, the book is a colorful, grotesque, often hilarious collection of just about every type of death imaginable. Suicides, murders, accidents, and a range of metaphoric and conceptual deaths by gunshot, decapitation, hanging, wrist slitting, auto-erotic asphyxiation, and existential introspection fill the full-bleed color pages. The scenarios range from realistic crime scenes to full blown theatrical fantasies with the artists’ work figuring prominently in many. These elaborate mises en scènes suggest that, while taboo in polite society, the death drive is alive and kicking in the privacy of artists’ studios – and in the cultural imagination.”
Ellen M. Rosenholtz, "Hopscotch: Associative Leaps in the Construction of Narrative,"
Painted Bride Art Center, 2001
"In her drawing Swirling XVIII, Sol Kjøk entwines figures who are chasing a sphere. Again in this work the artist deals with the complexities of self-analysis; Sol Kjøk investigates issues of self-identification and the process of chasing an ideal."
Culture Section: “Gå ikke glipp av…»
Aftenposten, November 6, 2001
"NOT TO BE MISSED...The drawings in Sol Kjøk's Swirling series, which are exhibited at Tegnerforbundet through December 16. Kjøk works with the human body as an expression for the human condition, its vulnerability and its possibilities. The artist is born in Lillehammer, lives in New York, and was recently awarded a grant from Robert Rauschenberg's Foundation." [Translated from Norwegian]
Reproduction: Swirling X
The Norwegian Art Yearbook Art, published by Pax Forlag
“The Norwegian Art Yearbook is the only annual publication about the Norwegian art scene. With specially commissioned articles, art reviews, and presentations of selected artists and exhibitions, it offers a broad picture of Norwegian contemporary art.” [from Kunstaarbok.no]
Nina Lødemel "Norsk energibunt i New York."
Valdres, November 24, 2001
«Sol Kjøk has lived in New York for six years now. Her way there passed through Lillehammer, Bagn, Fagernes, Paris, [Athens,] Vienna, Colombia and Cincinnati. Her everyday existence is colored by runs in Central Park, vibrant urban life and artistic expression in the live-work space she shares with three other artists.” [Translated from Norwegian]
Grete Nordtømme: "Sol Kjøk: Tegninger."
Kulturspeilet, Oslo, Nov 27, 2001
«The Swirling series (...) shows male and female bodies in a profusion of different poses and positions. A varied perspective spans from individual figures to entire sheets filled with human figures forming a single, massive swirl; muscular, limber bodies at play, engaging in athletic games and in battle. (...) Kjøk certainly knows how to depict the human body: Such masterly depiction is seldom seen." [Translated from Norwegian]
“There has been no loss in tension, and a gain in delicacy and refinement. Certain passages of Swirling are sheer linear ecstasy – Kjøk seems to delight in the act of drawing itself, not simply in describing the figure. She has become a master draughtsperson, as well as a careful observer of the human body – particularly woman’s body – in all its emotional vicissitudes.” (Kuspit)
“Like rings on water, her performative process also reaches out to touch earlier art historical conventions such as the often sexualized relationship between an artist and - almost invariably – his subject. Without the loud, but historically necessary, protestations of overtly feminist art, Kjøk's method is a gratifyingly aware, but unselfconscious extension of feminist concerns about the model/artist/viewer relationship. Along her processual loop […] Kjøk gets to don, all at once, the personae of creator, subject, voyeur, benevolent dominatrix, classical female nude, objecting feminist, and the subject of self-portraiture.” (Frid)
William Zimmer, "A Lean but Inviting Juried Show"
New York Times, March 4, 2001 Arts & Entertainment Section
"A handful of drawings made the cut. Mr. Kuspit gave an honorable mention to the dense composition of Renaissance-like figures by Sol Kjøk of Brooklyn (...)"
Donald B. Kuspit, “Juror Statement”
International Show Catalog, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 2001
"In general, I inclined toward [works] that have a strong sense of texture (...) and/or a certain intricacy, perhaps because such factors make for a certain perceptual ambiguity and emotional excitement. Sol Kjøk's Swirling XIX drawings have them to perfection. Without ambiguity and an undertone of irrationality art-especially modern art-tends to lose intellectual substance and expressive power."