Jorunn Sannes


After my studies at SHKS, institute of textile, I have been working in different medias.

A one-year scholarship in Mexico in 1989 gave me the opportunity to study colours on paper and fabric.

Since this same year I have been taking part in several competitions together with architects and creating large-scale public art works on different buildings. The complexity of these tasks has led to involvement of different specialists and professionals generating situations of teamwork; a working situation I enjoy.


I won the architectural competition of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina together with Snøhetta architects in 1989. The creation of the exterior stonewall was her responsibility.

This facade is a 6000m2 big granite wall consisting of split stoneslabs with handcarved signs and symbols. I completed this work together with the sculptor Kristian Blystad.


In 2002 a team consisting of sculptor Kristian Blystad, artist Kalle Grude and myself got the commission to create the large roof of the new National Opera and Ballet in Oslo as a large piece of public art.

The 20 000m2 marble roof consists of about 30 000 different and individually sculpted stone pieces. Each piece is part of a large composition expanding the experience of the different surfaces and the shifting light and shadow conditions of days and nights throughout the year.


Every new task gives a new situation and asks for its specific choice of materials.

In the new conference centre for the teachers organisation, Lærernes Hus in Oslo, the task was to make an artistic expression on a 250m2 glass facade. In addition it should have an energy reducing effect.

I created a pattern of letters and numbers as mirrors. This pattern was silk-screen printed directly on the outside of the inner layer of glass.

In this way this large street glass façade reflects its surroundings clearly in the pattern during the day, whilst casting distorted shadows onto the interior surfaces. At night the expression is reversed.


"Svevende perle og jordet boks” 

Another artwork was to create the identities of two spaces portrayed as volumes inside a Culture house at Ørlandet. With a tight budget the Cinema was simply painted with a mother of pearl varnish and the Black box was given a strong, red varnish and covered partly with anthracite grey wool felt in an organic pattern.


At Kulturtorvet in Vigeland, one large window free and wooden façade of 7,5m height and 7,5 m width was to become a piece of art. The task commenced after the architectural design was completed, and thus the wall itself became the site of the artwork. The artistic reaction became contextual in its relationship to the building, using the existing design as a starting point.

By removing series of wooden planks in a certain sequence, openings where created to the solid wall behind. This solid wall was clad with mirror polished stainless steel plates. At the back of the reminding outer wooden planks, a strong coloured geometrical painting was mounted, the result being a mirrored picture of the hidden painting on the back wall, visible to passers by.

As a last element, a water pool of same sizes as the wall horizontally mirrors the wall once more, translating the picture into a subtle water reflection.


A glass fasade for the entrance of Sortland junior high school. 400 motorcycle mirrors were mounted on the window frames to form jumble of reflections up along the facade.


A commision to design the end of the wall in a foyer at Bjørnsveen Ungdomsskole together with poet Per Ivar Martinsen. The letters are made in mirror and painted with a fluorescent varnish at the back of the letters.


A sculpture shaped in a half circle made of painted and polished metal pieces. The object is mounted on a glass facade so the reflection gives the impression of a full circle.

"Crystal Re- Circle"

A installation made of 2400 glass objects shaped like a circle of 7 meters in diameter. The glass objects were made of glass prisms, big glass bobbles, glass blocks and mirrors.

"Lysene på Broen"

An art commission for a bridge connecting two school buildings at Nordseter  Skole.

When you move inside the bridge you will experience the fragmented reflection of the surroundings and yourself. By giving the lights strong colors, the structure desolves as the lights fades away and being reduced to fragments of itself.

My works are often based on themes contained within the buildings themselves. This clarifies the identity of the building and emphasises the contextual condition of the built environment.

I have vast experience with complex art works demanding multidisciplinary input as well as involvement by different artists and craftsmen.

Techniques and choice of materials varies from artwork to artwork, reflecting the given challenge, budget, place and time.