Project Space

The Factory – an exhibition about Vestfos Cellulosefabrik

Project Space 2020:


The Factory – an exhibition about Vestfos Cellulosefabrik


Part of what makes Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium a unique location for exhibiting art is the striking building in which it is housed. Every year the old factory complex provides a distinctive backdrop to the art on show, adding in its own way to the rich stimulation of the visitors’ senses by the artworks. As the building was being repurposed for its opening as an art centre in 2003, it was regarded as vital that many traces of its industrial past should be preserved. For the first time we have now dedicated an exhibition to Vestfos Cellulosefabrik and the history that played out between these rough walls.




The old factory building in which Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium is located has a long history. Vestfos Cellulosefabrik was established in 1886 and at its peak gave employment to 350. The extraction of cellulose and production of several types of paper demanded constant renewal of the technical equipment and expansion of the building complex. The company kept abreast of developments in the industry and for more than 80 years it was a cornerstone of Vestfossen life.

The company archive was recently made available to the public, making possible this presentation of the factory’s history at the original location. When the factory was closed in 1970, the archive was placed in storage at the vacant Sagfogdgården (Sawmill Overseer’s house). In the 1980s, it was re-housed in the cellar of Øvre Eiker Municipal Hall, then in 2018 moved from Eiker Arkiv to Vestfoldarkivet, filling 180 shelf metres. Thanks to grants from the National Archives of Norway and Buskerud County Council the archive has now been processed, catalogued, and made accessible to the public. Eiker Arkiv and Vestfoldarkivet are collaborating with Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium to tell this important story.

Annual exhibitions, using the archive as background, will highlight significant aspects of this vital local industry. In 2020 an initial exhibition will be devoted to the factory’s history, production, and employees.

The Kunstlaboratorium is a venue for contemporary art. And we are pleased to be able to combine art with the archive material. The sound artist Hans Kristen Hyrve has devoted his life to the art of sound. He has worked extensively in radio and is known by many Norwegians for his adaptation of texts by Frode Grytten and Gunnhild Øyehaug on national radio. With his own podcast, TILkolon, he explores and challenges the radio medium and how life ought to be lived. Away from the radio he creates theatre music and also his own works under the artist name Timokacityguide. For this exhibition he has captured the sound of Vesfos.