Sign, standing

  • Artists:

    • Jan Groth
    • Benedikte Groth (Manufactured by)
  • Creation date: (1970)
  • Object type: Textile art

On display: Room 075 The Collection Exhibition - After the great disaster


Regardless of medium, a visual composition consists in theory of at least one line. With subtle precision, Jan Groth has explored the drawn line in various formats and techniques since the 1960s. In Sign, standing, his sensitive, hand-drawn lines have been transferred to a traditional Gobelin tapestry in collaboration with Benedikte Groth.

The Gobelin technique originated in a French tapestry workshop in the seventeenth century, and differentiates itself both technically and visually from traditional Norwegian tapestry by virtue of its ability to produce highly detailed images. Gobelin tapestries rivalled European baroque paintings, and from the perspective of art history, they are more valuable in Norway than traditional tapestries, which were based on an ornamental and planar style. However, it is precisely the Gobelin tapestry’s two-dimensional qualities that Groth exploits through a formally and chromatically minimalist aesthetics.

Groth’s artistic precision lies in his ability to express the almost endless variables of the line, without compromising modernism’s principles of originality; a hand-drawn line is always unique. At the same time, Groth’s work can be associated with early conceptual art.

Groth organizes his works in series that focus on the medium’s intrinsic qualities. Understood as Sign, he depicts the tapestry’s function as a representation, just like an icon or a symbol. The hand-drawn line is what he calls Drawing. Since the 1980s, he has also worked on embodying the line in the form of Sculpture. In both cases, Groth encourages the viewer to relate to the works’ materiality and monumentality.

Text: Nina Sundbäck-Arnäs Kaase

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Tegn, stående (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Gobelin i ull
  • Height: 145.5 cm
  • Width: 224.5 cm
Acquired 1974
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Annar Bjørgli
© Groth, Benedikte, Groth, Jan/BONO