Berit Soot Kløvig
2 min
Berit Soot Kløvig, «Ho-Ho-Ho», 1969–1970
Photo: Annar Bjørgli / Nasjonalmuseet
Year: 1969-1970


When Ho-Ho-Ho was shown at the Autumn Exhibition in 1969, King Olav stopped, bent down and squeezed one of the plastic sausages. When the sausage let out a beep, the king burst into his characteristic, staccato laugh.

Some have claimed that the title of the work was inspired by the king's laughter. But... This is not right... Instead it was the sound of H2O2, the chemical formula for heavy water.

(Short break)

At the age of 26, Berit Soot Kløvig debuted as a painter at the Autumn exhibition. She married and had children, but it wasn’t until after she turned 40, that she became a full-time artist studying sculpture at the Academy of Arts

“When I left the academy, I knew I could do something, master something. Until then I had just been working with nude models and was so sick of it!"

Soon after leaving the academy, she abandoned the classic figurative expression, and began to collect scraps.
Cartridge cases, nails, tin cans, corks and fishhooks were welded and glued together. First for material images, later for sculptures and installations.

The works were intended as political comments on everything from the apartheid regime in South Africa to the PLO's terrorist attacks on Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics.

Her son Eyolf commented how she "…demonstrated, threw stones at embassies, and cut the ties of people she thought were idiots".

(Short break)

The installation of frying pans, fried eggs, sausages and thyme tassels undeniably has a humorous touch, but the work actually sprung from a fear of war.

At this time, and throughout the Cold War, the fear of the nuclear race between the Soviet Union and the United States weighed on millions of people.

Although the scene itself seems homely – a breakfast table with a white tablecloth, freshly fried eggs, and sausages – it is disturbed by the avalanche of linked frying pans. And these frying pans are the artist's interpretation of the molecular structure of the heavy water needed to produce the atomic bomb.

Created by an artist who mixed wild ingenuity with dangerously clairvoyant anxiety.