Mie Olise Kjærgaard works in painting, sculptural objects and installation. Since graduating her MFA in 2008, her work has focussed on the theme of the ”man-made construction” in relation to dystopian ideas.

Kjærgaard is a maker and she explores dystopic settings, through man-made architectural constructions. Lately these dystopic ideas, has turned more real and her invented dystopian place, Moirania, might look a lot like a future dystopia of todays climate changes.
What initially started out as a idea-based and more poetic view, is now being caught up by with by reality.

In recent years, M.O. Kjærgaard has investigated the construction of man-made society in different stages – from dishonesty, over fake to fictional.
From modern ruins in Latin America, and how these contemporary ruins are deserted and occupied again; in horisontal layers, with new architectural strategies – very different from the original ideas about function and appearance. The project was exhibited at Museo de Arte Acarigua in Venezuela under the title ”Discontinued Monuments”.
In architectural terms, breaking with the initial constructural idea, is called a ”dishonest construction”, – which is what Kjærgaard is calling her recent body of work.

In 2016 Olise started working with Bastard Monuments and the fake Babylon Wall film-set of DW Griffith s Intolerance (movie, 1917), which aspired her to go even further and invent her own dystopic place, Moirania (after Moira) – a flooded world, where people and animals go around by boat at there are reminissences of designerbags, trainers and present popular items, lying useless around. This Universe has been evolving around a huge largescale map, drawn by pencil, and tugged away in Olises studio in secrecy.

Kjaergaard often paints her large scale paintings with polluted water collected from places of polluting industries.
Working in large scales was initially a way to put the maker-/spectators body in relation with the construction – later it also became a respond to the word masculine size.


Growing up between the building of wooden ships and – houses, and later at a sawmill, Kjaergaards visual vocabularium springs from the first things she saw as a child.

A lonely child, sailing ships with her family for months, with periods of intense monotony, Olise describes how she would shout out towards the horizon: I AM BORED! Drawing and painting became a solution for this.
The materiality of the shipyards wood, laquer, tar and oil first initiated Olises interest in the materiality, texture and layers of paint. Olise was interested in painting her life, loneliness and the fall of utopian ideas.
The family lost everything in a bankrupcy of the sawmill, and the first many machinery-like abandoned buildings she painted, was perhaps images of the lost sawmill.
From here the interest in the architecture of dystopian ideas evolved.

For example in the projects about:
The abandoned Berlin Spreepark(The Esquisite Capabilities of the Flying Carpet, SNYK(DK), 2009),
The abandoned Pyramid City by the Arctic Circle(videos, Istanbul Biennale, SNYK + Nikolaj Kunsthal(DK), 2007-2012),
Discontinued Monuments of Venezuela(MAAA(VZLA), 2013-2016),
The flop of DW Grittiths film Intolerance (Bastard Monuments, Samuel Freeman, LA(US), 2016),
and – of
 course – the search for her fathers ship, Espen Arnakke*which was sold in order to afford the sawmill (Honor Fraser Gallery(LA, US), UMOCA(Utah, US) + The Silent Station, Nikolaj Kunsthal, 2009-2012),
and finally in the ongoing the cityscapes of fictive Moirania (2018- ).


Olise Kjærgaard has exhibited at UMOCA – Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, MFAH – Museum of Fine Art Houston, MAAA – Museo de Arte Acarigua, Venezuela; Nikolaj Kunsthal (DK), SNYK – Skive New Museum of Art, (DK), Torrance Art Museum in LA; Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston Texas; Honor Fraser, LA; Samuel Freeman, LA; Duve Berlin and Hans Alf in Copenhagen.

You will find her work in Collections like: MFAH – Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas (US), JP Chase Morgan, Ny Carlsbergfonden, Estrellita Brodsky, Ron Pituzzi, Ohio. Philara Sammlung, Dusseldorf, Ole Faarup (DK).

Kjærgaard holds an Master in Fine Art(with distinction) from Central St. Martins in London and a Master in Architecture from Aaarch, Aarhus(DK)//The Bartlett, UCL, London (UK).
In recent years she has been based between London, New York, and Copenhagen.

  • The ship Espen Arnakke was named after the main character of `a Fugitive Crossing his Tracks`, the infamous novel by Aksel Sandemose.  Here he wrote the Law of Jante, as a characterization of the island where both Olise Kjærgaard and Sandemose – 100 years before her – grew up.
    Kjærgaards father read the novel, named the ship after the main-character, then moved the family to the same island – in regards of the meaning of The Law of Jante – a fatal decision for Kjærgaards life(The Silent Station, Nikolaj Kunsthal 2012).


Selected Reviews:

Selected Texts:



Deceitful Strategies,  Text by Lisbeth Bonde

NOPLACIA,  Text by Jens Soneryd

STOWED AWAY,  Text by Brian Dillon

NARRATIVE ART,  Text by Camilla Jalving

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