Queer Icons

The exhibition Queer Icons is the result of a series of meetings that photographer Fin Serck-Hanssen and authors Bjørn Hatterud and Caroline Ugelstad Elnæs have had with groundbreaking queer personas born before 1970. The project aims to contribute unwritten recognition surrounding Norway’s queer genealogies to mainstream history. Taking place in the context of the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Norway, Queer Icons consists of an exhibition, a publication, and a wide-ranging public programme.

Fin Serck-Hansen, Bjørn Hatterud and Caroline Ugelstad Elnæs write:

Queer Icons is not a representative or exhaustive work of history. It attempts to produce a nuanced story about lives that restitute a generational portrait when these lives are brought side by side.In the decades both before and after the decriminalization of homosexuality in Norway in 1972, various forms of queer culture developed underground: in nightclubs, in art spaces, educational institutions, or through voluntary work and closed gatherings. Queer histories, therefore, depend on being retold orally to survive.

Artistic Director of Fotogalleriet Antonio Cataldo writes:

During the last five decades, Fotogalleriet worked to shape a space for representation, where people could create their image under their premises: images that could represent different ways of life outside given norms and institutions. Queer Icons, a multilayered project by Fin Serck Hanssen, Bjørn Hatterud, and Caroline Ugelstad Elnæs, is on many levels a work in progress as we have a long way to go into a more equitable society which not only endorses non-normalized positions but makes them become their primary model, icons. As these issues sit at the intersection of social sciences, technologies of power and information, and the aesthetic field of what’s yet to be normalized and accepted, Fotogalleriet, in its continuous work as a kunsthalle with its public remit and accountability, is inherently the primary site of presentation of such concerns and propositions.

Excerpts of the exhibition will be shown simultaneously at Det Norske Teatret. See their website for address and opening hours.

The exhibition is curated by Artistic Director of Fotogalleriet Antonio Cataldo.

The book is edited by Bente Riise and designed by Den Luca. The exhibition is designed through a collaboration with the design collective HAiKw/, Ida Falck Øien and Harald Lunde Helgesen.

The public programme is curated by Head of Mediation for Fotogalleriet Håkon Traaseth Lillegraven and Programme Coordinator Miki Gebrelul.


Fotogalleriet is a publicly funded foundation located in the center of Oslo and the oldest institution for photography solely dedicated to photography as a critical art practice in the Nordic region. The Norwegian Royal Ministry of Culture provides Fotogalleriet’s principal operating support; additional operational funding comes from the Norwegian Photographic Fund (Nofofo), and in part, from the Oslo Municipality.


For more information on the exhibition, visits
and tours, or press inquiries, contact Fotogalleriet’s Head of Mediation and Communication
Håkon Lillegraven at [email protected]

For international press inquiries, please write to Arash Shahali at [email protected]

Documentation by Jon Gorospe