The artist Kjell Erik Killi-Olsen is behind the art center Kjøpmannsgata ung kunst, or KUK for short
Present at the opening was Queen Sonja, who made the audience laugh when she was supposed to pronounce the cheeky name of the art center.
“You make it difficult for an old lady,” said Sonja to the great excitement of the audience.
Finances out of pocket
Killi-Olsen has long dreamed of creating a lively art house with a focus on young artists.
– It’s touching. It was a long way, it took four years, Killi-Olsen told the NRK on the opening day.
The opening exhibition shows the works of 29 young artists from different countries. In addition, the center houses around 1,000 of Killi-Olsen’s own works of art, which he gave to Trondheim.
The artist finances the center out of pocket and has so far spent NOK 200 million.
– I have had sober parents and ancestors for generations who haven’t used up the money. And then I had good years myself, says Killi-Olsen.
Tribute to friends
The Gubalari restaurant is also located in the art center.
Inspired by Ingrid Espelid Hovig, who taught Norwegians how to cook for 30 years on the TV show “Fjernsynskjøkkenet”. Espelid Hovig died in 2018 and was a close friend of Killi-Olsen.
Espelid Hovig often used the term “Gubalari” for something that came as a surprise and aroused full concentration and anticipation.
– Ingrid is here all the time. She is here in her mind. She’ll find the right “gubalari”, Killi-Olsen previously told the NRK about the restaurant.