At a cultural gathering in Bergen, the city between seven mountains in Norway, an exhibition of works by Ramon Eduardo Haiti Filiu opens at the Wendelboe Gallery.
I have been aware of this artist for some years now and on this particular evening I am accompanied by a colleague who is acquainted with both Ramon and his excellent helper, Norunn Kalgraff. I am presented to both of them.
It is a full house and while the colorful exciting works of art blend with Cuban musical rhythms to form the framework for the evening, I make an appointment with the artist to visit his studio.
Photo Nelly del Arbo
Jarl Goli is an artist from Norway having a lot of success the last couple of years as a result of hard work. All his life he has been interesting in painting, and for a long time in his youth he was drawing and painting a lot. He had however another skill as well, namely acting. He therefore applied for both The Norwegian Academy of Fine Art and The Academy of Theatre. He came in at the latter and thus the brush was put away. But that was then.... (mer…)
This year's main exhibition at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium is CONTEMPORARY CHAOS and it is curated by Demetrio Paparoni. Paparoni comes from Syracuse in Italy, but today he is living in Milano. He is an art critic and an author in addition to be a curator. He has written many art books which have been published at the well known publish house SKIRA. Recently the book about the Norwegian artist Vibeke Slyngstad was published, written by Paparoni. Morten Viskum is another Norwegian artist who the author found interesting, and in 2016 the book about the artist was published. This book you can read more about here at Samtidskunst.com. (mer…)
Last summer when I was visiting Cornwall again, I went to an exhibition at the Salthouse Gallery in St. Ives where I met the two Cornish artists Zoe James and Andrew Jago. I found their works very interesting and asked them to talk me through them, and so they did. Zoe James is working with people in different ways in her works, while Andrew Jago is working with landscapes in many ways. (mer…)
Irene Våtvik, was born in 1951 in Sandnessjøen, but today she lives in Asker in Norway. As a child she was often ill which led to many hospitalization where she spent a lot of time alone. She therefore created her own fantasy world, a creativity that she has brought along in life. Her own experiences made her curious of other people and their inner world. She developed a strong empathy for suffering people, and as an adult, she educated herself as a nurse and then specialized herself to become a psychiatric nurse. Through her work she became interested in creative treatment in the psychiatry and therefore she began part-time studies at Asker School of Art from 1994 to 1998. (mer…)
This year's main exhibition at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium is called: IF YOU DON'T LIKE ART, GOODBYE, FUCK OFF, GO HOME..... The title is a rewriting of the Danish group SUPERFLEX's work from 2008: "If you don't like Danmark /good bye / fuck off /Go home...". No need to go home though, it's a lot of interesting art works to meet, some of them will maybe bring you back in time, while others will put a smile on your face. You will also meet art that communicate in a more serious way, as said many times before; art is a form of communication.
First of all, here are some facts about this multifarious art. The curator for this exhibition is Göran Christenson. For 25 years (from 1987-2012) he was the director of Malmö Konstmuseum (Malmö Art Museum) and he is still a very important man when it comes to contemporary art. From 2013 - 2015 he has, on behalf of private individuals, created a collection of Nordic contemporary art. He himself could decide what to collect, and the criteria he chose were that the artist in one way or another had an attachment to The Nordic. In addition he were looking for artists in the beginning of their career, not having received so much attention. This is in some ways comparable to what Charles Saatchi did in the 90s when he helped many artists that haven't become famous yet to be just that. The artists we are talking about became known under the name of Young British Artists (YBAs), but today many of them are among the most famous artists in the world. Among them we find name like Damien Hirst, Tracey Enim, and Marc Quinn, just to mention a few. Saatchi bought art from them which he exhibited in the very famous exhibition Sensation in The Royal Academy, back in 1997. The difference between Saatchi and Christenson is that when Saatchi bought art with his own money, Göran Christenson bought art on behalf of other people's money. This tells how much they trusted him. The collection is named NORDIC CONTEMPORARY ART COLLECTION abbreviated to NoCo. In spite of Christenson's searching for unknown artists, we also find well known artists in the collection, like Olafur Eliasson, Elmgreen & Dragset, Fredrik Værslev, Bjarne Melgaard , Sofia Hultén, just to mention a few. This, together with the collection being only a few years old, is what makes it so interesting. As the first place to show this collection, Göran Christenson has chosen Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, an hour with train from Oslo in Norway. He sees this place as the most important place for contemporary art in the Nordic, according to an interview in the Norwegian newspaper Drammens Tidende 12.04.17 . (mer…)
2017-01-20 Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the US, in spite of what many people thought was possible. In that context the Norwegian artist Morten Viskum offered Nasjonalmuseet (The Norwegian National Museum) to buy his well known self-portrait Make America Great Again for $ 1!!! But Audun Eckhoff, the director of Nasjonalmuseet didn't respond to the offer. If you are offering something, common courtesy is either to refuse or to accept. Of course Eckhoff can hide behind the fact that he didn't know about the offer, but the offer abounded in social media throughout 2017-01-20, and such a unique offer the director of the Nasjonalmuseet should know about. (mer…)
Morten Viskum made his mark across the country when he in 1995 placed olive glasses with dead rats on formalin in several Norwegian supermarkets. When he some years later made a crucifix and replaced Christ with a dead rat , he received death threats. It was at this time I became acquainted with Morten Viskum, the artist who back then always was wearing a face mask in public places so that one could not recognize him if you met him on the street. Our meeting resulted in the graduate thesis Rotten på korset (The Rat on the Cross) and ever since I have followed his art closely. From our first meeting I have never doubt that Morten Viskum would be one of our foremost artists from our time, and that Love From God will enter the history of art as an icon from our time. I myself have used the art of Morten Viskum both in lessons and lectures, and I always bring "little rat" (a dead rat on formalin) with me, and even if someone have responded in a negative way, it soon has passed away when the background of the art expression has been known. Then the curiosity and the good conversation have taken place. (mer…)
During my work with Rotten på korset (The Rat on the Cross) I did an interview with Morten Viskum where we also discussed the theme of death. Whether it was Viskum or myself that eventually were interviewing became unclear because after a while it bar characterized more by a conversation. Later I decided that this conversation needed another context than what was natural in the thesis, and that it also should have a separate space on mye site, independent of Rotten på korset (The Rat on the Cross) but for a further reading of the topic, I refer anyway to Rotten på korset chapter 6:4, where I look at the opportunities that theming the death in contemporary art evokes such strong reactions it sometimes does. (Rotten på korset will be translated into English during autumn and winter) (mer…)