May 18, 2017 - Bergen Kunsthall - Jan Groth
May 18, 2017

Bergen Kunsthall

Jan Groth, Bundle, 2017. Seven sculptures, patinated bronze, dimensions variable. Photo: Adrian Bugge.

Jan Groth
May 25–August 13, 2017

Bergen Kunsthall
Rasmus Meyers allé 5
5015 Bergen
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm,
Thursday 11am–8pm

T +47 940 15 050
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Jan Groth’s unique position in Norwegian visual art is the result of an unusually consistent artistic project. Over several decades his famous "line" has been articulated again and again—in drawings, tapestries and sculptures—without ever losing relevance in his own time. Groth has been selected for the 2017 Bergen International Festival Exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, and his exhibition includes a number of new works made especially for the show.

For large parts of his career Jan Groth has worked outside Norway. While living and teaching in New York he took a very active part in the city’s art scene, exhibiting with important galleries including Betty Parsons and Marian Goodman. His solo exhibition at Guggenheim Museum in 1986 did much to solidify his already strong international position. At the same time he has maintained a constant presence on the Norwegian art scene. His practice operates almost as a kind of fixed point, a benchmark against which changing tendencies can be gauged, but remains in active dialogue both with his own time and with an art-historical tradition. Today his oeuvre is once more the object of renewed interest, especially among younger artists. 

For his exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, Groth is presenting almost entirely new works: including new drawings on paper, new sculptures in bronze—some made at a monumental scale—as well as two large scale wall drawings, shown here for the very first time. Also included is the very last tapestry Groth made with his partner, Benedikte Groth, before she died and this element of his practice ceased forever (Sign, 2004–06). In a way it marks a kind of end point, but also a beginning: a beginning reinforced through the extraordinary intensity of the rest of the works in the exhibition, all of which have been produced over the last two years. 

Focusing primarily on drawings and sculpture, the exhibition highlights how these two media, in different ways, continue to express Groth’s distinctive combination of the immediate and the gradual; the fast and the slow; the gesture and the design. While the drawings appear intuitively improvised—composed at the moment the black crayon meets the paper—the sculptures are the result of a slower process, modeled by hand in wax before being cast in bronze—fixed like the tapestries at a grand scale. 

Within this range, between the intimacy of the mark and the architecture of the exhibition, Groth composes a totality that can be read as a many-faceted "spatial drawing." The vibrant black line is played out not only against the surface of the sheet of paper, but also against that of the gallery wall, and the volume of the spaces themselves, with free-standing sculptures liberating the line entirely, allowing one to physically encounter it from all sides.

Jan Groth (b. 1938) lives and works in Oslo and Dagali, Norway

Also opening in NO.5:
Espen Gleditsch
Polymorphous Magical Substance

May 25–August 13, 2017

In NO.5 Bergen Kunsthall revisits selected artworks and exhibitions, previously presented elsewhere in the world. Initiated in response to the increasing acceleration of both the production and reception of art, NO.5 provides an opportunity to slow down, focus on, and look again at particular works, exhibitions or fragments of exhibitions. In Polymorphous Magical Substance Espen Gleditsch presents a new interpretation of his exhibition from 2016, first shown at Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo. 

Espen Gleditsch works with both the limitations of the photographic medium, and the photograph as the origin of various misinterpretations and displacements of meaning. In Polymorphous Magical Substance he photographs architectural interiors with a polaroid camera. By way of the almost obsolete medium of polaroid photography, he emphasizes the painterly aspects of the architecture through the encounter of light, colour, form and surface. The intimate format permits no form of retouching or post-production and in that respect might be likened to a watercolour painting. But nor does it render colours exactly as they are in reality; it creates or imposes its own chromatic scheme.

Espen Gleditsch (b. 1983) lives and works in Oslo, Norway.

Platform—On Jan Groth: May 27, 1–2pm, Director Martin Clark in conversation with co-curator Steinar Sekkingstad 

Platform: June 8, 7–8pm, Dag Erik Elgin in conversation with Espen Gleditsch 

Jan Groth

Texts by Martin Clark, Steinar Sekkingstad, Richard Tuttle and Fredrik Værslev in conversation with Jan Groth. 

Published by Bergen Kunsthall, this new publication, designed by Petri Henriksson at Blank Blank, Berlin, features rich documentation of Groth’s new works for the exhibition, including a series of 20 new drawings reproduced in 1:1 scale. The book also contains a new essay written by Bergen Kunsthall’s curator Steinar Sekkingstad, a conversation between Groth and Norwegian artist Fredrik Værslev, as well as a new text by Richard Tuttle, one of Groth’s peers and a fellow artist at Betty Parsons’ New York Gallery during the 1970s.  

NO.5 #12
Espen Gleditsch
Polymorphous Magical Substance

Text by Elias Redstone 
Published by Bergen Kunsthall and available for download as PDF at from May 25.

Bergen Kunsthall
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