Marianne Heier: Surplus

Marianne Heier: Surplus

Bergen Kunsthall

Photo: Marianne Heier

May 10, 2012

Marianne Heier

24 May–5 July 2012

Opening: Thursday 24 May at 1pm. 
Performance at the opening

Rasmus Meyers allé 5

5015 Bergen
, Norway

T +47 55 55 93 10

bergen [​at​]

The title of Heier’s exhibition makes use of the concept of ‘surplus.’ The complexity of the concept is exploited in the exhibition to shed light on different value systems set up in opposition to one another, and thereby also on the dialectic between scarcity and surplus. Heier investigates how financial capital and cultural capital are often overlapping value systems, but their various cycles and mechanisms are not always compatible. Something falls through the cracks, something cannot be translated from one to the other. Something is not for sale.

A central element in the exhibition is Vima, a trawler built in 1977, first registered in Bergen, and later sold to Russian owners. When Vima was sent to the breaker’s yard in Trondheim in 2011, she had been seized and had incurred such large fines that it was no longer profitable to operate her. The story of Vima shows how an economic logic makes the trawler unseaworthy, while the ship itself should have been refitted for further use. The account doesn’t quite balance.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc countries, the balance of power that long held the world economy in check no longer functions. Today, after the financial crisis of 2008, we see the results of an unregulated, crude global capitalism that has been allowed to run amok in many places. However, Norway is in a quite special situation where the state is not only debt-free, but is also sitting on large savings that can in turn be invested in a global market. This means that the border between Norway and Russia in particular constitutes an area that throws the differences in the Europe of today into stark relief. No border in the world marks greater economic differences than the 196 km long frontier that separates the two countries.

The global economy also affects the way we look at the value of art. While the commercial market for contemporary art still thrives, we see public investment in art and culture crumbling away in large parts of Europe. In some countries an almost hostile rhetoric has grown up towards artists, art institutions, and the values represented by free art. The issue of ‘who art is for’ has become touchier than it has been for a long time.

Marianne Heier’s artistry is grounded in an unshakable belief that art has another value than the kind that can simply be purveyed on a market. In this perspective, surplus can also refer to ‘surplus value‘, a concept applied in Marxist theory to the ‘added value’ of excess production—but which, applied to art, may perhaps also connote an extra value that goes beyond the tangible and marketable. Art is an expression of human experience in the world, and it has a cognitive potential that can open one’s eyes to the world in new ways. Art too has solid value. It is central and relevant, and always survives.

Curated by Solveig Øvstebø

Marianne Heier (b. 1969) lives and works in Oslo. In her projects Heier often explores specific institutions ‘from the inside’. Her projects can be seen as situated within an institution-critical artistic praxis; but Heier’s critique from the inside is more often the result of personal engagement, motivated by personal, lived experience, than of a calculated, strategic institution-critical praxis. Her recent solo exhibitions and projects in public space include Jamais – Toujours, Stenersen Museum, Oslo (2010); Saga Night, Maihaugen, Lillehammer (2008); Pioneer, ROM, Oslo (2007); and Waldgänger, KORO, Hammerfest (2008). She has participated in group exhibitions at a number of institutions such as Kunsthall Oslo (2011); Hiap, Helsinki (2010); Overgaden, Copenhagen (2009); the Henie Onstad Art Centre (2009).

To accompany the exhibition, Bergen Kunsthall and Sternberg Press are publishing a reader with texts by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Marianne Heier, Ranjit Hoskote, Loretta Napoleoni, Kim West, and Solveig Øvstebø. The book will be available in our online bookshop.

Saturday 26 May at 1pm
Marianne Heier in conversation with Loretta Napoleoni
The talk will be streamed live on



Marianne Heier: Surplus at Bergen Kunsthall
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May 10, 2012

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