January 7, 2008 - Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art - LIGHTS ON – norsk samtidskunst
January 7, 2008

LIGHTS ON – norsk samtidskunst

LIGHTS ON – norsk samtidskunst
12 January – 23 March 2008

Dronningens gt 4
0107 Oslo


After Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art first directed its attention towards up and coming American artists, through the exhibition ‘Uncertain States of America’ (2005), and this last autumn devoted an exhibition to some of the youngest Chinese contemporary artists, the time has come to look at things closer to home and to put together a presentation of Norwegian contemporary art.

Artists participating in this exhibition are: Jesper Alvær/Isabela Grosseová, Jørgen Craig Lello/Tobias Arnell, Thora Dolven Balke, Siri Berqvam, Kyrre Bjørkås/Rune Andreassen, Ole Martin Lund Bø, Bjørn Båsen, Jan Christensen, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Ida Ekblad, Jan Hakon Erichsen, Matias Faldbakken, Jan Freuchen, Ivan Galuzin, Anna Sigmond Gudmundsdottir, Ane Mette Hol, Lars Kjemphol/Espen Henningsen, Håvard Homstvedt, Hjørdis Kurås, Maren Juell Kristensen, Ingvild Langgård, Trine Lise Nedreaas, Martin Skauen, Eirin Støen, Stian Ådlandsvik and Øystein Aasan.

Through the last decade we have witnessed a steadily increasing globalization of contemporary art. Artists throughout the world focus on research problems with similar contents, forms and artistic languages, even if not exactly the same. Norwegian artists are acknowledged as being part of a larger artistic milieu — a milieu in which they, with increasing enthusiasm, have become more visible and active participants.

The situation and conditions for Norwegian contemporary art have undergone great changes during this period — not only in relation to the artwork as a creative production, but also in relation to ‘the Norwegian artworld’. New commercial and non-commercial galleries have appeared on the art scene, a new generation of young and capable curators and critics distinguish themselves, and the Museum of Contemporary Art — for a period the main arena for Norwegian contemporary art — has now become part of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. And it doesn’t stop here. Norwegian artists not only share ideas and concepts with their international colleagues, but also spaces, discourses and markets. It has become completely natural for young Norwegian artists to observe what is happening internationally, but they also participate in and influence the international art scene.

Young Norwegian contemporary artists, most with an impressive academic education, seem more concerned with object-based rather than process-oriented art. Most work from post-conceptual premises and realize their artistic ideas through sculptures, architecture/installations, videos, sound works, photographs and paintings. Most artists in this exhibition work with a narrative pictorial language, often including text references and pictograms firmly rooted in everyday memories and popular culture. Some reflect over the appropriation of pictures, objects and art-historical references, others focus on perception and the physicality of objects. Another tendency is to explore the metaphysical and mystical realm. Yet in spite of the copious variety and forms of expression, in almost all the artist one finds a critical closeness to society and a will to create meaningful, socially relevant art.

Aiming to arrange a dynamic exhibition concept the museum has invited young curators to create ‘exhibitions within the exhibition’. From this starting point, we have reserved one central exhibition room in the museum and called it ‘the Guest Room’. It will be devoted to temporary exhibitions under the aegis of artist-driven, non-commercial galleries. Throughout the exhibition period we will present exhibitions by Bastard (Oslo) curator: Anders Smebye 12 Jan. – 27 Jan.; Blunk (Trondheim)curators: Lina Berglund, Kristoffer Henriksson, Freia Uta Beer, Aylin Tangen Soyer, Anna Bonnevier 31 Jan. – 10 Feb.; Rakett (Bergen) curators: Åse Løvgren and Karolin Tampere 14 Feb. – 2 March; and Rekord (Oslo) curators: Thora Dolven Balke, Ingvild Langgård and Eirin Støen 6 March – 23 March. These galleries have a ‘carte blanche’ to present what they see as the most interesting and significant contemporary Norwegian art. In this way the exhibition will extend beyond the curator’s initial intentions, and will, for short periods, add surprising glimpses into Norwegian contemporary art that were not initially planned as part of the exhibition.

The book shop ‘One for the Books’, curated by the artist Marte Johnslien, will present and sell ‘artist books’ and other Norwegian and international books. The selection is both by and about Norwegian
contemporary artists.

A catalogue is being published, which presents the exhibition through texts and pictures. These include ‘artist statements’ and articles written by young Norwegian artists, curators and critics: Power Ekroth, Erlend Hammer, Trude Iversen, Kjetil Røed, Leif Magne Tangen and Line Ulekleiv. In addition to these authors, we present a general overview of ‘how young Norwegian artists survive’: Ingrid Pettersen elucidates the intricacies of stipends, aid schemes and subsidies in relation to young Norwegian contemporary artists, and Ida Sannes Hansen presents an overview of Norwegian contemporary art and the commercial galleries involved in it.

The museum is arranging a series of lectures and panel discussions addressing the relation between the young generation of Norwegian contemporary artists and ‘the global artworld’, ‘the new critics’, ‘private collectors’, ‘the National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design’ and ‘the alternative art space’.

The curators for the exhibition are Gunnar B. Kvaran, Hanne Beate Ueland and Grete Årbu.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is generously supported by Stiftelsen Thomas Fearnley, Heddy og Nils Astrup and Astrup Fearnley AS

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
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