Knut Åsdam

Knut Åsdam

Frac Bourgogne

Knut Åsdam : Blissed, 2005, video, 12 min.
A film produced by Frac Bourgogne (Dijon, FR), Kunsthalle Bern (Bern, CH) and objectif_ exhibitions (Antwerp, BE)
photo© K. Åsdam Courtesy Galerie cent8, Paris; Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, New York

March 13, 2006

Knut Åsdam
an exhibition organized from 18 March to 20 May 2006

Curator : Eva González-Sancho

opening on Friday 17 March from 6 am
free guided visit Saturday 8 April 2006 at 3 pm
a book on Knut Åsdams work in film will be co-edited by FRAC Bourgogne and the Kunsthalle, Bern.

Other events organized in Dijon during the exhibition :
Art Danse festival 2006 : Jean Gaudin, danser and choregrapher Saturday 25 March at 11 pm and 6 pm
jus de fruits concert #1, Valérie Hartmann-Claverie’s concert, Martenot’s waves, Sunday 9 April at 11 pm
Frac Bourgogne
49 rue de Longvic, 21000 Dijon
tél. 33 [0]3 80 67 18 18 – fax. 33 [0]3 80 66 33 29
e-mail : infos [​at​]
site internet :

Knut Åsdam (born in Norway in 1968) is interested in the way we live today in the city, and the thoughts, references, desires and conflicts that drive us.

The images and sounds that he diffuses in his exhibitions resonate together in the spaces that he builds for them, allowing us to experience them as real locations. Film is one of Knut Åsdams preferred forms, and two films are included in the exhibition at FRAC Bourgogne. In these, Åsdams true subject is the city, the entity that is continuously being created by its inhabitants, even as it fashions those who live in it. Åsdam has also created a garden for the exhibition. These pieces allow the viewer to experience the unstable state of contemporary subjectivities, which are always undergoing reconstruction, as a sensation.

Though expressed in very diverse forms, the artists main interests remain consistent; they concern the manner in which each individual constructs and negotiates his identity while bounded by the rules and organisations of contemporary society. The conditions of perception are heightened by the spaces that Knut Åsdam builds and in which he exhibits his films, photographs, audio works and urban interventions. These spaces enhance the import of his pieces, which are made not only to be seen but also to be heard.

For the current exhibition at FRAC Bourgogne his work has taken the same direction. In the central space, a piece called The Care of the Self (1999-2006), recreates a park at night. This work has regularly changed and mutated since the first version for the Nordic pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1999. The visitor has to pass through it in order to view the two films, Filter City (2003) and Blissed (2005). This expedient places the viewer in the midst of instable situations that are like so many stories, narratives of our subjectivity. The public park is a particular space in the city and Knut Åsdam is less interested in it for its urban function than for what it engenders. By choosing darkness he makes it difficult to identify. While parks, in the daytime, are places for playing games and sports and going for walks, at night they can become places for sexual encounters, drug-trafficking, and teenage or homeless hangouts. It is the instability of the city itself, as much as that of its inhabitants, that interests Knut Åsdam. His vision of the city is temporal; he sees it as a state of permanent movement in which neither the place nor the subjectivities that inhabit it are inert.

Åsdams filmic matter is in itself an expression of this dimension; the form is cinematographic, using fictional narratives and montage. Language, which seems to echo the interiority of the characters, plays a decisive role. In Filter City, two women whose exact relationship we do not know (are they friends, lovers or simple acquaintances?) wander around a city a city that is a character in its own right.

The artist tries to create a symbiosis between these women who are lost in their relationship to others and to themselves, but also lost in the city, which lives its life without them. While friendship is explored to a greater extent in Blissed, language and the characters relationship to architecture are once again shown to both reveal and determine their friendships.

Though his thought prolongs the artistic and political practices of the 70s and 80s, Knut Åsdam is also looking elsewhere. The precision in the construction of his installations is due to the fact that he is, in his own words, struggling with conventional points of reference, whether they be social, political or psychological. For this struggle he has chosen a language that can be easily shared both by those inside the art world and those outside it, and his fictional films as well as the city park that everyone can enter serve this purpose. In the end, it is this poetical form that is best able to render the complexity as well as the richness of the individuals possible constructions of himself in the contemporary world.
Text : Claire Legrand, manager of the visitors’ department
Translated by Joséphine Marchand

This exhibition was made possible through the support of the Minister of Culture (DRAC: Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs of Burgundy, FR) and the Regional Council of Burgundy (FR) ;and the Royal Embassy of Norway (Paris, FR).

The film Blissed is produced by Frac Bourgogne (Dijon, FR), Kunsthalle Bern (Bern, CH) and objectif_exhibitions (Antwerp, BE), with the support of Royal Embassy of Norway in London, NBK and NIFCA.

The work Psychastenia : the Care of the Self is co-produced by FRAC Bourgogne and the Norwegian Office for Contemporary Art (OCA, Oslo, NO), with the help of the Landscape Gardening section of the Agence nationale pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes (AFPA Chevigny Saint-Sauveur, FR), the Office National des Forêts ONF (National Forestry Board, FR), and the Service Espaces Verts (Green Spaces Service) of the town of Dijon (FR).

Thanks to Cent8 Gallery (Paris, FR) and the Kunsthalle Bern (CH)

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Frac Bourgogne
March 13, 2006

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