‘Pushwagner: Soft City’
Solo exhibition at MK Gallery
Curated by Anthony Spira and Natalie O’Donnell
Exhibition Dates: 28 June–2 September, 2012
Opening Reception: Wednesday 27 June, 18:00
OCA announces the opening of 'Pushwagner: Soft City', a retrospective of the work of the Norwegian artist Hariton Pushwagner at the MK Gallery in UK. The exhibition, curated by MK Gallery's Director Anthony Spira together with Natalie O'Donnell, marks the ﬁrst international solo exhibition by the Oslo-based artist, a show that the curators say 'aims to explore the artist's early body of work with a focus on three periods including Soft City, Family of Man and Apocalypse Frieze'.
According to the curators, Pushwagner's defining work is centered around the the graphic novel Soft City, 'an epic satire of capitalism and life in the modern metropolis', produced intermittently in Oslo and London between 1969 and 1976. 'The 154-page graphic novel provides 'an account of mechanical, daily life in a dehumanised, dystopian modern city'. The Family of Man of the exhibition section focuses on Pushwagnerʼs series of thirty-four silkscreen prints produced in the 1980s; these enlarged variations on Soft City will be exhibited alongside the Oblidor Guide Book, a sketchbook that reveals the artistʼs working process. The Apocalypse Frieze, 'rife with literary allusion and piercing social commentary, comprises seven large-scale works of meticulous detail: Heptashinok (1986), Dadadata (1987), Gigaton (1988), Jobkill (1990), Oblidor (1991), Klaxton (1991) and Self-Portait (1993). The series shows endless processions of haggard figures, doggedly advancing towards Armageddon, where factories double up as death camps and the ravages of war are perpetrated under the watchful eye of robotic men in suitsʼ. In addition, a site-specific piece will be realised by the artist especially for this exhibition, in the form of a mural surrounding the gallery's main entrance.
Following its presentation in Milton Keynes, the exhibition will tour to Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum, Norway, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Netherlands. A substantial monograph on Pushwagner will accompany the exhibition, including commissioned texts from Lars Bang Larsen, Martin Herbert, Natalie O’Donnell, Will Bradley and Petter Mejlænder.
For press enquiries and more information on this exhibition, please contact Katharine Sorensen, MK Gallery's Communications Director.
About the Artist
Hariton Pushwagner (b.1940 in Oslo, lives and works in Oslo) was educated at the National Academy of Fine Art and the School of Arts and Crafts in Oslo (1958–66), and at the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, France. He has exhibited widely in Norway, and his international breakthrough came in 2008 when the original drawings of his visual novel Soft City were exhibited at the Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art, 'When Things Cast No Shadow'.
‘Pushwagner: Soft City’ at the Milton Keynes Gallery is supported by OCA's International Support Programme.
The recording is from 15 June 2011, as part of the exhibition
'Forms of Modern Life' at OCA. A homage to Hannah Ryggen,
Vevnad was also performed in Kassel during the opening
week of dOCUMENTA (13).
Verksted #13 is now out and can be purchased directly in the exhibition or through our website
the opening of dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany
Artistic director: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Press preview: 6 June 2012, 14:00
Professional preview opening: 7 June 2012, 10:00
Public opening: 9 June 2012, 10:00
The exhibition will remain on view until 16 September 2012
OCA is pleased to announce the opening of dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, under the artistic direction of Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, with the participation of artists Matias Faldbakken, Toril Johannessen, Aase Texmon Rygh and Hannah Ryggen, as well as performances of Arne Nordheim’s Vevnad to be held during the opening week. Additional contributions include Tron Frede Thingstad, Karel Jezek, Morten Nordbye Halvorsen and Itonje Søimer Guttormsen.
· During the opening week of dOCUMENTA (13), Arne Nordheim’s Vevnad will be performed at the Museum Fridericianum on the following dates: 6 June (16:00, 18:00), 7–9 June (11:00, 18:00) and 10 June (12:00).
· Artists: Hannah Ryggen at the Museum Friedericianum (Friedrichsplatz 18); Matias Faldbakken’s Book Sculpture (2008/12) at Stadtbibliothek (Obere Königsstr. 8) and Jugendbibliotek (Dr. Aschrott-Wohlfahrtshaus Oberste Gasse 24); Aase Texmon Rygh and Toril Johaannessen within 'When you step inside it is filled with seeds', at the Ottoneum (Steinweg 2).
· Matias Faldbakken will also take part in an Artist / Agent talk with Marta Kuzma at the Stadtbibliothek, 8 June (11:00).
Arne Nordheim (b.1931 Larvik, d.2010) composed Vevnad in conjunction with Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum's 100th year anniversary in 1993, as a tribute to Hannah Ryggen, an artist who for nearly four decades created tapestries based on social and political engagement. The piece is a homage to the artist and her approach to the medium and concept of weaving on several levels; the score consists of three sections, all named after technical terms of weaving (Woven piece, Weft and Warp), and the piano part is composed and drawn in a manner that visually makes the notes resemble woven material. Vevnad will be performed by Emery Cardas on cello, Sverre Riise on trombone, and Asbjørn Blokkum Flø on Disklavier. The original score of Arne Nordheim will be exhibited, on loan from the Norwegian Academy of Music / Rannveig Getz Nordheim.
The presentation of Hannah Ryggen (b.1894, Malmö, d.1970, Trondheim) includes six tapestries, Etiopia (1935), Gru (1936), Drømmedød (1936), Hitler-teppet (1936), Spania / La Hora se aproxima (1938) and Jul Kvale (1956), and will be installed in the rotunda of the Fridericianum. According to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Ryggen 'engages with the trauma of her time on an artistic level, which we feel today to be simultaneously a deeply personal process of emancipation as well as a comment on the engagement of artists in society.' Ryggen's works are on loan from the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo and Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim.
Matias Faldbakken (b.1973 in Hobro, Denmark, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) has created the intervention Book Sculpture (2008/12), which will be shown at the Stadtbibliothek and Jugendbibliothek, both in Kassel. The work is a radical attack on the traditional structure and system of the library through a destructive intervention in the bookshelves, and can be read as a comment on the changing notions of the space of the library. Faldbakken will participate in an Artist / Agent talk with Marta Kuzma at the Stadtbibliothek on 8 June at 11:00.
Toril Johannessen (b.1978 in Trondheim, Norway, lives and works in Bergen, Norway) and Aase Texmon Rygh (b.1925 in Troms, Norway, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) will be part of 'When you step inside it is filled with seeds', a project revolving around notions of art, biodiversity and ecology that will be installed at Ottoneum, the Natural History Museum in Kassel. Texmon Rygh, an early pioneer of Norwegian sculpture modernism in the 1950s, is represented by six sculptures from the period 1951–90. Central to the works is a concern with the exploration of conceptual dimensions in pure, simple form, reflected in her use of the Möbius strip. Aase Texmon Rygh's works are on loan from Henie Onstad Art Center and private collectors. Toril Johannessen will present the work Extraordinary Popular Delusions (2012), which addresses issues relating to energy cycles and economy, taking the sun, petroleum and the production of images as its point of departure. Johannesen will also participate in the conference ‘Disowning Life: A Conference on Seeds and Multispecies Intra-action’, taking place during the closing weekend of dOCUMENTA (13). She will also be part of ‘Nature Addicts Academy’, an itinerant academy that brings together artists, philosophers and writers on 12–16 September in Kassel.
Plant and animal scientist Tron Frede Thingstad and neuro-scientist Karel Jezek will take part in the conference 'Disowning Life: A Conference on Seeds and Multispecies Intra-action’, within the Maybe Education and Public Programs of dOCUMENTA (13), on 10 and 15 September. Thingstad is a professor at the University of Bergen, where he leads a research group investigating how the oceanic microbial ecosystem emerges from an interplay between the properties of the individual organisms, the chemistry of the ocean and the forces of physics and evolution. Their work was recently recognised by the European Research Council through one of its Advanced Researcher’s Grants. Karel Jezek will hold the lecture ‘Memory states in the brain, their transitions and conflicts’, about how independent meomories can influence each other and eventually affect their own content. Jezek is participating on behalf of the Moser group, led by professors May-Britt and Edvard Moser of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Their research has provided key insights into how location and spatial memory are computed in the brain.
SEARCH / SUCHE by Matias Faldbakken is published as dOCUMENTA (13) notebook no. 35 within the series 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts. Faldbakken publishes the results of his Google searches as the effective tools of a language, building a notebook that provides the reader with the voyeuristic experience of delving into his private search habits. The reading of the material is complicated by the fact that the author / artist’s curiosity is steered by a patented search algorithm that analyses previous searches in order to compile the result of new ones, rendering Faldbakken’s enquiry largely constructed.
dOCUMENTA (13) notebook no. 67, titled HANNAH RYGGEN and written by Marta Kuzma, consists of an essay around the work, production, and political inclinations of the Swedish-Norwegian artist Hannah Ryggen. The notebook includes illustrations of Ryggen’s tapestries, personal notes, a textile dye recipe, letters and sketches from a workbook belonging to Hannah Jönsson (Ryggen's maiden name).
Morten Norbye Halvorsen (b.1980 in Stavanger, Norway, lives and works in London, UK) is collaborating in the project Pageant Roll Thunderclap by Jessica Warboys. Nordbye Halvorsen will perform in the midday spectacle Thunderclap, taking place in Karlsaue Park during the opening weekend, where music, dance, props and poetry meet under the parasol of a weeping willow tree.
Itonje Søimer Guttormsen (b.1979 Trondheim, Norway, lives and works in Oslo) has been invited to take part in the Anational Congress of the Multi- Breasted Monstrosity, in connection to Lea Porsager's Anatta Experiment (2012), which takes as its starting point the magnetic Monte Verità in Switzerland and its attraction to spiritual rebellions in the early 1900s. The event will take place at Ständehaus, Kassel on 26 July, 2012, within the Maybe Education and Public Programs of dOCUMENTA (13).
According to curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, one of the main challenges of dOCUMENTA (13) is 'to move exhibition planning and presentation beyond a traditional format – from being an "exhibition" to becoming a "constellation" of interrelated temporalities, cultural fields, spaces, places, histories, artworks and other possibilities of engaging with art and the world at large'. Documenta is a periodic exhibition, which began in 1955 as an attempt to re-establish culture and the visual arts as a primary focus of society, and to reconnect Germany with the field of international art at the time, after the trauma of World War II. Since then, every four and later five years, it has become both an exhibition of contemporary art worldwide and a moment of reflection on the relation between art and society. The last edition of documenta drew over 750,000 visitors from all over the world.
Norwegian participation in dOCUMENTA (13) is supported by the Norwegian Arts Council. The participation of Aase Texmon Rygh, Toril Johannessen, Matias Faldbakken, Itonje Søimer Guttormsen and Morten Nordbye Halvorsen is supported by OCA through the International Support Programme.
History of Norwegian participation in Documenta
Previous Norwegian participants in documenta are: Rolf Nesch in documenta 1955, Artistic Director: Arnold Bode; Anna-Eva Bergman in documenta 2, 1959, Artistic Director: Arnold Bode; Edvard Munch in documenta 3, 1964, Artistic Director: Arnold Bode; Olav Christopher Jenssen in documenta 9, 1992, Artistic Director: Jan Hoet; and Wenche Mühleisen in satelite programme at documenta 7, 1982, Artistic Director: Rudi Fuchs.