News : 2013/03

2013/03/11

Norway at the 55th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia

Norsk versjon

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa

‘Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation’

Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
Galleria di Piazza San Marco
San Marco 71/c
30124 Venice, Italy

Exhibition dates: 1 June–22 September 2013
Opening hours: Wed.–Sun. / 11am–6pm


www.oca.no
www.bevilacqualamasa.it

‘Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation’ is a project organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, as the official Norwegian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia in 2013. The exhibition, which includes a series of rarely exhibited works by Edvard Munch in addition to a newly commissioned film by Lene Berg, revolves around emancipation as an issue always vexed with contradiction – between the realm of freedom and the consequences of the isolation that often accompany the pursuit of a qualitatively different, ‘alternative’ life. In his Essay on Liberation, Herbert Marcuse notes that the striving toward a ‘new sensibility’ involves a psychedelic, narcotic release from the rationality of an established system, as well as from the logic that attempts to change that system. Such new sensibility, which resides in the gap between the existing order and true liberation, might lead to a radical transformation – and in this shift art functions as a technique through which to reconstruct reality from its illusion, its imitation, its harmony, towards a matter not yet given, still to be realised.

The impulse to operate in the margins – on the outside trying to break in or on the inside redefining the context – is one of the key driving forces in the history of art, and is also at the centre of ‘Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation’. The exhibition, curated by Marta Kuzma, Director, OCA, Angela Vettese, President, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa and Pablo Lafuente, Associate Curator, OCA, will bring together rarely exhibited works from the collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo with Lene Berg’s new film Ung Løs Gris (Dirty Young Loose, 2013) in order to explore the relationship between art, its social context and changing gender relationships, both in the age of emancipation in which Munch lived and today.

At the beginning of the 20th century, sexual norms and traditional gender roles were questioned amid new psychological theories of sex and politics and a struggle for women’s equality. Challenged by such developments, Munch faced the alienation that characterised the Christiania Bohemia, a society bidding for emancipation but trapped in ‘reality’, struggling between two options: assimilating shared values, or going beyond them in order to construct a new frame for perception. Munch’s emphatic treatment of these themes from 1902 to 1908, before entering the asylum, reflected an internal ambiguity and anguish. Munch described this period as an ‘eternal civil war’, after which his work moved to a more distanced treatment of subjects, in social caricatures in which he offers an ironic critique of an increasingly capitalist and permissive society. In Social Studies, Cause and Effect (1910), made shortly after, Munch also reflected upon the conditions of artistic production and its reception, via patronage, sales, criticism and public opinion, opening new dimensions for his work, from a psychological perspective into social and historical realms.

These issues are echoed in Lene Berg’s Dirty Young Loose (2013), a film that concentrates on three different characters who are interrogated about their roles as either victims or perpetrators in a complex situation. The film explores the interpretation of human behaviour based on preconceived concepts and established norms. Just like the exhibition as a whole, the film presents the deconstruction of an original scene which functions as a catalyst for a revision of the politics of liberation, of gender struggle and of internal conflict – the dilemma of emancipation.

ON PETER WATKINS' EDVARD MUNCH (1973)
Edvard Munch is considered by Watkins as his most personal film. The work dramatises three decades of the life of the artist in the form of a docudrama that conveys Munch’s subjective vision about tragic family events, difficulties in his first sexual relationships, and opposition from the conservative forces in Christiania (Oslo) following his engagement with its bohemian circle in the mid-1880s. The film concentrates on Munch’s personal reactions to these events, enfolds them in the social and historical reality of the time, and shows how they directly affected the development of his style as a painter.

In parallel to his work as a filmmaker, Peter Watkins analysed and challenged for over four decades the widely accepted escalation of the standardised pictorial and narrative form of Hollywood within all forms of contemporary audiovisual communication, including modern internet technology. The artist Edvard Munch is often referred to as a ‘modern’ artist, but – Watkins asks – how are we to define ‘modernism’ in the broadest sense, in a world that idolises manipulative audiovisual forms which encourage mass consumerism, political passivity, and escalating environmental disaster?

For press inquiries and to obtain press images, please contact Petter Dotterud Anthun, OCA’s Information and Web Manager. For Italian press, please contact Giorgia Gallina at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa’s press office.

‘Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation’ will take place from 31 May to 22 September 2013 at Galleria di Piazza San Marco of Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa. This exhibition in its entirety has been commissioned and funded by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) in cooperation and with the generous support of Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice and its Board. Additional support is provided by Fritt Ord – the Freedom of Expression Foundation, Oslo. Lene Berg’s film is produced by Studio Fjordholm AS, and made possible with the additional support of NFI, the Norwegian Film Institute – Film commissioner: Åse Meyer, Norsk Kulturråd/Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lyd og Bilde/Audio and Visual Fund, Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Norwegian Visual Artists Remuneration Fund.


* Access to the Pavilion Press and Professional Previews will require the appropriate official accreditations. Please email Maria Moseng if you have any enquiries.

Background image: Edvard Munch: Samfundslære, årsak og virkning (Social Studies, Cause and Effect) © Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen gruppen/ BONO, Oslo 2013

2013/03/07

Mohamed Ali Fadlabi, Anawana Haloba, Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle at the Sharjah Biennial 11

Still from The Goodness Regime by Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle, 2013.
Courtesy of the artists

OCA ANNOUNCES

the participation of Mohamed Ali Fadlabi, Anawana Haloba, Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle at the Sharjah Biennial 11: ‘Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography’

Curator: Yuko Hasegawa
Exhibition Dates: 13 March–13 May 2013
Press Conference: Tuesday 12 March / 10:00

Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

According to the organisers, in 'Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography', curator Yuko Hasegawa proposes a Biennial that ‘reassess the Westerncentrism of knowledge in modern times and reconsiders the relationship between the Arab world, Asia, the Far East, through North Africa and Latin America’. Hasegawa was inspired by the courtyard in Islamic architecture, in particular the historical courtyards of Sharjah, where ‘elements of both public and private life intertwine, and where the objective political world and the introspective subjective space intersect and cross over. Within the network of intensifying international and globalising links, the courtyard as an experiential and experimental space comes to mirror something of Sharjah as a vital zone of creativity, transmission, and transformation'. For the Sharjah Biennial 11, Hasegawa has selected more than one hundred artists, architects, filmmakers, musicians and performers whose artworks and practices resonate with strands of the curatorial theme: 'the complexity and diversity of cultures and societies; spatial and political relations; notions of new forms of contact, dialogue, and exchange and production through art and architectural practices of new ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling'.

Within this context, Mohamed Ali Fadlabi will present the installation project The Prediction Machine, commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. While maintaining its roots in African culture, the work is ‘tempered by irony and postcolonial theoretical discourse as the artist seeks to seduce the viewer with a series of culturally defunct frames of reference’. Telling stories of saints and superheroes, The Prediction Machine references Ethiopian church paintings, African barber salon art, Sun Ra’s afrofuturism, retrofuturism and music. The work questions Western norms in art, the meaning of Europe today and the persistent division between what is designated the West and the non-West.

In her project titled This and Many More?, Anawana Haloba explores conflicts that occurred during periods of colonisation and resistance, looking at how such conflicts affected approaches to development. Haloba reenacts events, such as the 1930 Salt March led by Mahatma Gandhi in India, via gestures and narratives that allow the viewer to approach history from a different vantage point, creating links between past and present conflicts. The installation unfolds over two sections. In the first are four barrels cast from polyester, fiberglass and metal dust. Each barrel widens at the top to create a large flat surface that functions as a screen, onto which four videos are projected. The second section is a brightly lit white cube gallery in which stands a heap of coarse salt, 150 kilos in weight, and around which people can sit. The work has been commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation. 

Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle will participate in the  Sharjah Biennial 11 with a documentary titled The Goodness Regime, exploring the image of Norway as a country of peace and benevolence. Archival footage of political speeches and clips from Hollywood films are woven together with a series of enactments by children, in which they recount the myths, historical events and cultural personae that have propelled the understanding of this Scandinavian nation. In a satirical deconstruction of the 'goodness regime', the artists explore the past moral dilemmas of one of the wealthiest countries on Earth.

For press inquiries and more information on this announcement, please contact Maitha Al Jassim, Public and Media Relations Officer, Sharjah Art Foundation.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mohamed Ali Fadlabi
(b.1975 in Omdurman, Sudan, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) graduated from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. He works primarily with painting, performance and text. Living in Norway since 2003, his work maintains its roots in African culture, tempered by irony and postcolonial theoretical discourse. In 2008, he founded the gallery One Night Only in Oslo. His work has been shown at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo; Kunsthall Oslo; Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo; UKS (Young Artists Society), Oslo, and at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, among others.

Anawana Haloba (b.1978 in Livingstone, Zambia, lives and works in Oslo) is a graduate of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She explores the positions of different communities within varied political, social, economic and cultural contexts, which she then abstracts into performance-based works incorporating moving images, objects and sound. Haloba’s work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions, including the Rauma Biennale, Finland; ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany; Museum Berardo Collection, Lisbon, Portugal; la Biennale di Venezia, 2009; Sydney Biennale, Australia; Manifesta 7, Bolzano, Italy and the Sharjah Biennial 08.

Jumana Manna (b.1987 in Princeton, NJ, USA, lives and works in Berlin, Germany) holds an MA in Aesthetics and Politics from CalArts, Los Angeles, CA, USA and a BFA from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norway. Working primarily with video and sculpture, Manna explores the construction of identity in relation to historical narratives and uncertain states of contemporary communities. In her sculptural practice, she employs a language of minimalism and abstraction to reformulate familiar objects into a state of ambiguity, navigating between negation and seduction. In 2012, Manna was awarded the Young Palestinian Artist of the Year Award sponsored by the A. M. Qattan Foundation for her short film A Sketch of Manners (Alfred Roch’s Last Masquerade).

Sille Storihle (b.1985 in Tromsø, Norway, lives and works in Oslo) holds an MA in Critical Studies from CalArts, Los Angeles, CA, USA, and a BFA from the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norway. Storihle’s research-based practice takes form primarily in publications, happenings and films. Concerned with the phantasmagoria of history, gender politics and the disputed position of knowledge production within the arts, her collaborative investigations seek to complicate seemingly smooth narratives of collectivity in the past and present. With artist Liv Bugge, she runs FRANK, a salon to build community, present contemporary art and generate discussions addressing hegemonic structures in society relating to gender, sexuality and desire.

ABOUT THE SHARJAH BIENNIAL AND THE SHARJAH ART FOUNDATION
Since its inception in 1993, the Sharjah Biennial has formed a cultural bridge between artists, art institutions and organisations locally, regionally and internationally. The eight-week Biennial consists of various components from its primary exhibitions of visual art, film, music, and performance, to seminars for artists and art professionals and workshops for students and families. The Sharjah Art Foundation brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates and the region. Since 2009, SAF has built on the history of cultural collaboration and exchange that began with the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993. Working with local and international partners, SAF creates opportunities for artists and artistic production through its core initiatives, including the Sharjah Biennial, the annual March Meeting, residencies, production grants, commissions, exhibitions, research, publications, and a growing collection. The Sharjah Art Foundation is funded by the Department of Culture and Information, Government of Sharjah.

Mohamed Ali Fadlabi, Anawana Haloba, Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle’s participation at the Sharjah Biennial 11 has been supported by OCA’s International Support Programme.

ABOUT OFFICE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART NORWAY
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a foundation created by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in autumn 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a key contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.

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2013/03/05

Steinar Haga Kristensen at Etablissement d’en Face Projects in Brussels

Steinar Haga Kristensen, Tweemaal door de Blinden 01#
- Der Schließmuskel funktioniert nicht mehr 47#
, 2013.
Courtesy of the artist

OCA ANNOUNCES

‘Two times through the blind, exhibitions on the collaboration between the dark forces of the id and the social-economic perversion of the real’

A Solo Exhibition by Steinar Haga Kristensen
at Etablissement d’en Face Projects in Brussels, Belgium

Curator: Margot Vanheusden

Exhibition Dates: 9 March–21 April 2012
Opening Reception: Friday 8 March / 19:00

Steinar Haga Kristensen's installations and montages contain diverse artistic gestures, ranging from event-scores, sculpture and painting to video, performance and telepathic investigation. For his first solo exhibition in Belgium, 'Two times through the blind, exhibitions on the collaboration between the dark forces of the id and the social-economic perversion of the real’, Haga Kristensen has created an installation that runs over the two floors of the gallery space in the form of what curator Margot Vanheusden calls a 'domestic upholstered labyrinthine pavilion'. She describes the exhibition as a series of large-scale wall carpets that 'make up a life-sized interior scene, staging a satirical collaboration between consumerist over-production and the dark forces of the id'.

For press inquiries and more information on this announcement, please contact ets_den_face@skynet.be.

About the artist
Steinar Haga Kristensen (b.1980 in Oslo, Norway, lives and works in Oslo) studied at the National Academy of Art, Oslo, Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, Austria, and at the Sydney College of Art, Australia. Among his recent exhibitions are Kunsthall Oslo, Oslo; CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania; WIELS, Brussels and Witte de With, The Netherlands. Together with Sverre Gullesen and Kristian Øverland Dahl, he is one of the founding members of Gallery D.O.R. that was located in Brussels from 2010 to 2012.

OCA Support
Steinar Haga Kristensen’s 
solo exhibition at Etablissement d’en Face Projects is supported by OCA's International Support Programme. 




Office for Contemporary Art Norway
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a foundation created by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in autumn 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a key contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.

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