News : 2016/02

2016/02/29

‘Our Heritage Was Left To Us Without A Testament— Or Is It The Other Way Around?’: Lecture by Rebecca Comay

OCA ANNOUNCES

Our Heritage Was Left To Us Without A Testament— Or Is It The Other Way Around?’

A lecture by Rebecca Comay within the programme ‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’

Monday, 29 February 2016 / 19:00
Live audio streaming

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo
www.oca.no I info@oca.no

OCA is pleased to announce the lecture Our Heritage Was Left To Us Without A Testament — Or Is It The Other Way Around?’ by Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature and Director of the Programme in Literary Studies at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada, Rebecca Comay. The lecture is part of 'The Promise and Compromise of Translation', a four-day platform of reading groups and lectures taking place during winter and autumn 2016 that is dedicated to the seminal theorist Walter Benjamin (1892–1940).

About the lecture
Our Heritage Was Left To Us Without A Testament. Hannah Arendt repeatedly borrows this formula (from René Char) to capture what she takes to be the predicament of revolutionary modernity. Without a testament, without any symbolic means of transmitting the event, there is no way to bequeath the ‘treasure’ to future generations – no way to harvest its energy, to prolong its impact, or even to bear witness to what happened. The heritage of the revolution remains as inaccessible as a buried treasure left to us without map, navigation tools, or operating instructions. Here’s the thought experiment Comay would like to explore: what if Char’s formula needs to be reversed? What if the predicament is not intestacy, as Arendt suggests, but rather a kind of hyper-testamentarity – not a deficit but a surfeit of testamentary protocol? It is not that the thread has been broken and the family jewels scattered and inaccessible. On the contrary: we are overwhelmed by a surfeit of testamentary material. The past confronts us as a thicket of imperatives, injunctions, promises, exhortations, incitements, excitations – obscure messages from the dead, unsigned and undated but nonetheless time-stamped and indelibly addressed to us. What if the testament itself were the heritage – or rather, if there were no heritage, no patrimonial estate to settle, but only the pressure of a demand as enigmatic as it is insistent? It’s in this sense that Benjamin will speak, in the second Thesis on History, of a secret covenant, agreement, rendezvous, assignation or appointment between the dead and the living. This talk will explore some of the manifestations of this testamentary excess in Benjamin’s writings on history.

About the speaker
Rebecca Comay is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature and the Director of the Program in Literary Studies at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Tomorrow, on Tuesday 1 March 2016 at 19:00 Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of California, Riverside, CA, USA, Jeffrey Sacks will give a lecture at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO). This is the second lecture within ‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’. Click here for more information about the programme.


Please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Hassel for more information.



ABOUT OCA'S ‘NOTATIONS’
‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ is part of OCA’s continuous programme ‘Notations’. OCA's ‘Notations' unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that explore the desire for the institution to reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action.

2016/02/29

‘Partaking: Language in Benjamin’: Lecture by Jeffrey Sacks at KHiO

OCA ANNOUNCES

'Partaking: Language in Benjamin'

A lecture by Jeffrey Sacks within the programme ‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’

Tonight:
Tuesday, 1 March 2016 / 19:00

Venue:
Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO)
Fossveien 2, 0551 Oslo
khio.no

OCA is pleased to announce the lecture ‘Partaking: Language in Benjamin’ by Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of California, Riverside, CA, USA, Jeffrey Sacks. The lecture is part of ‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’, a four-day platform of reading groups and lectures taking place during winter and autumn 2016 organised by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO). The programme is dedicated to the seminal theorist Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) who championed a new language for the critique and understanding of the arts in their relation to philosophy and history.

‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ aims at discussing translatability and to traverse core Benjaminian themes of language, violence and history. The first session during February and March 2016 will focus on language (from ‘The Task of the Translator’, 1923) and the ‘Tradition of the Oppressed’ (from the 'Theses on the Concept of History', 1940). While the autumn session will be specifically dedicated to translation as such, closely working in focused groups around specific texts on questions of translation in Sami, Norwegian and Arabic. Click here for more information about the programme.


About tonight's lecture by Jeffrey Sacks
Walter Benjamin has taught us to think newly, and again and again, about language. This paper reads what Benjamin called ‘partaking’ and ‘gesture’ in relation to the forms of language control compelled in colonial-philological language practices. Drawing upon his essays on language, translation, and the law, this paper traces the ways in which language, in Benjamin, rather than a gathering of sense, becomes a scene for the dislocation and disruption of relation: where language becomes translation, and where translation is no longer the sanctioned, controlled relay of meaning.

About the Speaker
Jeffrey Sacks is Associate Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Iterations of Loss: Mutilation and Aesthetic Form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish (Fordham UP, 2015), and has translated a volume of poetry by Mahmoud Darwish, Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? (Archipelago, 2006). He is presently writing two books: For Decolonization: the Lyric Poem and the Question of Palestine, and Simplicities: A Colonial Archive.


For more information, please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Hassel.

About the Academy of Fine Art
As part of Oslo National Academy of the Arts, the Academy of Fine Art is Norway's leading institution of higher education in contemporary art. The Academy work across media, disciplines and approaches, exploring questions of form and material as well as post-conceptual, social and political issues on a variety of platforms.

ABOUT OCA'S NOTATIONS
‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ is part of OCA’s continuous programme Notations. OCA's ‘Notations' unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that explore the desire for the institution to reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action.

2016/02/23

Mats Stjernstedt to curate the Nordic Pavilion in 2017

Mats Stjernstedt. Photo: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet

OCA ANNOUNCES

The partnership between Finland, Norway and Sweden will be resumed for the next three art biennials in Venice.

For the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2017, the partners’ principal commissioner, Sweden’s Moderna Museet, has appointed Mats Stjernstedt to curate the Nordic Pavilion.


Office for Contemporary Art Norway 

Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo 

www.oca.no I info@oca.no

Mats Stjernstedt will curate the joint exhibition of Finland, Norway and Sweden in the Nordic Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2017. The exhibition marks the rejuvenation of the Nordic collaboration between the three countries.

The commissioners of the art exhibitions in the Nordic Pavilion in Venice – Finland, Norway and Sweden – have agreed on the guidelines for their collaboration on the next three biennials. The art in the Nordic Pavilion will be presented as a joint project, where the three countries are represented on equal terms. As before, the countries will take turns as principal commissioner and manager of activities at the Nordic Pavilion as follows:

2017: Moderna Museet, Sweden
2019: Frame Visual Art Finland, Finland
2021: Office for Contemporary Art (OCA), Norway

Moderna Museet has thus appointed Mats Stjernstedt to curate the Nordic Pavilion in 2017. Stjernstedt is the artistic director of Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo since 2011. He has curated numerous exhibitions internationally over the years.

We are excited to have Mats Stjernstedt as the curator for the Nordic Pavilion in 2017. He is known to highlight the essential and interesting aspects of our time and to be a genuinely outstanding curator with a vast knowledge of the contemporary art scene, especially in the Nordic region. We are also very happy to have a joint venture again with our neighbours Norway and Finland, and are looking forward to this true Nordic cooperation, says Ann-Sofi Noring, co-director of Moderna Museet and commissioner of the Nordic Pavilion in 2017.

Being asked to assemble an exhibition for the Nordic Pavilion is an honour and a challenge. I appreciate being entrusted this assignment and look forward to combining my experience with research over the next few months. I also look forward to presenting interesting artists who are active in the Nordic countries, within the compelling framework of La Biennale di Venezia, says Mats Stjernstedt.


About the joint commissioning 2017–2021
Regarding the joint commissioning OCA’s Director Katya García-Antón comments: We are delighted to imagine the future possibilities that this new articulation of collaboration between the Nordic Pavilion partners harbours, and wish Mats Stjernstedt well in this inaugural edition. The history of Nordic collaborations has been a fruitful one, punctuated as all relationships are by challenges that demand a creative address. OCA looks forward to dynamic thinking regarding how this tradition can be renewed for the 21 st century addressing the new complexities of the region, the constant process of redefinition that they embody, and the novel relationship with the communities within and beyond the region that they entails.

I am really delighted that Norway, Sweden and Finland are now restarting their collaboration in the Nordic Pavilion with the lead of Mats Stjernstedt. The joint exhibitions in one of the most closely followed pavilions of the Venice Biennale will offer fantastic opportunities both for the Nordic artists and the other art professionals involved in the project,
says Raija Koli, Director of Frame Visual Art Finland.


For further information on the collaboration,
please contact OCA's Communications Manager Tara Hassel on +47 90 080554 or tara.hassel@oca.no

For press images, please see:
Moderna Museet Press

About Mats Stjernstedt
Mats Stjernstedt, born in Gävle, Sweden in 1968, is currently the artistic director of Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway. He was the head of Index – the Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm in 2001-2009. Stjernstedt studied art history at Lund University, Sweden, and has curated countless exhibitions and projects since the mid-1990s. Under his leadership, Kunstnernes Hus has presented artists such as Hans-Peter Feldmann, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, David Lamelas, Elise Storsveen & Jon Gundersen, Marianne Heier and Lars Laumann, (all exhibitions, co-curation Ida Kierulf) to name but a few. His international assignments include 'Harun Farocki: 7 Films' (Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia, 2013), 'Dora Garcia: I am a Judge' (Kunsthalle Bern, 2010), 'Maria Lindberg. Run Like Hell', (Turku Art Museum, 2009) and 'Annika Eriksson' (Dak’Art:African Contemporary Art Biennale, Dakar, 2008). Stjernstedt has also been an art critic for Aftonbladet, ArtForum, Flash Art and Art + Text.

About the Nordic Pavilion
In 1958 Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn (1924–2009) won the competition to design the Nordic Pavilion for the Venice Biennial. The building was completed in 1962 and has since been a space for collaboration between three nations – Sweden, Finland and Norway. Built on a plot between the pavilions of the United States and Denmark, it is situated in the Biennale grounds at Giardini in Venice. For the last three biennials of 2011, 2013 and 2015, a format was developed which involved the solo commissioning by each country of a project. For the period 2017-2021 the agreement entailing that all three countries are represented on equal terms, will be resumed.

OCA
Moderna Museet
Frame
La Biennale di Venezia

2016/02/19

`The Promise and Compromise of Translation’

Norsk versjon

OCA ANNOUNCES
The Promise and Compromise of Translation

A project led by Sami Khatib together with Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili

Initiated through the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO)

Monday 29 FebruaryTuesday 1 March 2016

Reading groups: 14:00–18:00
Keynote lectures: 19:00
Receptions to follow keynote lecture at OCA

Office for Contemporary Art Norway 

Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo 

www.oca.no I info@oca.no

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO), is pleased to announce ‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’, a four day platform of reading groups and lectures taking place in Oslo during winter and autumn 2016. The programme is dedicated to the seminal theorist Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) who championed a new language within philosophy, interlocking his writings on language, history and the arts with the partisan perspective of the ‘tradition of the oppressed’. Against the conformism of his contemporaries, his ‘untimely’ political aesthetics and materialist concept of history aimed at a redemptive interruption of modernity’s idea of progress.

Despite his belated reception, today Benjamin has arrived in the pantheon of global humanities. His writings belong to the canon of Modern European philosophy, art theory and literary criticism. But can this academic appropriation of Benjamin’s thought do justice to his ‘critical life’ and to the ‘tradition of the oppressed’ that his writings invoke? Given the new spinning role of the humanities in today’s neo-liberal capitalism, a merely academic discourse on Benjamin does violence to his thought.

With painful prescience, Benjamin, the essayist, philosopher and translator, authored the landmark essay ‘Critique of Violence’ (1921), in which he vigorously exposed the violence of the modern state and its jurisdiction, legislation, and executive forces undeniably projecting so relevantly in today’s belligerence of war across the globe with the expounding role played by the statehood formation derived from the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. For the early Benjamin, it was clear that there was ‘something rotten in the law’ – be it the law of monarchy, ‘normal’ democracy or autocratic regimes. From Benjamin’s perspective of a radical critique of violence, justice and the law of the state remain irreconcilable.

Spanning sessions over four days, ‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ aims at discussing translatability and to traverse core Benjaminian themes of language, violence and history by focusing on pure language (from ‘The Task of the Translator’, 1923) and the ‘Tradition of the Oppressed’ (from the 'Theses on the Concept of History', 1940).

‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ is a project led by German-Palestinian philosopher Sami Khatib, together with Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili, initiated through the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Art (KHiO). This workshop, which is articulated through two interrelated sessions in Oslo during winter and autumn 2016, is inspired by a larger project dedicated to Benjamin and the politics of translation. The international workshop and conference ‘Benjamin in Palestine: On the Place and Non-Place of Radical Thought’, took place in December 2015 in Ramallah at the International Academy of Art Palestine and Birzeit University. It was organised and attended by a number of highly reputed Benjamin scholars, critical theorists, activists and artists from the Middle East, Europe and North America. The event in Oslo will focus on questions related to translations of Benjamin’s writings in Sami, Norwegian and Arabic.

Sami Khatib noted that ‘The constellation of Benjamin, Palestine and Oslo is not arbitrarily chosen. For the legibility of Benjamin’s oeuvre is not a given – it is bound to the time and place of both the text and its reader. Revisiting the debates from Ramallah in Oslo also means to acknowledge a (post)historical deadlock that connects Benjamin's belated readers with the untranslatability of struggles in the Middle East and Europe.’

PROGRAMME

Monday 29 February

Text: ‘Task of the Translator’

13:00–13:45 Lunch
13:45–14:00 Introduction by guest speaker Rebecca Comay
14:00–18:00 Reading group led by Sami Khatib and moderated by Mike Sperlinger

19:00–19:10 Public address by Katya García-Antón
19:10–20:10 Lecture by Rebecca Comay
20:10–20:30 Q&A with Sami Khatib
Link to live streaming of lecture:oca.no/programme/live

Venue: Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Nedre gate 7

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Text: ‘Tradition of the Oppressed’

13:00–13:45 Lunch
13:45–14:00 Introduction by guest speaker Jeffrey Sacks
14:00–18:00 Reading group led by Sami Khatib and moderated by Rike Frank

Venue: Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo

19:00–19:10 Introduction by Vanessa Ohlraun
19:10–20:10 Lecture by Jeffrey Sacks
20:10–20:30 Q&A with Sami Khatib

Venue: Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO), Fossveien 2, 0551 Oslo

The dates of the second session taking place in the autumn will be announced over the summer.

‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ is addressed to scholars, philosophers, artists practitioners and professionals who want to engage in in a discussion on geopolitical and societal issues affecting the world today. The lectures are open to everyone, while the reading group sessions will require registration. To register, please send an e-mail to info@oca.no with ‘Reading group’ and the date in the subject field by Friday 26 February 2016. For more information, please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Hassel.

About the speakers and moderators

Rebecca Comay is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature and the Director of the Program in Literary Studies at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Rike Frank is a curator and researcher based in Berlin and Oslo, and Associate Professor of Exhibition Studies at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo.

Sami R. Khatib is a philosopher, critical theory scholar and currently Postdoctoral Fellow at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Jeffrey Sacks is Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of California, Riverside, CA, USA.

Mike Sperlinger is Professor of Writing and Theory at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo and previously co-director of Lux, an organisation for artists working with the moving image.

About ‘Benjamin in Palestine: On the Place and Non-Place of Radical Thought’
Organised by Benjamin scholars, critical theorists, activists and artists from the Middle East, Europe and North America ‘Benjamin in Palestine’ was an event with three main components, all taking place in Ramallah in December 2015: an opening event on 6 December at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center; a three day reading workshop on Benjamin’s writings at the International Academy of Art from 7–9 December; and an international conference from 9–11 December at Birzeit University and Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center. The conference programme included lectures and presentations by distinguished international scholars from the fields of Benjamin studies and critical theory, among others Susan Buck-Morss, Rebecca Comay, Slavoj Žižek and Judith Butler.

As the organisers have stated, 'The international conference and workshop in 2015 was part of the attempt to break the de facto cultural and academic boycott of Palestine, implemented and enforced by the occupation regime and its multi-layered web of checkpoints, territorial zones and other juridical-administrative measures. It was an intervention into ongoing debates on occupation, statehood, theocracy, binationalism, and anti-colonial struggles for liberation. If in Benjamin’s heterodox Marxism the different strands of Jewish messianic and libertarian-utopian thought form a relationship of ‘elective affinity’ (Michael Löwy), his name and legacy invoke a constant appeal against the arrogance of any state power and representations of victors’ history. In this vein, Benjamin’s texts not only speak to the international community of Benjamin scholars and critical theorists but also to political struggles in Palestine.'

About the Academy of Fine Art
As part of Oslo National Academy of the Arts, the Academy of Fine Art is Norway's leading institution of higher education in contemporary art. The Academy work across media, disciplines and approaches, exploring questions of form and material as well as post-conceptual, social and political issues on a variety of platforms.


ABOUT OCA'S
‘NOTATIONS’
‘The Promise and Compromise of Translation’ is part of OCA’s continuous programme ‘Notations’. OCA's ‘Notations' unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that explore the desire for the institution to reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action.

2016/02/16

Invitation to the launch of the OCA Tromsø office

OCA ANNOUNCES

Launch of the OCA Tromsø office

Poetry recital by Synnøve Persen
Introduction by Katya García-Antón and Antonio Cataldo
DJ Per Martinsen (Mental Overdrive)

Friday, 26 February 2016 / 19:00–23:00

RSVP to info@oca.no by 24 February

Troms County Cultural Centre
Strandvegen 95
Tromsø

www.oca.no

OCA has the pleasure to invite you to a reception celebrating the launch of the OCA office in Tromsø during 2016, under the auspices of The Cultural Business Development Foundation SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge. The reception will be held at the Troms County Cultural Center on Friday, 26 February at 19:00.

The launch of a satellite office in Tromsø is an integral element of OCA ́s new, two-year programme titled ‘Thinking at the Edge of the World. Perspectives from the North’. It also builds upon the positive experience from OCA´s Pop-Ups around Norway (including those held in Tromsø and Kirkenes in October 2014, in collaboration with Northern Norway Art Museum and Pikene på Broen respectively).

‘Thinking at the Edge of the World. Perspectives from the North’ (2016–17) includes in-depth research trips, as well as a programme of lectures, workshops, writing and art commissioning, residencies and publications focusing on the North of Norway. The aim is to contribute to highlighting the global pertinence of the region's rich and diverse intellectual activity, past and present, as well as its place in a locally rooted internationally relevant future. Having a base in Tromsø will allow OCA to deepen the exchange with regional protagonists, as well as facilitate discussions and future partnerships. Click here to read more about the programme.

The reception is open to all. Snacks and drinks are provided. Limited capacity. Entry is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please RSVP to info@oca.no by 24 February.

For press enquiries, please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Hassel.


ABOUT OFFICE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART NORWAY (OCA) 

OCA is a foundation created by the Norwegian Ministries of Culture and of Foreign Affairs in 2001 with the aim of developing cultural collaborations between Norway and the international arts scene. OCA aims to become one of the main organs in the international contemporary arts debate through initiatives such as exhibitions, seminars and publications, as well as by providing support to Norwegian artists for their activities in the international art arena, and by inviting international curators and artists to Norway. OCA has been responsible for Norway's contribution to the visual arts section of La Biennale di Venezia since 2001.

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2016/02/02

The Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art

The Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art was initiated and developed by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) in 2004–05 under the directorship of Ute Meta Bauer. The aim was to enhance exchange in international contemporary art and highlight the importance and on-going influence of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944).

The award was presented for the first time by HRH Queen Sonja of Norway to the Indian artist and film-maker Amar Kanwar on 27 April 2005. Kanwar was selected by Ute Meta Bauer and the members of the International Board of OCA, consisting of Director and Chief curator of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Susanne Ghez; Research professor at the University of Lund, Sarat Maharaj; and Director of The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Sune Nordgren. The prize included a grant of 350 000 NOK and a six-month residency at the Munch estate Ekely in Oslo, and was the highest prize for international contemporary art given in Norway at the time. The grant was intended to support the development of a new work and to cover living expenses during the residency.

On 14 November 2006 HRH Queen Sonja of Norway presented the award on behalf of OCA for the second time. The recipient was the German artist, writer and curator Alice Creischer. She was selected by an international jury including Artistic Director for Documenta 12 in Kassel, Roger Buergel; Curator at the Dia Art Foundation in New York, NY, Lynne Cooke; Co-editor of Frieze Germany, Jörg Heiser; OCA Director Marta Kuzma; Chief Curator of Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Bartomeu Mari; and Director of Wiels, Brussels, Dirk Snauwaert.

In 2015, The Munch Museum launched The Edvard Munch Art Award. According to the museum, The Edvard Munch Art Award is an acknowledgement of Edvard Munch's historical significance and enduring relevance to contemporary culture. The Award shall contribute to promote the development of outstanding international talents in the field visual arts. The Award will be given to an emerging visual artist, no older than 40 years of age, who has demonstrated exceptional talent within the last five years. The Award consists of a prize of 500,000 NOK, which is paid directly to the recipient. It also includes a solo exhibition of the recipient's work at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.

The Edvard Munch Art Award is owned, managed and administrated by the Munch Museum. The Director of the Munch Museum appoints the jury, which is international and consists of five highly acclaimed persons with profound knowledge of contemporary art. The first Award was presented in 2015, to the French artist Camille Henrot. The Munch Museum is proud to include Camille Henrot on this list of artists who have contributed to mark Edvard Munch’s significance for contemporary art.’

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