Press Releases

Anne Szefer Karlsen, Toril Johannessen and Arne Skaug Olsen at the Biennale Bénin 2012

Published 2012/11/05

Toril Johannessen, Ten Years of Progress
vs Development in the World
Courtesy of the artist


Curator Anne Szefer Karlsen and artists Toril Johannessen and Arne Skaug Olsen at the Biennale Bénin 2012

Artistic Director: Abdellah Karroum
Special Projects Associated Curator: Didier Houenoude
Encounters and Research Programme Associate Curators: Anne Szefer Karlsen, Olivier Marboeuf and Claire Tancons

Exhibition Dates: 8 November 2012–13 January 2013
Opening Reception: Thursday 8 November, 18:00

According to the organisers, the Biennale Bénin 2012 ‘interrogates the notion of the artist as citizen in its active, social, and aesthetic dimensions ‘by observing the expressive forms of the contemporary era, on the African continent and elsewhere, and that of the “Generation 00” in the transition to the 21st century’. In dialogue with the cultural scene of Benin, the international exhibition ‘Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen’, brings together existing artworks and new projects produced for the exhibition. Whereas ‘the new productions respond directly to the question of the “artist as citizen,” the existing artworks selected by the curatorial delegation interrogate the context of the exhibition and broader international artistic tendencies in order to consider both how they are formulated by the artists and the terms of their presentation’. Toril Johannessen has been invited to the international exhibition to present her work Words and Years (2010–11), a series of graphs based on research in various academic journals and news magazines. Going through the complete volumes of the journals from the first issues up until today, selected words are highlighted and the frequency of their use is mapped. For this exhibition that is held at the former supermarket Centre Kora, the artist has made large poster versions of the silkscreen prints. A new work in the series, Ten Years of Progress vs Development in the World, has been produced especially for the exhibition in Bénin. Anne Szefer Karlsen is part of the curatorial team for ‘Encounter and Research’. Led by artists and professionals, the programme aims ‘to position the Biennale Bénin in the continuity of citizen-oriented activities that contribute to developing the local artistic scene and its transcontinental links. Together with Szefer Karlsen, Arne Skaug Olsen has been invited to contribute to the discussions around art and education in the series ‘Recovering an art school’ in the section of the biennial titled ‘Encounters of Oceans and Seas’ from 4 to 7 November 2012.

For press inquiries and more information on this announcement, please contact Biennale Bénin's press officer Catherine Phillipot.

Anne Szefer Karlsen is a curator, writer, and the Director of Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen. In addition to series of exhibitions and seminars for the Hordaland Art Centre, as well as further developing its residency programme, she has curated exhibitions for art spaces such as Bergen Art Museum, Bergen, L’appartement 22, Rabat, Morocco and Oslo Fine Art Society, Oslo, Norway. She has edited Collected art criticisms by Erlend Hammer (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2008), co-edited Lokalisert/Localised with Arne Skaug Olsen and Morten Kvamme (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2009) and Self-Organised with Stine Hebert (Open Editions/Hordaland Art Centre 2012). Szefer Karlsen has been appointed as a curator for Lofoten International Art Festival – LIAF 2013 together with Bassam el Baroni and Eva González-Sancho.

Toril Johannessen holds a BA and MA from the Bergen National Academy of Arts and was trained from the Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles, CA, USA. She was one of the participating artists in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). Her work has been presented at Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Bergen Art Museum; CSA Space, Vancouver, Canada and INCA, Detroit, MI, USA, among others.

Arne Skaug Olsen is an artist, art critic, curator and publisher. He graduated from the Oslo National Academy of The Arts and the Bergen National Academy of The Arts, where he holds a BA in photography and MA in photography and curating. As an artist he has exhibited at the Bergen Art Museum; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo and Fotogalleriet, Oslo. He has edited Lokalisert/Localised with Anne Szefer Karlsen and Morten Kvamme (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2009) and We Who Feel Differently by Carlos Motta (Ctrl+Z Publishing). Curatorial projects include ‘We Who Feel Differently’, Gallery USF, Bergen and Torpedo Books, Oslo and ‘General Mold. Future Ashes’, Gallery USF, Bergen.

About O3–funds
Anne Szefer Karlsen, Toril Johannessen and Arne Skaug Olsen’s participation at the Biennale Bénin 2012: ‘Inventing World: The Artist as Citizen’ is supported by O3–funds as underwritten by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for enhancing collaboration in the contemporary art field with professional artists in countries designated by the MFA. The purpose of the O3–funds as allocated to OCA is to contribute to the development of the work of artists, independent cultural producers and organisations located in designated countries. This includes but is not limited to 'professional research visits by cultural producers, artists, and curators', 'short-term residencies for cultural producers and artists', 'seminars, conferences, art projects, workshops that focus on the further development of professional exchange and networking between and among countries', and 'project development on an international scale'.