On November 30, we’re celebrating the launch of our new magazine with a talkshow hosted by Amir Asgharnejad. The evening’s guests are Sandra Mujinga, Geir Tore Holm and Marthe Ramm Fortun. With a special appearance by Kirsty Kross.
“If there’s a crisis in art criticism, it might pertain to what and how to say something about art, or why say anything at all. We want to spark conversations less constipated by art speak and pompous analysis. More like a creative diarrhea.”
Free entrance! Everyone is welcome! Magazine for sale, 50NOKs only!
• In our first issue we’re reporting from documenta14 in Athens:
We arrived late last night. Today we go looking for the Acropolis.
• Several sami artists traveled to documenta as well. We interviewed Geir Tore Holm to learn more:
How to be a sami artist – Street art or vegetable farming?
• Agatha Wara reflects on new beginnings:
• We asked several painters to describe How to make a painting. Henrik Olai Kaarstein:
Concerning breaks, when I need to use the toilet I always flush early, wanting my last drop of urine to be in synch with the last pull of water going down.
Heartfelt thanks to: Goro Tronsmo, Jennie Hagevik Bringaker, Christopher Rogne Helberg, Tor Erik Bøe, Charlie Roberts, Anders Braathen, SentralenMat, Martin Skauen, Tove Sivertsen, Agatha Wara, Marianne Hurum, Henrik Kaarstein, Zadie Xa, Nathalie Fucia Sanchez, Geir Tore Holm, Maret Anne Sara, Kim Erlandsen. Special thanks to the Arts Council Norway for generous support!
Vi ser på kunst is edited by Andreas Breivik and Victoria Duffee
Victoria is an American artist based in Oslo. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC and is now an MFA candidate at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited in Oslo, New York City and Los Angeles, as well as at Yale University in Connecticut.
Andreas is a writer and critic, educated in aesthetics and comparative literature at UiO and UCLA.
Vi ser på kunst is designed by Sara Risvaag
Sara is a graphic designer based in Oslo, with a BA in graphic design from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague.
Last week we visited Athens just in time to catch the final days of this year’s mega exhibition documenta14. We hardly knew any of the artists in the show, and we were a bit afraid that the ones we had come to see had already been moved to Kassel. Because Kassel, a small German town, is usually where Documenta is happening every 5 years. But this year, artistic director Adam Szymczyk, decided to divide the exhibition between the two cities, giving documenta14 the title “Learning from Athens”. In the exhibition catalog, Szymczyk explains how Athens is a city “that has become emblematic of global contemporary crises”, in terms of economy, neo-liberal politics, and the countless refugees daily arriving in Greece. Another text in the catalog is the poem “To the Reader” by Mahmoud Darwish. “O my reader”, he writes, “do not ask me to whisper / do not except musical delight.”, and we quickly figured that documenta14 was more about gloomy considerations and sombre topics than flashy visuals. But what might we learn from a city in distress? Can an art exhibition do anything to the better, or does it risk becoming an instance of “crisis tourism” as some locals would have it? Toiling through the tourist packed streets and un-air-conditioned venues of Athens, looking at each and every one of the artworks was a most demanding task. Nevertheless, we thought hard and looked closely at most of the works we encountered, and in the following weeks we will be presenting our findings in neat and uncomplicated articles.
Excuse me, is this the way to the authentic restaurant?
We have started our summer in Athens to look at this year’s big exhibition, Documenta 14. Yesterday, we paid a brief visit to the Acropolis, but the queue was long, and the weather was even warmer, so we chilled in a nearby shabby chic cafe, sipping iced Frappes instead. More about our visit to Athens later! For now, we thought we would share some summer study tips to fill your cozy days at the cabin, lonely nights in thunderstorms, hiding from drunk relatives, or lazy days at the beach.
I’ve been submerged in literature about the Holocaust lately. It’s not the most cheerful topic to bring to the barbecue party, but I recently saw the Italian writer and Auschwitz survivor, Primo Levi, referenced here and there. This quote in the essay Refugee Stasis at N+1, by Omar Robert Hamilton, quote caught my eye:
In every part of the world, wherever you begin by denying the fundamental liberties of mankind, and equality among people, you move toward the concentration camp system, and it is a road on which it is difficult to halt.
The quote is from Levi’s book If this is a man, where he’s describing his year in a labor camp by the Auschwitz, and I think there’s a lot of truth to what he is saying. When you set those wheels towards the concentration camp in motion, it becomes a matter of how to manage huge masses of people. This is not a question of moral, but one of logistics. Levi also wrote Truce, a of follow up where his travel back to his Italian hometown is the topic. Here, writes how Europe was in complete disarray after the war, with masses of people moving everywhere; prisoners, refugees, soldiers, politicians, VIPs, in a time marked by endless waiting, stillstand and coming to grips with the recent horrors.
Then it’s Anne Frank’s diary. I hadn’t read it before, and no one told me how this book is mostly about Anne fighting with her parents and the Van Daan’s, the other family in hiding. She’s kinda precocious, a trouble maker with a big mouth, and it’s not really a book about the war, or intense, dramatic scenes. Instead, it’s the story of a teenage girl, how she falls in love with Peter, getting her first period, and how she wants to study art history and become a journalist traveling to Paris and London. It ends very abruptly. There’s no hint of the police coming, but it just shuts down with another one of her entries about she learning to grow up, with out providing the dramatic suspense and relief of the Gestapo arrest. The end.
Because of the recent release of Twin Peaks season 3, I have been revisiting David Lynch. The last time I saw his movies I just let the scenes and textures of the film wash over me like abstraction or sunlight. Now I feel like being more analytical, no urge to be chill and let the art just be art. I feel like dissecting – this is probably because of the bubbling up of nightmare shit America is going through, the black lodge and mysterious creatures of evil are allegorical to violence and abuse. Obviously there was never an era of innocence, Lynch acknowledges the darkness and evil. Also I there are simple answers to things in the movies that dont seem to make any sense. Rite now, I´m talking about the 1997 film Lost Highway. I rewatched the movie and then found THE ART OF THE RIDICULOUS SUBLIME On David Lynch’s Lost Highway Slavoj Zizek. Its a piece of academic writing that, true to his style, is written in an academic style that is so extreme that it seems like a joke on the genre of text. Anyway, if you can sift through the wording its a great clarifying text on the movie and is a place to start in taking the Lynch collection seriously enough to reach out for reasons. this text can be used as a kind of rosetta stone to everything. He does a psychoanalytical read of the characters and he takes weird jumps that at first feel like flippant surrealism and proposes them as us the audience looking into their fantasies. The reading is also placed into the context of film history and Lynches statements on subject like the femme fatal in film since 1940s noir. There is also room for magic and force fields.
Last week I had the beginning of a root canal done. I went home and took a crazy nap. when I woke up I decided to watch what is considered to be Lynches weirdest movie The Straight Story in which Richard Farnsworth goes on a long haul drive on a lawn mower to visit his brother after a stroke. He cries with a fellow veteran about his accidental friendly fire in world war two. I love movies about elderly people. I love quixotic tales. So if you do too this is the film for you. It makes me sad because when people say make America great again, this is the America they might be referring to but this is a movie and even the sweetest old white man is still battling with the years he spent killing and fighting in a war.
Marthe Ramm Fortun has invited us to participate at the symposium “Write to See” on artist texts. There will be readings and a conversation about the language we use to talk about art. Are we speaking clearly?
More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/298488963927443/
Write to See; a symposium on artist texts
Galleri Seilduken, KHiO 17:00-18:50
A reoccurring debate in the Norwegian national press claims that artists and art students deliberately use an obscure language to exclude the audience. Such statements could underestimate the audience’s ability to read complex texts, and underpin the capitalist idea of the artist as entrepeneur, marketing her work efficiently to demonstrate that she is producing something of value to society. All the same, artists write love letters and coded messages to the audience.
I morgen deltar vi på et panel om kritikk og mote i regi av Tableau Paper.
For mer informasjon se her! https://www.facebook.com/events/816880411814379/
Hvorfor skrives det saker om, men ikke kritikk av, mote? Er det lille miljøet klar for den kritikken det etterspør? Og hvem skal gjøre det: Lommekjent blikk fra innsiden eller nytt blikk utenfra? Og hva bør kritikken inneholde?
La oss snakke om det!
Panelet innledes med en samtale mellom moderator Ragnhild Brochmann og psykologspesialist Vidar Husby (Favne Psykologbistand Oslo). Hva er kritikk? Og hvorfor er det så vanskelig både å motta og å gi den?
As a response to the ongoing debate about art speak and art writing, Vi ser på kunst launches THE PRESS RELEASE-EMERGENCY SERVICE. From May 8th til June 8th, we will be welcoming press releases and any other art related text, in ordrer to provide valuable feedback, spell check and improvements, free of charge. The service is available in both Norwegian and English. We promise swift processing and precise comments. For inquiries and further details, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The coming director of Nasjonalmuseet, Karin Hindsbo, is putting up one last show in Bergen, on occasion of the reopening of KODE 1, museum of craft and design. The show is titled UNDERWAY, opening on May 23rd. Hindsbo is expecting controversy and reactions after it became known that the artist showing is her majesty the Queen. H.M.Q Sonja is most known for her graphic art, for her collaboration with Magne Furuholmen, and for her vast art collection. At KODE 1 she will present works both her own, new and old, and from her collection, ranging from crafts to pop inspired art. Vi ser på kunst got an exclusive preview of Queen Sonja’s art show.
We meet in Tori Wrånes’ exhibition “Hot Pocket” and sit on the big revolving cake slowly circling through the museum while looking at the room clad in brown woollen carpets. Wrånes has been working with performance art, but here she is showing objects in her biggest museum show yet. Now, the objects are the ones performing. Lights fade slowly up and down, a cold wind is blowing, objects are spinning, others are breathing, as if they got a life of their own. However, both of us has been working for Tori towards her opening, so we can’t really say anything close to objective about the show. Besides, it is difficult to look at and think of objects as art when you’ve looked at them forever before they became so.
I really like to sit here and circle around, it’s a nice way to experience the show. And, the opening was good, but seeing art with anyone else kinda ruins it for me, I couldn’t see anything. You don’t count though.
Haha, thanks. But I’m not sure, yesterday’s opening was very special, even though it was crowded, and yes difficult to see the art, but that’s true for most openings. When everyone sat on the stage it kinda reminded me of a scene from Game of Thrones, like a pile of bodies.
These were alive though!! Now the stage took us for a complete round. I wonder if we go faster when we sit up here?
Yes. No, wait. If I had been sitting down there and you here, we would still have been at the same place, no?
Haha, but there’s something there, something about physics. Anyhow, I really like to sit here, it’s very calming, gives you time to see and think about things. Also, I like to look at the other guests, they’re enjoying themselves, having fun, which, maybe, is not that common in a museum for contemporary art.
True. Speaking of fun, someone tried to tell me that no female artist in Oslo had enough work laying around in their studios to produce a show.
Yes, but ‘i think we can heal that situation. I’m gonna “mom” it, you know.
Hehe, nice. Good approach.
Yea, but you know, lately we’ve seen a lot of hand crafted art, which, in terms of “art” history can have a gendered aspect to it.
Like this show too, even that big 3D-printed sculpture over there got this handcrafted look. While, I feel, pristine vibes, and manufactured can be considered more legitimate. You think of the streamlined look as something more successful, you want it to be flawless, whereas those little “errors” of handcrafted objects kinda conceals how much work it takes to make them.
Yes, I think that’s true. And, here, I think that “unflawlessness” is something sought for. You know, the trolls and everything, because who/what is without flaws anyways? Also, working with Tori has made me think more about materials, what they can do, like how silicone works. I’m quite amazed. There is also a way in which the amount of work that goes into a single object gets overlooked.
Oh yes those bags are breathing?!
Yeah and that rope is not a rope…
Anyways, I also wanted to talk to you about Oslo Open.
The social awkwardness of entering someone’s private studio?
Haha, yes, but not only. Also how everyone is supposed to suck up to these “important” curators and writers coming to town. It’s so silly, and like class segregated. Are you important enough? Am I on the list? And who did ever get a show after Oslo Open anyways?
Lol, next year we have to make them drive us around, important writers! But yeah, every big city has a festival like this going on at this time of year. I was at Greenpoint Open Studios when I lived in New York. And these fakeo collectors who I knew from the gallery I was working at came by, and they told me things like: oh, it’s so nice that you can stay here and work on your little hobby. Stuff like that, haha, it made me furious. Either way, I think it is a nice thing too, and I like to go around talking to people and see what they’re up to. I’ll look more this weekend and get back to you!