30 September 2010

Streetart in Tartu

Tartu is this charming smaller brother of Tallinn, with about 100 000 inhabitants, a historic old town and with the national University founded in 1632. I love Tallinn, don't get me wrong. But Tartu seems like more easygoing, relaxed, inspiring. It might be because it does not have the obligations of a capital, because of the University being a source for creativity, or because of the less intense business environment. Anyway, in Tartu you can enjoy a hippie-like environment, an aura of creativity and inspiration, and great, friendly people. One of the signs of this is the abundance of streetart, especially stencils all around in town. Some with a really weird but very funny kind of humour.

"What's happening?"

Streetart in Tartu

Streetart in Tartu

Edgar Savisaar - mayor of Tallinn and leader of the populist Central party
Streetart in Tartu

Streetart in Tartu

Streetart in TartuIf you vandalise, then do it properl

"This day is best for catching bananafish" + "Don't feed the mice!" + "Wanna walk"This day is best for catching bananafish + Don't feed the mice! + Wanna walk

"I love yellow socks"I love yellow socks

"Label on the cans"Label on the cans

"Sitting generation"Sitting generation

"Happiness is just around the corner"Happiness is just around the corner

"You are what you create"
You are what you create

"Words at eye-high level"Word at eye-high level

"Write your name everywhere"Write your name everywhere

"Look underground"Look underground

"Let me love something else than money"Let me love something else than money

work by Multistab
More about the Multistab artists here

28 September 2010

USSR Remix

Azerbaijani artists
Tou Scene, Stavanger

You are entering a world relieved of the USSR dictatorship. Or is it relieved? Does the legacy live on, whether as a historic basis, or by taking a new form?

USSR remix
Chingiz - My History

The exhibition USSR Remix shows the work of artists of Azerbadijan origin. The works are based on the experience that the Soviet legacy is still present. It is visible through the still present figures and pictures of Lenin and Stalin, by rusting and degrading warships and military installations, by pictures of refugee camps.

USSR remix
Sabina Shikhlinskaya - Ship - Bolshevik Nariman Narimanov

The artists also show how the strong rule lives on in a new wrapping. Like in the work "very very red", the banners are still saying "red", even if they are green. Like the map of the former occupied Soviet territories that used to be all red, now are represented by their money portraits. Like the poet and philosopher statues silenced by being wrapped in for repair. Like the flag installation changing from Soviet Azerbadijan to the Azerbadijan republic to the McDonald's flag. Capitalism has replaced the Communism. The strong people have shifted chairs, like in one of the video installations, but the people and art is still not free.

USSR remix
Bahram Khalilov - Money Faces

USSR remix

New posters at Sølvsmia

The Sølvsmia art and design gallery in Sandnes are showing a new poster exhibition by Polish artist Ryszard Kaja.

Poster exhibition

Poster exhibition

27 September 2010

Neverlands Revisited

Jonas Liveröd & Lukas Feireiss with Fiuni School of Architecture + Design
Ittepåsenteret (Rogaland kunstsenter)

Entering the exhibition you enter a world of bizarre, funny, horrible and grotesque architecture. The walls are filled with pictures, text and video portraying the strangest buildings or worlds ever created. They all have in common that people are inhabiting them. Whether you are interested in the exotic of different cultures, architecture or the bizarre, you will enjoy this exhibition.

Neverlands Revisited
But this exhibition is not only about buildings, it is more about the people behind and inside the buildings and constructions. First of all this shows the background of how the buildings were made. Some are a creation of a dictatorship, like the giant head of dictator Marcos of the Phillippines, the giant busts of Saddam Hussain, and the 4km long building of holiday apartments commissioned by Hitler. Some buildings are created by mad minds, like the Winchester house that never got finished and the Collyer brothers' home filled with collectables and garbage. Somehow the story of the woman married to the Berlin Wall fits into this category too. Even if this is not a construction you can live inside, she definitely lives close to it. Some buildings are inhabited by pure necessity, like the Grand Northern Cemetery of Manila, the Walled City of Hong Kong, the warship/oilrig shaped Japanese island, or the garbage town of Cairo. Some are made to attract attention, like a giant hollow whale, elephant and troll. And some constructions are just so outworldish they must have been made by aliens, like the giant domes of Siberia.

Neverlands Revisited

The exhibition also show the people of these worlds. They are living in these neverlands, these inhabitable buildings. How is it possible to live all your life inside the head of Marcos, inside a tomb, in a garbage dump, inside an elephant or a whale carcass, and accept this as normality? Most of all the Manila cemetery pictures show this contrast of normality/absurdity, where people live for generations on their ancestors' tombs, attending school, eating at cafes, washing their clothes.

Neverlands Revisited
The contrast is especially apparent here in Norway, where your home is a crucial part of your image. Your home shows who you are, and conformity with a marginal twist of individuality is the target. You may have a funny mailbox or doormat, but if you start painting the walls in a strange colour or build towers you set yourself aside of the society. Still we can even here find some examples of weird architecture, like the Swedish troll in Årjäng where the mayor adresses the public, or a local example, the giant Gulliver of Kongeparken fun park with a playground inside.

Neverlands Revisited
Neverlands Revisited celebrates the non-conformity, the madness, the lack of fear of being different

Link to the exhibition info page here

25 September 2010

Nuart 2010 theft

I could not believe that any of the artwork of this year's Nuart would disappear as soon as one week after the opening. After all, most of the work are really large, set on buildings. But Evol's stencils of large buildings on small boxes seem to have drawn the attention of burglars. The vandal has been vandalised.

Stolen art - GIVE IT BACK!

This is really sad. I have met so many people that enjoy these boxes, not one single negative word about it. People really appreciate them, but apparently some appreciate them too much. Three of the 27 boxes are now missing. This is vandalism against the box-company, the artist, the Nuart festival, and all the people walking in the street. I hope the burglars put the lids back, or at least end the stupidities by not destroying more artwork.

There might be possible to find some symbolism or conseptualism in this, but I refuse to look for it. I'll rather be looking for the missing art.

This was what it looked like:
Work by Evol

Streetart in Riga

After seeing the large walls of Nuart, here are some smaller streetart from this summer in Riga:

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

Streetart in Riga

More Latvian streetart here, from Riga here and here, and Valmiera.

24 September 2010

"The Yes Men Fix the World" - JR: "Women are Heroes"

It is become popular to change the world these days. In Stavanger this has been visible in many ways. The Re-Think exhibition at Stavanger Art Museum have intentions of changing the way you look at the world and cast new light on the climate change crisis, through the artwork of great international contemporary artists. This is also the target of the Article biennal, where the artwork is intentually unstable and fluctuous, like melting ice sculptures and a video of a dying horse. Nuart2010 is first of all changing the local environment in the poorest part of Stavanger with large-sized murals.

Both the Nuart and the Article festival were arranged at the same time. I was really sad about this, as I would really want to attend both. As many of the Article artwork were only visible for a short period, I missed most of them. I did see the "The Yes Men Fix the World"-movie from the Article biennal, and I find it interesting to compare it to "Women are Heroes" by JR, shown during the Nuart festival. They are both portraying the urge to change the world, but with quite different approaches and methods.

The Yes Men Fix the World show how two men fight against the large companies and the growth-friendly political advisors. By acting as head of large companies they shed light on the unsustainability and repressions of poor people done to make large profits.

Somehow I get the sense that "The Yes Men Fix the World" is more about the Yes Men than Fixing the World. The movie is a documentary comedy, pushing one step further than Michael Moore. The Yes Men are choosing a random conflict or paradox, and then attending a conference to shock the people they find responsible for it. By presenting a golden skeleton and human wax candles they point to the immorality of large companies. You are guaranteed attention if you manage to make fun of powerful people, but do you really change something by it? At least it does when it comes to the Bhopal incident. They are acting as head of the company responsible for a catastrophic poison leak in Bhopal, saying all damage will be compensated. In this way they are saying what should have been done, while knowing the real company will never do that. They are acting on behalf of the Bhopal people, but first afterwards visiting them to hear their opinion. They are relieved to discover that the Bhopal people were happy to at least get the attention.

As a comedy the movie works well. It is balancing between the hidden-camera-documentary and the slapstic humour of the Yes Men figuring out their new trick. It is priceless to see the face expressions when the conference participants figure out that the table candles are made of human fat, or when some are actually considering the practical use of the one-man-safety-shell. The laughs and absurdities makes us forget that nothing actually was fixed.

JR: Women are Heroes
is mostly about strong women and less about the artist JR. JR is among the elite of street artist, known for enormous black&white paste-ups of people. In this movie he is portraying strong women of different countries through interviews, but also through his art. We hear the stories of struggle, loss and strong will, and it is first after hearing the stories we get familiar with JR's work. He puts the eyes and faces on these female heroes on the buildings they live in, thus showing the faces of the unknown, invisible heroes. The faces of the Rio favela are visible from far off, and the posters with female eyes also act as rainproof covers on the houses in the village. As his art show was presented in Rio, the women arrived as superstars on the red carpet. One of the women says "Yesterday I was nobody, now I am somebody".

JR really makes a change with his art. He is not fixing the world, but a part of it, by improving the environment and the self-confidence of the people he meets. This movie is a beautiful story about listening to people and giving them credit for their effort. The way it is shot, the composition and the soundtrack makes this documentary about an art project into an art piece in itself.

21 September 2010

Nuart 2010 - the Landmark series

M-City uncovered
The largest piece - 10x41m - made in three days
after the scaffolding was removed

Finished work by Vhils
The piece is made on the wall of an old fish canning factory, next door to a rain hat factory

Work by EVOL
work by Evol
work by Evol
work by Evol
Work by Evol
Work by Evol
Work by Evol
work by Evol
The Pedersgata street is lined with electricity box sized buildings

Finished work by Dolk - after the rain
painted in rain and wind the last night

Finished work by Sten&Lex
the result of ten long days struggling against rain and wind

Take the tour yourself, map of all the artwork here
This exhibition is always open and there is no entrance fee!

And a video from the tour is here