29 April 2011

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain

Highlights from the opening at Skur 2 in Stavanger:

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain
Installation: I wish I wish I wish in vain

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain
Sound art: The artist's heartbeat

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain
Installation: The freight boxes of the installation, containing so many stories about the travel that it has become an art piece itself.

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain
A long row of visitors queueing up for a glimpse of the inside of the box. Some waited for an hour, and nobody seemed disappointed about waiting when finally their turn came up.

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain
Finally there. Taking off your shoes and putting on the bling-shoes for entering the box for 60 seconds.

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain
Still a queue after 1,5 hours

27 April 2011

Elin Melberg: I wish I wish I wish in vain

Do not miss the opening of Elin Melberg's show at Skur2 in Stavanger on Thursday 28.4. at 1900.

A teaser showing the construction of the installation:

My review of the installation at Pulse art fair in New York in March here.

Streetart in Oslo

Some highlights of streetart found in Oslo:

What the fuck do you know about what is smart?
What the fuck do you know about what is smart?

Johan Galtung
Portrait of peace guru Johan Galtung

Tape cat
Simple and brilliant tape art

River lizard
Lizard on the riverfront of beautiful Akerselva

Statoil lead to serious climate changes for you and your environment
Statoil lead to serious climate changes for you and your environment

Trist som faen - Ari Behn
Trist som faen - Ari Behn
La Staa is having fun with novelist and the princess' husband Ari Behn, whose debut short story compilation was called "Sad as hell", and he has also designed a serie of porcelain with peacock pattern.

Grønland-Bjørvika bridge

New footbridge Grønland-Bjørvika

Bridges are built quite often in Norway, but not so often bridges for bikes and pedestrians. A new bridge in Oslo is connecting two totally different areas, and this was made into a great cultural happening April 9th.

Grønland streetview
Grønland has been established as the multicultural area of Oslo, with mosques, halal food, curry and falafel. The relatively lower rent than in other parts of Oslo also make this an area filled with artists. This is the site of the first settlement of Oslo, but even if many houses are old, none are from that time.

On the other side of the inpassable barrier of railroad tracks for the central station is the new area Bjørvika. Bjørvika is still an area mostly existing only in plan maps. Many buildings are under construction, high, flashy buildings towering up, creating a wall of buildings between Grønland and the fjord. The polluting and noisy main road between the buildings and the sea will be put in an undersea tunnel, and this will probably become a very popular and expensive seafront. The gem of the area is the Opera and Ballet building by Snøhetta architects. At the moment it seems quite alone between the road and the sea, but this is about to change.

The bridge contain several symbolic values. It promotes walking and biking as means of transportation. It is a bridge between the historic and the future Oslo. It is a bridge between the rich and the poor Oslo.

Kissing performance
During the opening a performance took place. Many couples were kissing on the bridge. The bridge is not only connecting areas, it is also connecting people.

Connected to the opening, open houses were arranged. This was a great possibility to visit galleries, ateliers and other cultural institutions in the area. I had a look at the following places:

Gallery 1857
Galleri 1857
A very nice artist owned gallery. The street front is a small two storey building, but the back side is a large concrete hall that used to be a wood storage.

Oslo prosjektrom
Oslo prosjektrom
A slick, tidy office corridor of the agriculture union turned into very comfortable studios with view to the railway and Bjørvika.

Exhibition at 0047 Space
0047 Space
A space well hidden in a transport courtyard, in a door and up a step. They had a great installation of mini-flats where you could sit down to see video art. This seems like a very convenient and flexible space.

Exhibition at Oslo Kunsthall
Oslo kunsthall
The name implies a venue in an old industrial building, but in fact this gallery/bookshop is situated in one of the first new buildings on the Bjørvika side. This is the first established point of visual art on this side of the railway. The gallery showed an exhibition of carpets and textile artwork.

Exhibition at Skur 58
Skur 58
A gigantic building used to store and maintain the vehicles of the harbour service. This offer room for large installations, but in fact the exhibition was small photos (10x15cm) attached to the walls.

This performance involved building some kind of bridge of plywood squares in the middle of the crowds at the Central Station.

13 April 2011

Pøbel at Oslo S

I was so happy to find this stencil by Pøbel at Oslo Central station. Great piece, fantastic location for it!

Pøbel at Oslo S

Pøbel at Oslo S

This was put up during the joint exhibition by Pøbel and Dolk at Oslo S in May 2010, and I am pleased to see that this piece remained.

07 April 2011

Art in the new Concert Hall

Tuesday 5.4.11 the artwork chosen for the new concert hall in Stavanger was presented. The concert hall is a high prestige project for Stavanger as a cultural town, thus the choice of its artwork is very important. The building is placed on a marvellous site directly on the seafront, where all ships entering the heart of Stavanger are passing. The concert hall will open for concerts and visitors in 2012.

The construction of the new concert hall in Stavanger
The building site

The choice of concerts and their frequency will of course be of major importance of attracting visitors. But the architecture, the layout of the park and public space outside, and the artwork in the semi-public space inside will be crucial of attracting other visitors. Will this building and area be only for the concert-goers, or will it be a new, attractive meeting point for everybody? Will this be an attractive spot for those not interested in the music, for those who cannot afford a concert ticket, and outside the concert times?

The model of the new concert hall in Stavanger
Concert hall model

The four art projects were presented by the artists in the concert hall visitor centre, the future centre of dance. The projects were "Skylight 2" by Jeffrey Inaba - installation in the lobby, "Lekkasje" ("Leak") by Anne Marthe Dyvi - sound art in the parking basement, "Mattor" ("Carpets") by Åsa Marie Bengtsson - art in the outside entrance area, and "Servert" ("Served") by Marianne Pfeffer Gjengedal - an art piece in the center of Stavanger.


Art projects for the new concert hall in Stavanger

A large sculpture shaped like two joined rings joined will be hanging in the lobby. The sculpture will reflect the changing sunlight, and be lit by led lamps after sunset. It will reflect and react to the time of the day, the activity in the building and the sunlight outside.

I will be curious to see how the sculpture works, it will be an important aesthetic part of the lobby. And it will probably bring joy to those visiting the concerts. But will it have the power to attract visitors to the building itself, like a magic ring from the Tolkien world, as the artist suggested? That remains to see. And will the reaction to the light work?


Art projects for the new concert hall in Stavanger

At first when i heard that the title of the sound art in the underground (and under sea level) parking basement would be "leak", I imagined sounds of dripping or flowing water. That could possibly scare visitors away, afraid of a leak causing a flood in the basement. But I was wrong. Instead the leaks will give an insight to the preparations and daytime activities in the concert hall. Visitors arriving to a concert will be able to hear sounds of rehearsals, tuning of instruments and so on, when they park their cars. The soundtrack will be recorded earlier the same day and deleted the same night.

I think this is a brilliant idea, an ephemeral work, showing how much work is behind a great concert. This is giving a lot of credit to the people that work in the building. But at the same time the respect towards them may make the project difficult. A randomized recording of a working environment could break a lot of rules. I really hope they will find a good solution for this, and I also hope the sound will be played sufficiently long or often in the basement.


Art projects for the new concert hall in Stavanger

Bengtsson presented ideas of decorating the entrances with colorful mosaics with patterns from exotic patterns. This is a theme she has used in many different settings before. The entrances will become visible and joyful. At the same time the exotic carpets will reflect the vast variety of nationality that inhabit Stavanger.

I hope the exotic patterns will reflect the variety of the visitors to the concert hall. I am positive to anything that bring color to the grey concrete in grey Stavanger weather. And I hope the colors can last through rain, sunshine and ice. But I also hope multi-cultural inhabitants will feel welcomed, and make the concert hall colorful also in its content. Otherwise the carpets will become alien aspects of the building.

This artwork is already at its place in central Stavanger, on the other side of the bay. It will be removed when the concert hall opens. It is a large, red binocular pointed towards the concert hall site, linking the center of town to the new cultural center. It is placed on the same blue walk path that starts by the concert hall and ends in the east part of town. Looking into it you do not see an enlarged view of the building site, but an animation about the concert hall. The animation show how the building is gradually entangled in plants from the park behind it, and washed by the waves in front of it. More about the project here.

The installation is like a teaser for the future concert hall, and act as a link between the present center of Stavanger and the future cultural center. But when visitors are allowed to enter the building, the binocular will be removed. I do not quite understand that. Is the thought that the concert hall will be so attractive it does not need any advertisements? I think the sculpture is a great idea, but it would be even better if it stayed.

Another issue is that the sculpture is constantly victim of sabotage. It is placed just in front of the largest consentration of pubs in town, and more or less drunk people have damaged it several times. Even boat-visitors have sabotaged it to steal power for their boats! This is exactly why the sculpture is needed as a permanent sculpture. It would be a permanent reminder to the culture-enemies that the grand concert hall is just across the bay, offering experiences even more satisfying than destruction.


CONCLUSION: Will the artwork attract visitors other than concert-goers?

The distance between Stavanger center and the concert hall is about 500m. Will the art be able to attract everybody? I do not think so. Maybe it is not its intention. But it will be enjoyed by the in-house people and concert-goers.

I believe that what is crucial for making this an inviting and attractive site is the layout and functionality of the public area outside the building. If the inside semi-public area in the lobby will have places to sit, public toilets, a kiosk, it could be a nice place to hang around as well. Then you may also enjoy the artwork there.

06 April 2011

Pøbel art disappeared

I was shocked to read the news that a wall painted by Norwegian stencil artist Pøbel had been stolen. The wall was part of the project "Ghetto spedalsk" of Pøbel and Dolk, where they painted abandoned buildings in rural, desolate areas in the north of Norway.

picture from nrk.no

In Lofoten the neighbour of a painted house notified the news that one painted wall of the house had been stolen. Some foreigners had been in the area, and it was suggested that they had stolen the artpiece to sell it. This has happened several times with Pøbel's colleague Banksys stencils, even concrete walls have disappeared only to appear on ebay. Anyway, this would be a great credit to Pøbel and his art. The local news went to the spot with the local head of culture, she was very sad that the art had been stolen.

picture from nrk.no

Four hours later the case was solved. A journalist went to the spot, and discovered that the wood planks of the house was scattered out in the landscape. The strong wind had blown the wall away. Case solved.

picture from nrk.no

Sometimes the reality is more incredible than you can imagine. This is still a great credit to Pøbel, judging from all the fuss about the case. His art is highly appreciated, and not only in Lofoten.

Links (in Norwegian):

News about the theft here

News about the solved case here

Living Decay (fairy tales in the middle of nowhere) from nulli versi on Vimeo.

04 April 2011

Marius Martinussen

Kunstgalleriet, Stavanger

When I first saw Martinussen's paintings, at the exhibition "Ellipse" at Sølvberget Galleri in Stavanger about a year ago, I liked it a lot. His style has changed a bit since then, but the paintings are just as enjoyable. Martiniussen has used a unique technique of using airbrush and plaster.

Marius Martiniussen
Atlas IX

It was light dots on a background of various colors, now the dots are gone. While the foreground used to be what added the figurative touch to the paintings, now it is the background. And the wide range of colors are toned down.

Marius Martiniussen
Atlas V

In the background I see landscapes seen from above, like Mongolian mountains seen from an intercontinental flight. But it could also be folded paper or wrinkled textile. The colors are harmonious in light and shade of the same color. On top of this, like floating above it, are patches of plaster in toned color, creating a metallic impression. This creates an incredible illusion of depth, my mind tells me that the paintings are 2D, but my eyes insist that they see a 3D image.

Marius Martiniussen
Atlas III

Watching the paintings is like a journey into an unknown world of texture and shapes. The title of the paintings "Atlas", could be a reference to maps, as these painting appear like topographical maps. But it could also be the Atlas mountains seen from far above, or maybe even a map of the Atlas mountains in an atlas.

Exhibition webpage here

Fredrik Lindqvist + Elizabeth Croft

Fredrik Lindqvist
Elizabeth Croft - Experiments with light and space
Stavanger kunstforening

Very often I get surprised when entering Stavanger kunstforening. I like surprises. I had great expectations of the exhibition of Fredrik Lindqvist, it was really great. And the exhibition of Elizabeth Croft in the basement was a great positive surprise.

Fredrik Lindqvist makes his work by woodcut on textile bits, sewn together by hand to a large collage of colours, textures and motives from tv shows or popular culture. I had seen his work before, at the "Ballad of Materialism" exhibition at Rogaland Kunstsenter last year, and knew this was an exhibition not to miss. I was not let down.

Fredrik Lindqvist: Der sommer wird heiss
Fredrik Lindqvist: Der sommer wird heiss

Entering the room filled with Lindqvists work I see an explosion of colours on textiles, some enormous, some medium sized. I see people in weird poses and situations, some posing, other unaware of the viewer. Getting closer I see the picture is made by small bits of different style and coloured textiles, sewn together roughly by hand. The bits are from curtains, bed sheets, pyjamases and who knows what. Some bits must have been hidden from the fashion police since the seventies. On these bits are the motive, printed by woodcut. I can not really imagine how much creativity, planning, work and mounting it takes to make these works.

Fredrik Lindqvist
Fredrik Lindqvist: Utan tittel / Finger / Ängel

I just love how the texture change the setting of the motive, how the punkers and rock stars are contrasted by the cosy teddybear- or flower-decorated textiles. It is great to see the crazy choice of motives, on a plain painting many of them could have been boring, uninteresting or even kitch. But in this setting they suddenly become interesting. And I enjoy how wildly the different textile decors are put together.

Fredrik Lindqvist: Face
Fredrik Lindqvist: Ansikt

It is not a coincidence that in the large hall of the venue is an exhibition of the Marimekko design. Clothes and textiles with the characteristic styles of the famous Finnish design company fill the room. Entering the Marimekko room, I got a sudden urge to run back to see if Lindquist has used any Marimekko textiles in his work.

But instead I head down to the basement, not knowing what to expect. I had read that Elizabeth Croft had done some experiments with the room and its appearance. An empty project room is usually not the most inspiring topic, so I was anxious to see what she had been able to wrench out of it.

Elizabeth Croft: Experiments with light and space

She has projected the project room, inverted it, shrinked it, analyzed it. On one wall is a drawing of the opposite wall, a drawing made by carpenters chalk line. Another wall is covered by a giant wallpaper, showing the opposite wall, where the entrance is. But the wallpaper is printed from negative film, all the colors are the opposite of the original. The artist herself is reflected on a glass door on the negative wallpaper. The photo was made in less than a second, but the photographer and the camera remain in the room, on the photo. Inside the adjacent room are photos of the intricate calculations in her notebook. Also these prints are from negative film.

Elizabeth Croft: Experiments with light and space

The highlight is a white table in the middle of the room. From far, it looks like a regular white table. But it is hollow. In the table is a perfect miniatyre of the project room, upside-down. It is almost like I expect to see myself in there, upside-down.

Elizabeth Croft: Experiments with light and space

I am amazed of how much inspiration Croft has found from this rather dull room. Some time ago, Kjersti Haga presented great art based on the mould and moisture damage in the room. The mould is now covered by paint, but the room has become an art piece again.


Fredrik Lindqvist exhibition link here
Elizabeth Croft exhibition link here

01 April 2011

Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise

Lewis & Taggart (CA)
Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger

Louise Bourgeois (25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010),
French-American artist and sculptor

Dennis Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010),
American actor, filmmaker and artist

Louise Bourgeois and Dennis Hopper probably never met in life, but did they meet in death? They died just two days apart. This fact is the only link that connect these two important cultural personas, but this is the basis of the idea of this exhibition. Lewis & Taggart are suggesting that they did finally meet. The long wall is covered by portraits of the two famous people side by side by side by side. But all their eyes are removed. Some eyes are to be found other places in the room. Are their spirit still among us? Questions about death and what comes after seems to be important in this exhibition.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise

Louise and Dennis were far from the only ones dying on these dates. If they did meet, what about all the others that died? Did they meet them as well? I got curious, and had a look at Wikipedia:
- 6 people were killed in a gas canister blast in an underground tunnel in Palestine
- 30 persons were killed in a bus crash in Cameroon
- 7 police officers were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan
- 6 died after eating poisonous plants in northwest China
- 10 activists were killed by Israeli forces storming the Gaza-bound international flotilla
- 6 Turkish soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on a navy base in Kurdistan
And countless people died without any attention in the media.
How would Dennis and Louise meet each other in this mass of people entering the death world those days?

Lewis & Taggart are creating the outlines of a story. We must continue imagining what happens.I might be far off the topic on this, but this is how the exhibition affects me. It sets my mind wandering, wondering.

The exhibition room is filled with different people, small figures on high pedestals made of branches, mounted on books on the floor. All the people are anonymized by an animal skull covering their faces. Are they representing all the nameless people that died these days? One of the figures' pedestal is on a spear crushing a man on a photo. Is the man on the base the same as the one on top, wearing an animal skull? For me this is a key piece, explaining that all the skull-wearing collage persons are dead people.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
"Act of God"

Another important feature in the exhibition are a pair of glasses. On the inside they are green, on the outside you see the eyes of Louise and Dennis. From the outside you are observing the facade of the celebrities. But if you had put the glasses on, you would see only green color. Is this what they were/are seeing? Even if you take the glasses off, you end up staring at a green feature on the wall right in front of you. The vision of Louise and Dennis stays even if you use your own eyes.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
"Splash 1"
Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
"Splash 1"

The climax is the Deathcloud itself. An octangular carousel of several layers like a wedding cake, topped with a large cloudlike shape above it. The cloud is made up by fragments of Dennis and Louise portraits, standing on top of a long vertical pole. The carousel is adorned with collages of different people in different poses and situations. Their heads are covered by an animal skull, like they are all preoccupied with death. Are they aware of the deathcloud soaring above them? Even if they seem to be busy minding their own business, they all form a kind of tribal dance formation. Maybe their task is to keep the death cloud up there, thus keeping Dennis and Louise together. In this way Louise and Dennis DID meet, supported by all the other people that died that weekend in May 2010.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise

I wonder what could have happened if Louise Bourgeois and Dennis Hopper met in real life for a collaboration project. I will never know.

Link to the exhibition webpage here

Eirik Lyster + hairdresser

I just discovered this characteristic artwork by Eirik Lyster in a hairdresser in Stavanger. Great work.

Eirik Lyster art