25 September 2011

Nuart2011: work in progress Day1

Nuart 2011
Streetart festival
Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway
Dan Witz, David Choe, Dolk, Dvs1, Escif, Herakut, Herbert Baglione, Hyuro, Lucy McLauchlan, Phlegm, Tellas, Vhils

Some of the artists of this year's Nuart streetart festival have arrived and started working. Looks like this will be another great year of Nuart, this time in the beer halls of Tou Scene and the streets of  the East part of town

Herbert Baglione: work in progress
Herbert Baglione: work in progress

Escif: work in progress
Escif: work in progress

22 September 2011

Hariton Pushwagner

Galleri Sult, Stavanger
Graphic art
Hariton Pushwagner
Get ready to be Pushwagnerized! It is the second time this autumn that art by Norwegian superstar Hariton Pushwagner is presented in Rogaland. In August Hå gamle prestegard presented the exhibition "Vertigo". Now Galleri Sult shows an exhibition in connection to the premiere of the movie about Pushwagner. 
Hariton Pushwagner

I have seen many of the pictures before, but a good story can be told several times. If you have not seen Pushwagner's work before, this exhibition will give you a certain glimpse of his world. At Hå gamle prestegard it was possible to get deeper into his world. The Galleri Sult exhibition offered a nice revisit to the visions of a world of a colorful totalitarian future.
Hariton Pushwagner
There is a great hype about Pushwagner at the moment in relation to the movie "Pushwagner" by August B. Hanssen and Even G. Benestad. Pop art has become pop culture, the artist has rocketed from the gutter to the stars. There seems to always be fun and show when he is around, so just enjoy and get Pushwagnerized! 
Hariton Pushwagner
A long line waiting to get into the gallery

Hariton Pushwagner

Hariton Pushwagner

19 September 2011

Nuart 2011

Street art festival
Tou scene, Stavanger + walls in town

The annual street art festival Nuart is about to begin: The arriving of artists began, and they will keep on coming and will work until the opening at Saturday October 1st. The wonderful program is now out, available online here:

16 September 2011

Margrethe Aanestad: Light Breaking

Light Breaking
Margrethe Aanestad
Prosjektrom Normanns, Stavanger
Abstract drawings + New exhibition space
Normanns gate
There has been enough talk about galleries closing down lately. Instead, here are great news of a new exhibition space opening up in Stavanger. The artists with workshops in Normanns street at Storhaug now opened a project room / exhibition space in their premises. The opening was crowded with people eager to see the place. 
Margrethe Aanestad: Light Breaking
Margrethe Aanestad: Light Breaking
Margrethe Aanestad: Light Breaking
One of the inhabitants, Margrethe Aanestad, had the honor of inaugurating the space. She put on display her colorful geometrical shapes, that seems simple at first sight. But at closer inspection the forms are made by myriads of tiny stripes drawn with a crayon. This makes an uneven touch to the seemingly even forms. I can sense the time and effort that is put down in these drawings. 
Margrethe Aanestad: Light Breaking
Margrethe Aanestad: Light Breaking

15 September 2011

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you

Totally devoted to you
Stavanger Kunstmuseum
Relational art / feelgood art

I had the opportunity to see their exhibition twice, first in Copenhagen this spring and now in Stavanger. The exhibition is travelling between five spots in North Europe, adding a new, local project on every spot. My two visits to the exhibition gave two totally different impressions. On the Stavanger exhibition a local project was added, and I had the opportunity to meet the artists before the Stavanger exhibition. This made a large difference for my experience.

Gil&Moti are an Israeli artist couple living in Holland. They are an inseparable part of their work, living their art, or make their life into art. This is visible in their art, but also in how they live. I understood that this couple have a genuine interest in the people they meet, and this is reflected in their art. It is easy to be charmed by these guys. For instance, on the opening night they prepared heart-shaped hamburgers for the visitors.

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Gil&Moti: Opening performance

In the project "You brought the light back to my life" Gil&Moti document their meeting and nine month correspondation with graffiti writer Tommy in Stavanger. They met by coincidence, while Gil&Moti were looking for people they could give a hand. They had made similar projects before, helping out Arab immigrants in Europe. But these were short-time projects, maybe cleaning or running a shop in one day. This is a long-term project, aquiring a lot of time and effort by both the artists and the local guy.

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Gil&Moti: Available for you

The relationship with Tommy is documented by a movie telling their story, photographs and examples of Tommy's work. As a graffiti writer, he sent pictures of his fresh work to Gil&Moti. On display are sketches, pieces on paper and photos of pieces in town. I believe this is the first time graffiti is on display in Stavanger Kunstmuseum.

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Gil&Moti: You brought the light back to my life
Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Gil&Moti: You brought the light back to my life

Other projects at the exhibition:

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Gil&Moti: Letters to Laylah

In this project, they sent love letters to their fictious Arab lover Laylah.

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Installation view

Most of the art museum is taken in use for this exhibition, making the visit an exploration of not only Gil&Moti's work, but also the museum. You are invited to sit on their designed chairs or even in their wedding bed while viewing the artwork, like their impressions from Israel, their public wedding ceremony, or their different forms of contact across the historical and cultural barrier between Israelis and Arabs.

Gil&Moti: Totally devoted to you
Gil&Moti: Laylah the creature beyond dreams

This installation document their project with having a relationship with a Lebanese guy. Everything is documented, from when they met at internet until the heartbreaking breakup.


All in all, this could be a large exhibitionistic exhibition with artists displaying all their lives and fantasies to the public. But the range of the projects shows their sincerity, and after talking to the artists and their local "project" guy, I understood that this is something they do with honesty. Gil&Moti are making the world better by sharing their love for each other and everybody.

13 September 2011

Faded streetart in Stavanger

I had a stroll in the east part of Stavanger looking for known and new streetart pieces. The weather has been harsh, giving the pieces of Nuart 2010 a beating. The giant piece by M-City has become quite faded:

Faded M-City piece

Faded M-City piece detail

I also found this new piece at Tou Scene:

Precarious Kapitaliksom

But sometimes the wearing can also add an extra patina to a piece. This piece by Pøbel at Tou Scene looks even better with some golden rust on it:

Faded and rusty Pøbel piece

12 September 2011

Ka då ittepå: the end

Ittepå Ittepå
Trond Hugo Haugen / Ka då ittepå?
Tou Scene / Cafe Sting, Stavanger
Political/community art project

This is the definite end of "Ka då ittepå?" (What then afterwards?), the artist initiated project that started as a reaction and correction to the Stavanger European Cultural Capital 2008, and ended up as an established part of the political and cultural scene of Stavanger.

"Ka då ittepå" as a political project:

As Stavanger in 2005 was selected to becoming European Cultural Capital in 2008, the process of choosing the profile and content started. At the same time artist Trond Hugo Haugen started asking questions about this, especially about the desired long-term effects of the 2008. Would the cultural activities only happen in 2008, or could that year rather be used for building up the cultural environment for the future?

The "Ittepå" movement soon became an established movement. Haugen was soon considered being THE critical voice before, during and after Stavanger 2008. The project led to political decisions for the art field, whether it was through direct of indirect influence. Establishments for maintaining the cultural life after 2008 were soon dubbed "Ittepå", like "Ittepå-fondet" (the afterwards found) and "Ittepå-sjefen" (the administrative head of the culture department).
Ka då ittepå 
At Cafe Sting: Portraits of Cecilie Bjelland and Cathrine Sagen Helgø. One of these two will rule as Stavanger's mayor the next four years, having a strong impact on the art scene.  

Election result
Update: The election is over, and Cathrine Sagen Helgø will be the new mayor in town.

"Ka då ittepå" as an art project:

 "Ka då ittepå" could also be viewed as a community art project, involving artists, media, politicians and the public in general. This makes "Ka då ittepå" the largest and most influential art project in the Stavanger area as far as I am aware of. 

The project has activized politicians into becoming aware of the time after 2008, competing of becoming the most creative and positive in improving the cultural scene. The artists have been activized in using "Ka då ittepå" as a channel to reach both politicians and the public. The public has been involved by getting more information about the art scene and the political processes. And the media has been activized into asking critical questions about and covering the art scene after 2008. The project has even established the rather marginal dialect word "Ittepå" into a common word in public discourse.
Ka då ittepå 
At Tou Scene: This is not nourishment / business (word play in Norwegian, "næring" means both nourishment and business) Playing on the Stavanger Business Union leader's words during 2008: "Business is art and art is business. What would otherwise be the value of it?"
The end of "Ka då ittepå":
The activities on this final day of the "Ittepå"-project were contemplating the present state of the art scene, and mapping the political terrain now short time before the local elections. We are now not in Afterwards-time anymore, we are in the time After Afterwards. The art life is back to normal, or rather in a new normality. 

It might not be the last we hear about "Ka då ittepå", though. The project was also called "Stavanger 2018" as a contrast to the original "Stavanger 2008". I would not be surprised if there will be a happening in 2018. And anyway, Trond Hugo Haugen is now working on a book to document the process. I am looking forward to it.


other "Ittepå"-walls at Sting: http://www.stavanger2018.no/stvg/ittepa_ittepa_sting.html

Ka då ittepå: http://www.stavanger2018.no/

Ka då ittepå
At Tou Scene: This is possible

08 September 2011

Anderson & Low: Manga Dreams

Manga Dreams
Anderson & Low
Rogaland Teater, Stavanger
photographic portraits 
Manga Dreams
In connection to the premiere of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt", Rogaland Teater also opened an exhibition by Anderson & Low. The exhibition contains photographs of asian youngsters dressed as manga heroes.
Manga Dreams
The photographs are flawless and colourful, and could be commercial posters for the next manga movie or computer game. They are so perfect they seem like computer made, synthetical. But they are not. These are ordinary urban asian youngsters dressed as they usually are. In stead of, or in addition to, living their alternative lives as avatars in a computer games, they are living their lives as superheroes in the ordinary world. This could be confusing for us, but probably even more for them. The artists bring this confusion to a climax, by photographing the protagonists in neutral surroundings, with styling and makeup removing all signs of normality. It is impossible to understand whether the figures are in your reality or in some alternative reality. Maybe they exist in both? Or in none? 
Manga Dreams
The exhibition is curated as related to the theatre play currently showed in the main hall, "Peer Gynt" by Henrik Ibsen. Extremely concentrated, the moral of the play is "Be true to yourself!" or "Be yourself!". My first thought is that the photographed youngsters are not themselves, in their dressing they want to be someone else. But are they really? Maybe they actually dress like they feel like, maybe this is exactly how they are? Who are we to claim that "Hey, you are not dressed like yourself!"? Why can we not let them act and dress as they like? Why can we not just let Peer Gynt be himself, the womanizer and adventurer afraid of commitment? Do we have the right to shape the asian youngsters or Peer Gynt into something WE consider normal and decent?   
Manga Dreams

01 September 2011

Mariusz Waras: Transformer

Alternativa: Labour & Leisure
Hall 90B,Gdansk shipyard, Poland

The video is out: The animation of the "Transformer" installation by Mariusz Waras at the Alternativa exhibition in Gdansk. The video shows how the installation floats into the dock area of Gdansk, breaking into the exact building where the real installation is present. The video is shown on a screen next to the "Transformer". Fantastic work by Mariusz Waras/M-City, a major work at the exhibition.

More about "Transformer" here.
About Alternativa:Labour&Leisure exhibition here.