2012 has been a great art year, and now it is time to sum up what made the greatest impressions on me. It has been a difficult year in a good way, there have been far more exhibitions and happenings than I was able to experience. Here is a very subjective list of the greatest moments of 2012.
Exhibitions that impressed me in 2012:
1. Real Life Stories and collaborative exhibitions
I am a great admirer of Chinese culture and art, and the Chinese art events in Bergen fulfilled my Sinophile desires. The locomotive exhibition “Real Life Stories” had an impressive lineup of the most established and interesting Chinese artists, including a world premiere on an Ai Weiwei installation. This was extended by exhibitions of other interesting Chinese artists in other venues in the city. I am impressed by a such world class event taking place in Bergen.
Real Life Stories
Skin, Flesh and Bone
Song Kun & Jin Nv
Nuart was world class streetart as every year, but this year with a special twist. It has always had focus on public space, but this time this was even stronger. The highlights were the conference on public space and the interventions by Jordan Seiler. He changed the looks of the town by changing the bus stop ads with art, being replaced with art the next morning, and turned upside down the next night, only to be replaced with ads the next morning again. I look at bus stop ads in a totally different way after that.
Nuart 2012 inside
Nuart 2012 interventions
Nuart 2012 outside
3. Katowice Street Art Festival
A well organized festival of art in a charming city. The festival of celebrating the city by painting on its walls made me fall in love with the city. A former polluted industry city is transformed into a very likeably and well planned city, and the murals highlighted this transformation.
Katowice Street Art Festival - the complete works
4. Inngang 12: Sted
A well put together exhibitions of very different artist, the only in common was their fresh membership in the regional visual artists union. This was my first meeting with the art of very interesting artists, that I will follow with interest in the future.
Inngang 12: Sted at Rogaland Kunstsenter
5. Lost Garden
A wonderful project where great art was hidden in the little forest just outside the Henie-Onstad art center. A forest full of magnificient surprises.
Lost Garden at Henie Onstad kunstsenter
A very nice visit by artists from an Oslo collective to the Stavanger artist collective Prosjektrom Normanns. The tiny exhibition space was abundand of great, surprising and thrilling artwork. It was a great experience to see two such creative environments meet in this way.
Visitt at Prosjektrom Normanns
(Komafest could have been on top of this list, but I consider this rather an art project than an exhibition, see below.)
Rogaland-based artists who impressed me in 2012:
The established stencil artist made a great relational art project in Vardø, the Komafest. What may on the surface seem as a streetartfestival, was really a project not only engaging all the enthusiastic inhabitants, but changing the town’s mood from pessimism to optimism, and making it known worldwide as a creative and magic spot where everything is possible if you dare to pull it through. It is a very brave step to go from anonymous murals to a project involving so many people, but he did so with great success, creating what I consider the most important artwork in 2012.
2: Elin Melberg
After the success of the work “I wish, I wish, I wish in vain” travelling the world in 2011, Elin Melberg thrilled us with the magnificient installations of “What's mine is yours to borrow” in an almost sublime setting in the beer halls at Tou Scene. It hardly gets more beautiful than this.
What's Mine is Yours to Borrow
3: Susanne Christensen and Kenneth Varpe
“Ekko” - an installation of yellow stripes of light connects two school building on the seafront in Bjergsted. Connecting not only the buildings, but the different stages of history, and the different activities, merging it with the tide, this is the most impressive public art installation I have seen in 2012.
4: Marisa Ferreira
The works of Maris Ferreira were great new acquaintances in 2012. Through the year she showed off her versatility and productivity in several interesting works, both in her solo exhibition "Colour+Form" at Galleri Sult, in the group exhibition “Inngang 2012: Sted” (mentioned above) at Rogaland Kunstsenter, and her work in the forest in “Lost Garden” at Henie-Onstad kunstsenter (also mentioned above).
Colour + Form
Inngang 12: Sted
5: Nils-Thomas Økland
After seeing his work in progress during R-open open studios in 2011, I knew his exhibition would be worth looking out for. A great installation where diapositive projectors were shaped into VW Beetles on mountains, showing found pictures of VW Beetles on vacation.
Nils-Thomas Økland: Confessions of a Volkswagen