Nordic News Weekly – March 1st

Two Nordic biennials reach their tenth editions, Louisiana has troubles with a Swiss sponsor, and there is “a real crisis” with regard to acquisitions in Norwegian museums.

The reports presented at the seminar Visuell kunst i Norge: Hva sier forskningen (Visual arts in Norway: What does the research tell us). Photo: Marta Anna Løvberg/Kulturrådet. 

“There is a real crisis when it comes to acquisitions in the publicly funded museums in Norway”, concludes art historian Jorunn Veiteberg in a report presented at a seminar in the House of Culture in Bærum outside of Oslo on 14 February. At the seminar, Veiteberg called for a public fund for acquisitions that could enable the museums to share not only their acquisition expenses, but also already acquired artworks. According to Veiteberg, the museums are currently too dependent on loans and donations of artworks from private collections. Veiteberg’s report was one of four reports launched at the seminar, all of which were ordered by the Art Council to amend the lack of research into the field of visual arts that was identified in a Norwegian government white paper in 2011 (Meld.St. 23). In another report, researchers Arne Holm and Lars Christian Monkerud found that although the funding of artistic production has increased in Norway since 2011, the largest amount of state support is still granted to mediating institutions. Holm and Monkerud consider artists’ poor economies to be “the largest threat to visual arts as a democratic and free arena for expression.” Read the story in Norwegian here.

Lisa Rosendahl, curator for GIBCA in 2019 and 2021. Photo: Magnus Lundqvist.

Interconnectedness as motif and method 

This year, both the Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) in Gothenburg, Sweden and the Momentum Biennial in Moss, Norway, have reached their 10th editions, and on 11 April will jointly launch so-called ‘readers’ at Iaspis in Stockholm. Meanwhile, both biennials have released some details on what to expect. 

In Gothenburg this week, GIBCA released the title and concept for the 2019 exhibition, opening on 7 September. In a press statement, the curator of the biennials in 2019 and 2021, Lisa Rosendahl, said that interconnectedness will be a central motif and method for the two exhibitions. She explained that the exhibition title, Part of the Labyrinth,echoes Danish poet Inger Christensen’s response, from her book Letters in April (1979), to Descartes’s Cogito, ergo sum: “I think, therefore I am a part of the labyrinth.” “Although the metaphor of the labyrinth might be experienced as an entrapment, its message of entanglement is meant as a carrier of hope – only through recognizing how we are deeply interconnected with, and dependent on, each other and our surroundings will change become possible,” said Rosendahl.

Curators Marti Manen and Anne Klontz. Photo: Momentum.

An emotional approach 

Momentum 10, curated by Marti Manen with assistant curator Anne Klontz, is titled The Emotional Exhibition, and will open to the public on 8 June. Last week, the list of participating artists was released, revealing that fourteen of the twenty-nine participating artists have been represented in previous editions of the biennial. Among them are Knut Åsdam and Olafur Eliasson, both of whom participated in the first edition in 1998. Eirik Senje, Ina Hagen, and Keren Cytter, are some of the new names in 2019. “The list is a mix based on two starting points, one historical and one related to an emotional conception of history,” Manen told Kunstkritikk. In preparation for the 10th edition, Manen interviewed past curators, participants, and technicians about their memories from the biennial in Moss and about their feelings now, years later. The interviews were considered the foundation for a dialogue between past and present, with an emphasis on the participants’ emotions in order to provide a more complex representation of the biennial’s history than if based solely on verbal and logical constructs. See the complete list of artists and read the story in Norwegian here

Lucian Freud – A Closer Look, 2015, presented 52 works from the UBS Art Collection. Photo: Louisiana.

Louisiana sponsor convicted

Following a seven-year investigation, the Swiss banking giant UBS was convicted and fined 33,5 billion DKK (3.7 billion EUR) for tax evasion and money laundering by a criminal court in Paris on 20 February. Primarily known in the art world as the main partner of Art Basel’s global fairs since 1994, the bank is also currently sponsoring the exhibition program of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk outside of Copenhagen. “The Louisiana Museum makes the same demands concerning our sponsors as we do when it comes to all of our partners and colleagues: They should be good, responsible citizens, and abide the law,” said director Poul Erik Tøjner to the Danish broadcaster DR. However, he underlined that the museum had not reached a conclusion concerning UBS, considering the bank has appealed the verdict and denies the charges. The museum’s board will discuss the UBS sponsorship, currently only running throughout 2019, in a meeting in March, Tøjner stated. 

Workshop project by Rena Raedle and Vladan Jeremic. Photo: Carnival Union.

Carnival in Oslo is an “intercultural protest”

A group of artists has invited all of Oslo to a large art project in the form of a carnival parade on Sunday, 3 March. Promoted as a celebration of freedom, creativity, diversity, and multiculturalism, as well as a protest against racism, Islamophobia, and discrimination, Karnevalet is initiated by the artist group Carnival Union (Venke Aure, Hanan Benammar, Gidsken Braadlie, Camilla Dahl, Marius von der Fehr, Lisa Pacini, Pia Maria Roll, and Vigdis Storsveen) and developed in collaboration with the Intercultural Museum in Oslo, HUMAN International Documentary Film Festival, and over 50 artists and artist groups, schools, and organisations. According to a press statement, the parade will move in a “revolution,” rotating through the centre of Oslo, “narrating an alternative story about the city,” while “connecting important historical places and events from 150 years of anti-racist movement in Norway, and other events that have been formative for the development of our multicultural society.” The carnival project also includes a number of workshops preparing costumes, masks, objects, sculptures, pictures, banners, movements, sounds, and lights for the parade. An exhibition documenting the event will open on 4 April at the Intercultural Museum.