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Atopia is an artist initiative dedicated to the development of experimental film and video art in Norway.



3 Artists Finissage



An Exhibition of Video Installations by:                                                                                                                  (14 - 28 March 2014)

Haraldur Karlsson

Dimitri Lurie

Tor Jørgen van Eijk


Finissage: Friday, 28 March at 19:00

With Tommy Olsson and Inger Lise Hansen in Conversation with the artists



Gallery hours: 12:00 – 16:00 (Tue – Fri)  and by appointment: Email: info(AT)


“In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.” Susan Sontag’s most challenging slogan is the ending note of her ten commandments: Against Interpretation.

On this note Atopia wishes to invite you to an exhibition of video installations by three Oslo based artists whose works indicate intense engagement and exploration of various aspects of the moving image.

The exhibition and its treatment of art works aim at highlighting “erotics of art” and pick up where Sontag left behind 50 years ago. In other words to rescue art from the grip of interpretation, or at least make an attempt.

We live at a time when art works are aggressively instrumentalised in every possible direction and they are commodified in every imaginable position.  It has become more than a challenge to speak against interpretation. What we call art today is buried under tones of linguistic debris and commercial interests.

But the irony of the situation is that we are all involved in this process; all of us admirers who speak on behalf of art. Whether it is a philosopher, an art critic, an art historian or someone from another interpretive discipline does not matter.  All contribute as much as they can to increase the heavy load of interpretation.

And we often forget to ask whose challenge is this to set up a barrier to slow down or counter this flow? Who is going to take the risk of speaking against interpretation today? Is this the task of art institutions, the museums and commercial galleries and such? Is it the job of another philosopher? Or is this the responsibility of the independent artist and artist initiatives? The answer is clear. But they say our wings are clipped away!

The works in this exhibition belong to a group of artists who have been working primarily with the moving image for more than a decade. Departing from the everyday images their works are highly manipulated and transformed into abstractions that defy interpretations.

These are three of Oslo’s most resilient artists, highly specialized in moulding their own images of duration.


Dimitri Lurie: Ginger Space Waltz, 2012

Haraldur Karlssen: Brain, 2014

Tor Jørgen van Eijk: Non-narrative Linear Logic, 2008-10


Haraldur Karlsson (1967, Reykjavik, Iceland) holds a diploma in Mixed-Media from the Icelandic art school in Reykjavik and BA diploma in Media-Art from AKI Enchede, Holland. Further to this he studied Sonology over 3 years in the Royal Conservatorium Den Haag under the guidance of professor Clarence Barlow. For many years Karlsson worked at the Icelandic Academy of Arts as the head of Media-Lab, which he had designed. Karlsson has had exhibitions, performances and lectures in Iceland, Holland, Belgium, England, Czech Republic, Finland and Norway. He is currently based in Oslo and works on several video-art commissions. More info is available on his website


Dimitri Lurie (1970, Leningrad) is a visual artist working with film, video and photography. He has a degree in Cybernetics from St-Petersburg Polytechnic University and later studied Philosophy and Theology at the Institute for Philosophy and Religion (1997). Lurie is a self taught artist and since 1998 has been working with film and video. He was a guest artist at The National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo (2001) and he is the curator of the international art exchange project “Cultural Transit”. Lurie’s works have been shown and awarded in various international film festivals and art institutions. He lives and works in Oslo. For more information, please see:

Tor Jørgen van Eijk (1977, Cali, Colombia/Bergen) received his Diploma from The National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo in 2004. Since then he has worked actively as an artist exhibiting both in Norway and abroad. His works have been part of Gallery exhibitions, international video festivals and art fairs. Van Eijk works as an artist/curator and lives and works in Oslo.












Atopia is pleased to invite you to an exhibition opening and book launch:


Maleri med tid

Painting with Time

by Per Kvist 


 with works by:

Kjell Bjørgeengen

A K Dolven

HC Gilje

Jeremy Welsh


 Maleri med tid – Om modernisme, filmisk avantgarde og videokunst

(Painting with Time - On Modernism, Avant-Garde Film and Video Art) 


 Thursday, 6 Feb 2014 at 19:00

( 6 - 21 Feb. 2014)

Gallery hours: 12:00 - 16:00  (Tue - Fri)



                                                     Maleri med tid

Painting With Time is part of Atopia’s “Retrospective: Film & Video Art, Norway” project. This is a project for in-depth examination of the historical development of artists’ film and video works in Norway. Initiated in 2007 it is a long-term research project of Atopia that aims to create new historical visions and approaches surrounding artists’ film and video works.



Through Painting With Time Per Kvist writes a new version of the history of Visual Arts and the Moving Image. Kvist approaches the works of Kjell Bjørgeengen, A K Dolven, HC Gilje and Jeremy Welsh in the light of Modernism, Avant-garde Film and early Video Art. The book is anchored in an idea about historical repetition, at the same time exposing how we encounter the past with the influences of our own time. An important proposition is related to the idea of musicality of the image and modernism as an impure visual phenomenon. Here we can even talk about a “musicalisation of visual art” in the 20th and 21st Century. In the understanding of media, it becomes evident that these can be viewed in the light of ideas about the specific and mixed media, but also the shifting state of media. Media are alive and in a state of constant change. They seem to endure, preserve and absorb the past into the present time. They act creatively and give space for new specificities in a movement towards the future.

Per Kvist (born 1965) is an art historian and writer focusing on the visual arts and moving images. Kvist is a former Dean at Bergen Academy of Art and Design and leader of Tromsø Kunstforening. For many years he was a member of Arts Council Norway, where he chaired the Board for arts and crafts. Kvist is currently Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Agder and Chairman of Kristiansand Kunsthall.








Sao Paulo



As part of Atopia’s Cities of the World project we are pleased to present an exhibition of video art from Sao Paulo curated by Michel Pavlou.


an infinity


Video Art from Sao Paulo


Artists and Works:


Lucas Bambozzi

Just There: A Place I Do Not Know, 5:40 min, 1997


Raimo Benedetti

Opus 11, 5 min, 2002

São Paulo Portraits, 7 min, 2001


César Meneghetti

Nobody's land, 7 min, 2010


Adams Carvalho and Olívia Brenga

02. residential complex,  5 min , 2005


Alê Abreu

Passo, 3:40 min, 2007


Marco Wey

Cet été, 3:20 min, 2009


Kika Nicolela

Crossing, 9 min, 2003



Opening: Thursday 17 Oct. 2013 at 19:00

(18.10 – 01.11.2013)

Atopia gallery hours: Wed – Fri  10:00 – 15:00 (and by appointment for groups)


Approaching "Guarulhos" International airport, this morning in late august 2009, I asked my Brazilian neighbor on the flight how long does it take from the airport to the city; "a few years ago it took about an hour; today the city's suburbs have already surrounded the airport", he said. "But then, how many people live here?" I replied. "20, 25 maybe 30 millions, we cannot say exactly".

I then realized that in cities like Sao Paulo there is what is measurable and what is not and that it is this later aspect that I would like to experience.

During the festival (I was invited as video artist of the 18th edition) I stayed in the vicinity of the festival's sites, then, the remaining few days, I decided to take off, to go further inside the "monster" to reach its tender facets.

At first glance, all these megacities look similar to each other in their inhuman and uncaring aspects. They hide their singularity behind anonymous, nondescript spaces, "espaces quelconques" as Deleuze calls them; large boulevards, huge parking lots, terminals of any kind, wastelands, shopping centers, administrative buildings... You have to get lost, to get carried away by the flow of the city, let it show you what it wants to show you, you will then get the chance to find these paths that lead to its soul, to go beyond the appearances of globalization. Unfortunately, my very limited time did not allow me to take full advantage.

Meanwhile, I was immersed in the task of this selection with the aim and hope to retrieve the same kind of premonitions and vibrations I've experienced in the city, at the edge of some passages that I did not dare to take, ahead of these doors that I did not dare to open, among people that I did not dare to talk to; because I felt intrusive, unprepared, fearful, nervous, intimidated. Was it because of the unknown or because of something very familiar, hidden in the shadow lands of my childhood? So far away and yet so close to the starting point? The impossible escape? The perpetual homecoming?

The resulting program is very subjective and cannot claim to be representative of the video art scene in Sao Paulo.

I've selected artists who are "on the move", in a permanent state of struggle and friction with their environment, their identities, their history and their production tools and media. Artists who have adopted a stylistic freedom of camera work and editing, who are moving beyond intellectual formalisms, privileging the emotional content to the mechanical creation; artists who are in direct engagement with the subject rather than in a process of dissociation.

Michel Pavlou, 2013



The Cities of the World project is sponsored by:   

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Cities of the world




As part of  Retrospective: Film & Video Art in Norway we have the pleasure of inviting you to the opening of a new exhibition curated by Marianne Zamecznik.





still from: Northern Lights, 16mm film, Rolf Aamot, 1991




Rolf Aamot

Marte Aas 

Inger Lise Hansen 

Farhad Kalantary

Tone Myskja


Opening: Thursday, 23 May 2013 at 19:00

23.05 – 22.06.2013


With this exhibition we add a new chapter to Atopia’s investigation of the history of film & video art in Norway.


Initiated in 2007 the first part of this project explored the period of 1960 to 1990 and resulted in a large-scale exhibition at The Stenersen Museum in March 2011. The second part of this project focuses on the 1990’s. Several external curators are invited to collaborate on producing series of exhibitions at ATOPIA Gallery throughout the year. Exploring different aspects of the period each exhibition will present a small selection of the works produced in the 90’s.

The exhibition series would also highlight various curatorial approaches focusing on this period.


ATOPIA has invited Marianne Zamecznik to curate the second exhibition in the series of The 90’s.



This project is sponsored by:

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As part of Atopia’s Cities of the World project we are pleased to present an exhibition of Video art from Tehran curated by Sandra Skurvida.


SURVEILLING THE NAKED CITY: Video Art from Tehran                                                             Open: 12:00 - 16:00  ( Wed - Fri )


Every city is a particular place, but it has cinematic connections to all the other great cities of the world, their projections traversing time and space. As The Naked City, a 1948 noir, opens with a panning shot over the city where I live, it seems to me that movies invent views as well as plots, contrary to what is believed to be a camera’s power to strip the object in its eye, making that what is hidden visible—that is why cameras have been banished from some places. Exteriority of locations in film lends sociability to the production of private spectacle. In Iran, where public representation of private life is tightly legislated, film and video are developing in the opposite directions—film directors, who are under greater control, tend to situate private dramas in public spaces, especially where female characters are involved, in order to reconcile fictional reality of privacy and its public representation in film in compliance with the codes of representation. Video art production, on the contrary, may not be subject to such codified restrictions—these regulations would only factor in public exhibition.      Read more here >>









Retrospective: Film & Video Art in Norway is a long-term research project of ATOPIA intended to study the historical development of artists’ film and video works in Norway. Initiated in 2007 the first part of this project explored the period of 1960 to 1990 and resulted in a large-scale exhibition at The Stenersen Museum in March 2011. The second part of this project concentrates on the 1990’s. Several external curators are invited to collaborate on producing series of exhibitions at ATOPIA Gallery throughout the year. Exploring different aspects of the period each exhibition will present a number of works collected by Atopia. The exhibition series will also highlight different curatorial approaches that focus on the period of the 90’s.

ATOPIA has invited Natalie Hope O’Donnell to curate the first exhibition in the series of The 90’s.



Propeller: the 1990s


17 Jan - 17 Feb 2013


Open: 12:00 - 16:00 (Th, Fri, Sat, Sun)


ATOPIA Gallery, Ivan Bjørndals gate 34, 0472 Oslo


Opening Reception: Thursday, 17.01.2013 at 19:00






Book & Hedén - Cathrine Constanse Gjelsnes – Inger Lise Hansen  

Mattias Härenstam - JetZet Film - Ingebjørg Torgersen


This exhibition takes as its point of departure the idea that art and social-political developments are intertwined in a mutually reinforcing ebb and flow of inspiration, reaction and reflection. It draws on the Latin term prōpellere meaning “to drive forth or onward, to push or urge forward”.(i) The propeller churns up the tranquil surface of society, and the maelstrom created in its wake has ripple effects in the deep waters where artistic reflexivity resides. What emerges from the depths may be complex and ambiguous, but its potential interpretations can create new insights into how we might view the world.


The Propeller exhibition at Atopia features moving image works made by artists based in Norway in the 1990s. This decade saw a number of changes take place in Norwegian society, giving rise to issues that can be traced in the works on display. The viewer contributes – as Duchamp argued – to the creative act the work, and each work in the exhibition can resonate with a number of different aspects of the 1990s.(ii) Each person will have their own recollection of the period: it is near enough for the memories to still be fresh, though not sufficiently removed to create a sense of nostalgia for a time past.


Two events in the 1990s put the Norway’s sense of self under the lens: the 1993 EU referendum and the 1994 Winter Olympics. Both presented opportunities to show what the nation stood for, its history, idiosyncrasies and future paths, and contributed to the stereotype of a land of farmers, fishermen, stunning landscapes and healthy living. This glossy portrait did not include rising tensions between left and right-wing extremists, profound concerns about the continued fall-out of Chernobyl and greater levels of pollution, the fact that Norway had the highest number of drug overdoses in Europe, or the growing reliance on oil and gas export, leaving other industries decimated.


The propeller thematic is also reflected in the design for the exhibition, in which the moving image works are displayed on monitors, mounted in a circle, with partitions between them, intended to draw visitors in to the intimate space of each work, before propelling them onto the next each screen. The different pace, nature and feel of each work together create a visual and sonic cacophony, indicative of the complexity of social development - from the aspects that are heralded as uniquely positive to the darker sides of ‘progress’. It is hoped that the texture of the exhibition combined with viewers’ own recollections of the era, can create fleeting instances of polyphony, bringing different moments of the recent past into focus.


Ingrid Book & Carina Hedén’s What is spade culture actually all about? (2000) 66 min. Book & Hedén’s depiction of idyllic, bucolic setting in Sweden (Hedén’s native country) from which the artists gathered wild plum trees for an allotment garden in Malmö, which was later destroyed to enable housing development. Patience and a meticulous approach to farming dominates the pace of the film: the camera dwells on branches, leaves, and the wind rustling through the fruit trees, and resists the temptation to speed up to comply with the conventions of the documentary film genre. The work instead takes on a performative dimension, enacting the slowness and detailed approach of the process it depicts. 


Inger Lise Hansen’s Static (1995), 04:26, was originally shot on 16mm film. Her work uses stop-motion technique to animate different objects found at varying locations in the US, UK and Norway. The soundtrack is made up of ambient noise and static electricity, which compounds the emotive qualities of the time-lapse photography to create different vignettes of decay and destruction. The found objects or rubbish at various locations show natural landscapes battling the gradual build-up of debris, while the sweeping views of cityscapes suggests that the ever-expanding urban realm will gradually swallow up what is left of a relatively untouched nature.


Cathrine Constanse Gjelsnes’s video Bærtur (1998), 04:45 min (no sound) depicts a tranquil forest scene, in which some people are picking berries. The actors portray drug addicts, but their condition is not immediately apparent, not until one notices their staggering gait, which is woefully unsuited to the uneven terrain, and jars with the pleasant scenery. Originally conceived to be shown at the Jazid club in Oslo, the berry-swapping scene highlights the absurdity of the drug addict’s existence – the constant foraging for the next hit –underlining the ultimate pointlessness of the transaction.  


Ingebjørg Torgersen’s Tur-Retur Hit (1989) 5:42 (originally shot on 16mm film) shows a number of different people waiting for the train at Oslo’s Central Station. The soundtrack enhances certain aspects of the video’s ambient noise and the composition of scenes creates concentrated vignettes of intimate human behaviour. In a culture not renowned for it chattiness, Torgersen’s film presents an accurate portrait of everyday life. The individuals depicted seem atomised, removed from the world around them: nobody converses, except for with one official when the inevitable becomes clear. Even when nobody is going anywhere, silence prevails. And humour is subtly created in the absurdity of the situation.


JetZet Film (Vidar V. Olsen, Dag Stiberg and Sverre Strandberg) with their video Herr Blau (1999) 34:09 min. (originally shot on Super 8) playfully examines the role of the artist and the 1990s leitmotif of ‘individuality’. Oil is a recurring element: from its plastic properties that can be used in art-making to its detritus, and the artists are gradually poisoned by the blue petroleum food they consume. The video’s German narrator makes pretentious statements in his pieces to camera; despite being a self-proclaimed conceptual artist, the meta-work he is making alludes to the role of the curator, as it emerged in full in the 1990s.


Mattias Härenstam’s Hverdagliv i det post-utopiske velferdssamfunnet (Regnet) (1998) 7:54 min. depicts a man in bed in a sparse room, lit by a single lamp. The sound of pounding rain is the only soundtrack.  He passes the time by sleeping, masturbating, smoking and is visited by various nightmarish visions. He does not work, but lies in an apoplectic state of inaction, subject only to the bizarre machinations of his own subconscious. Even these are not enough to stir him into action, and the monster that visits him merely pads around the room before disappearing. Malaise and intransigence permeate the scene: everyday life is just one party after another, followed by the dull ache of recovery – after Utopia it always rains.


Natalie Hope O’Donnell

January 2013



* Still from Static, 16mm, Color, sound, 4:30 min, Inger Lise Hansen, 1995

(i) Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, June 2007. Online version.

(ii) Marcel Duchamp, 'The Creative Act', essay written for a lecture at The American Federation of Arts Convention in Houston, April 1957. Published originally in Art News 56, no 4 (summer 1957), pp. 28-29.



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Book Animation

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Retrospective Exhibition, Part 1

Retrospektiv: Film- og videokunst i Norge, 1960-90

30 Years of Motion


Utstillingen Retrospektiv: Film- og videokunst i Norge er et resultat av et forskningsprosjekt i regi av Atopia som tar for seg kunstneriske film- og videoarbeider fra 1960-tallet. Formålet er å utforske og utvikle den historiske konteksten for eksperimentell film og videokunst i Norge. Dette er første del av en utstillingstrilogi og retter oppmerksomheten mot arbeider produsert mellom 1960 og 1990.

Mange av kunstnerne i denne utstillingen er velkjente videokunstnere. Andre hører mer hjemme på kino enn i gallerier eller museer. Noen av filmarbeidene har aldri før vært plassert i en museumskontekst. De er likevel bemerkelsesverdige verker som hovedsakelig ble laget for kino på 1960- og 1970-tallet. Kjent som “frie kunstneriske kortfilmer” er de nært knyttet til samtidskunstneres filmatiske verker. Som dokumentararbeider er de kompromissløse i sine synspunkter, filmatiske stil og tilnærming, og som kortfilmer faller de utenfor den narrative produksjonsstandarden.  

Utstillingen består av 64 filmer og videoarbeider av 36 enkeltstående norske kunstnere foruten ti videoportretter fra 2010 og 2011.




                                                                          still from Running, Inghild Karlsen, 1988








© Atopia Stiftelse, 2013