Atopia has the pleasure of inviting you to the opening of a new exhibition curated by Marianne Zamecznik.
FORM AGAINST BACKGROUND // FORM MOT BAKGRUNN
still from: Northern Lights, 16mm film, Rolf Aamot, 1991
Inger Lise Hansen
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:
ATOPIA Gallery Hours: 12:00 – 16:00 (Th. Fri. Sat) also by appointment for groups
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
* 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.
Now Available Online!
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