“Europe, Europe” Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo Through February 1, 2015
Over the last ten years the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo has organized several exhibitions that aptly illustrate the current art scenes going on in various places around the globe. Some of the most notable of these projects depicting the cutting-edge art being created in South America, North America and Asia have been the shows “Uncertain States of America”, “China Power Station”, “Indian Highway” and “Imagine Brazil”. This year, however, the museum has turned its eye towards Europe, and this new exhibition features works by 30 young artists from eight European cities: Berlin, Paris, London, Prague, Lisbon, Zurich and Oslo. The central theme of the exhibition is artist mobility and the interaction between art and culture that has emerged since the establishment of the European Union. After Oslo, the exhibition will travel on to other European countries. The trio of curators who assembled this group of young talent is rather impressive itself – Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Boutoux, and Gunnar B. Kvaran, the director of the museum.
André Romão. Europa, 2013. Digital print on paper, acrylic glass frames. Variable
Gard Andreas Frantzsen, Head of Communications at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, was gracious enough to answer a few questions for Arterritory.com's Express Interview.
The focus of this exhibition is Europe. What about the Baltic States? There is no one from the three Baltic countries on the list of participating artists.
The exhibition is the first in a series, and in collaboration with other museums or exhibition spaces, “Europe, Europe” will cumulatively cover the entire continent by the end of the project, which will span several years. Each time the exhibition moves to a new institution, the constellation of European cities will grow as each institution replaces four of the eight cities with four new ones. Although this would be up to the specific institutions to decide, it is absolutely possible that the Baltic countries will be included through the selection of one of its cities.
Camille Henrot. Living Underwater, 2013. Plasma monitor, monitor mount, wood frame, wood block, steel (41 sec. in loop). 165,1 x 114,3 x 153 cm
Europe is a continent that consists of various different nations and cultural entities, a fact that makes the European art scene more diverse than the previously studied art scenes. Doesn’t the exclusion of certain regions paint an incomplete picture of this scene?
The exhibition in Oslo presents the art scenes of eight European cities, and as the following venues replace these eight with other cities, the idea is that the mapping will cumulatively develop. Therefore, in its totality, the project will allow for an increasingly detailed mapping of the manifold art scenes found in Europe.
Thanks to the development of the EU, artists have taken advantage of the fading of frontiers and have established themselves in places where they see new possibilities. How is this fact manifested in the exhibition?
Interestingly, in the Oslo exhibition there is an American that works in Lisbon, a New Zealander that is based in Berlin, and a Belgian artist that lives and works in New York. As for the alternative art spaces that have been invited to make an exhibition within an exhibition, there is the example of the New Theatre, which was founded by two American artists – Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff.
As European artists are no longer being attached to their home countries, and as the art schools in Europe increasingly provide similar programs, can we still speak about the European art scene as being diverse? Won’t it resemble a more homogeneous cluster in the future?
That is an interesting question, and one aspect that this project intends to address is precisely what the Bologna Process has meant for the artists who have been educated and now work within the European art scenes. However, it is way too early to come to conclusions, but hopefully some useful analysis of the situation will arise at a later point within the timescale of the project.
Katja Novitskova. Approximation (shoebill), 2014. Digital print on aluminum, cutout display. 180 x 135 x 35 cm
In the exhibition’s press release, it was stated that “the exhibition's curators – Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Boutoux and Gunnar B. Kvaran – have formed an 'organic curator model' that allows the exhibition to change and evolve over time”. Could you please give us a more detailed definition of this “organic curator model”?
In addition to selecting artists, they have chosen one correspondent (a local expert) and one alternative exhibition space from each of the eight cities featured – Oslo, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, London, Zurich, Prague and Lisbon/Porto. The correspondents have, subsequently, invited two additional artists to be included in the exhibition. Throughout the autumn, the alternative spaces will create a number of exhibitions and projects within the exhibition, with separate openings specially conceived for “Europe, Europe”. By putting this model to work, and in collaboration with other museums and exhibition spaces, “Europe, Europe” will cumulatively cover the entire continent by the end of the project – a process that will span several years. As the constellation of European cities grows, each institution replaces four of the eight cities with four new ones. In many ways, the curators have very carefully organized a model that allows for unknown developments as more artists, curators, critics and correspondents are included in the project.