News : 2013/09

`Fashion: the Fall of an Industry'

Published 2013/09/27

Elisabeth Haarr, EEC – threatening us (EEC – truer oss), 1972
© Elisabth Haarr / BONO 2013
Photo: Jette Petersen

Norsk versjon


'Fashion: the Fall of an Industry'

17 October–12 December 2013
Thursdays, 7pm /
11 December 2013
Wednesday, 7pm

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Nedre Gate 7
0551 Oslo

In Norway, like in other countries, the handicrafts of today have their origins in quite diverse requirements. They are cultivated, in part, in an attitude of protest against a spreading industrialisation process.
— Alf Bøe, Norwegian Craftsmen Today, 1973

For me sewing is about politics, re-conquering a form of expression that for too many is affiliated with the bourgeoisie and the Victorian era, but it is something that everyone has done in every corner of the world throughout history. I sew because I am a woman and want to tell others that this is our language. I sew because I don't believe in equalisation, but emancipation. Equalisation is about women becoming like men and men like women, while emancipation involves self-respect and an understanding of the culture, so one can break down barriers in one’s own condition.
— Elisabeth Haarr, ‘Fantasy in Service of the People’, 2008

What I create is far from the ‘classically academic’. Sugai & Tamayo, Billie Holiday, Garner & Mingus have all been my role models. Ornament, symmetry and rhythm are my starting points, more than anatomy and realism. Poetry and folk music stand closer to me than the ‘Old Masters’. The visual language and the experience is important, not the ‘art’. The experience value is the true value for the sender and receiver, not the price tag.
— Sidsel Paaske, Moments [Eye-gazes], undated

OCA presents 'Fashion: the Fall of an Industry', a programme of lectures analysing the period of the 1970s in Norway, which saw a decline of employment in the textile industry. Through the interplay of garments, textile-production techniques and weaving processes, artists such as Brit Fuglevaag, Elisabeth Haarr and Sidsel Paaske found expression in a worldwide wave of labour militancy, developing techniques and practices fuelled by a strong sense of political entitlement.

Typically located in small communities in the western part of the country, Norwegian textile industry employment fell by 41% during the 1970s, creating a phenomenon of reabsorptive recruitment with the expansion of the welfare state as employer. While this passage created turmoil in other Scandinavian and Western countries, in Norway the role of the state became prominent, witnessing a passage of the majority of the employees from the industry into the welfare state.

Artists took different positions in their work, reacting to and reflecting upon the insurgent issues of industrialisation in its more unforeseen aspects: the need of care for both the environment and workers, the outsourcing of production and its social consequences.

When growth began to falter in the late 1960s, in the midst of a post-war crisis felt throughout the Western world, the endemic conflict between capitalist markets and democratic politics, which up until then had sustained the political-economic peace formula between capital and labour (with a combination of an expanding welfare state, the rights of workers to free collective bargaining, regular wage increases, governments commitment to full employment) led to turbulence which pre-empted and shaped a global crisis. The programme will provide a historical view upon how local policies shaped different reactions in different countries and upon the alignment of global patterns of concerns.


Thursday, 17 October, 7pm
In the Shadow of the Beat Generation. Norwegian Textile Art Crossing Borders 1960–1980
Jorunn Haakestad

Thursday, 24 October, 7pm
94 Years Later: Putting the Bauhaus into Perspective. On Art & Design, Identity & Gender
Anja Baumhoff

Thursday, 31 October, 7pm
Photography and Fashion in Mali
Manthia Diawara

Thursday, 7 November, 7pm
On Textile Structures
Rike Frank

Thursday, 14 November, 7pm
Feminism, Trockel Fashion
Anne Wagner

Thursday, 21 November, 7pm
On Beauty: Textile Aesthetics within a Feminist Perspective
Elisabeth Haarr
Followed by a conversation with Jan-Lauritz Opstad, Brit Fuglevaag and Benedicte Sunde

Thursday, 28 November, 7pm
Radical Design as Resistance: Rei Kawakubo and Her Followers
Yuko Hasegawa

Thursday, 5 December, 7pm
Division of Labour: Textile as a Gendered Medium in Norwegian Art in the 1970s
Jorunn Veiteberg

Wednesday, 11 December, 7pm
Globalisation, Image Production and La Javanaise
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh
Followed by a conversation with Mike Sperlinger

Thursday, 12 December, 7pm
Costumes, Textiles, Music
Linder Sterling
in conversation with Anne Hilde Neset
Followed by Rob Young presenting an audio-illustrated lecture on the connections between textiles, costumes and philosophies of sound and performance

For press inquiries and to obtain press images, please contact OCA's Acting Web and Information Manager Petter Dotterud Anthun.

'Fashion: the Fall of an Industry' is organised in cooperation with the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO), Visual Arts Department (Kunstfag). The closing event of the programme is organised in collaboration with nyMusikk, Oslo.

Fram Kitagawa participates in OCA's International Visitor Programme

Published 2013/09/13

Oscar Oiwa, Scarecrow Project (2012), Site view from the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Tokamachi City and Tsunan Town, Niigata Prefecture, Japan / 29 July–17 September 2012. Photo: Anzai

OCA Announces
Fram Kitagawa
to participate within
OCA's International Visitor Programme

18–20 September 2013

Fram Kitagawa participates in OCA's international Visitor Programme from 18 to 20 September 2013. During his visit in Oslo he will be holding meetings, conduct research and visit several institutions in town.

Fram Kitagawa is a curator, professor and writer based in Toyko, Japan. He is the General Director for Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, General Director for Setouchi Triennale 2013 and Acting Director, Chichu Art Museum, Naoshima. Kitagawa is a professor at the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo. Since his graduation from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music he has organised numerous exhibitions and events on grass-roots level, introducing Japan to works of art previously rarely exhibited inside the country. This included, among others, the 'Antonio Gaudí' exhibition that took place in eleven different cities from 1978-1979. Since 1996 he has acted as the general coordinator for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Necklace Project and as general coordinator for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, for which he received the Minister of General Affairs' Prize in 2000, and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize in 2006. He is also the recipient of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France, the Order of Culture from Poland and the Order of Australia: Honorary Member (AM) in the General Division, among other awards. Kitagawa has initiated numerous art projects related to urban, architectural and regional community development. His major public art projects include the Faret Tachikawa Art Project, Kyoto Station Billboards Project, Sapporo Dome and Kushiro Civic Core.

OCA's International Visitor Programme (IVP)
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway runs an International Visitor Programme to support international curators and cultural producers in their research in Norway for upcoming exhibitions and projects. Participation in the programme is by invitation although requests for visits are considered based on availability when addressed to OCA.

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a foundation created by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in autumn 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a key contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.

Toril Johannessen and Elmgreen & Dragset at the 13th Istanbul Biennial

Published 2013/09/11

Toril Johannessen, Extraordinary Popular Delusions (2012). Installation view from 'When you step inside it is filled with seeds' at Ottoneum as part of dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany / 9 June–16 September 2012. Photo: Anders Sune Berg


the participation of Toril Johannessen and Elmgreen & Dragset
at the 13th Istanbul Biennial:
'Mom, am I Barbarian?'

Exhibition dates: 14 September–20 October 2013
Press preview: 12–13 September

Curator: Fulya Erdemci

13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey

The 13th edition of the Istanbul Biennial borrows its title; ‘Mom, am I Barbarian?’ from Turkish poet Lale Müldür’s book, that focuses on the theme of public space as a political forum, and will be held between 14 September and 20 October 2013. According to curator Fulya Erdemci ‘the idea of the public domain has diverse historic, philosophical, theoretical and geopolitical roots and definitions. This highly contested concept will serve as a matrix in order to generate ideas and develop practices that question contemporary forms of democracy, challenge current models of spatio-economic politics, problematise the given concepts of civilisation and barbarity as standardised positions and languages and, above all, unfold the role of contemporary art as an agent that both makes and unmakes what is considered public’.

Toril Johannessen has been invited to present Extraordinary Popular Delusions, previously shown during dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany. The work consists of a projector, custom-built in the style of an old historical magic lantern that displays an image of the sun. The work 'relates to energy cycles and economy by establishing a metaphorical and material relationship between the source of light and the projected image through the use of petroleum, an outcrop of the earth. The works’ concern overlap with that of the biennial by relating to economy, like the “secret cycles” of finance, stock-market prices and sunspot cycles’.

Elmgreen & Dragset will take part in the biennial with a site-specific project, where they question public domain from different perspectives, aiming to ‘address the generational breaks and historical transformations experienced in both public space and the political realm in Istanbul’. The project will take place in the Galata Greek Primary School, built on an existing inclination within their oeuvre. In a performance in 2003 in Paris, France, five young men were invited to spend the duration of the exhibition thinking, keeping journals and writings in notebooks inside a space full of desks. The artists later included these writings in a publication. These works ‘function as a way of returning to themes of personal and subjective existence, collective thought and individual time, recalling that politics is a problem of language above all else’.

For press inquiries, please contact the Coordinator for International Press Elif Obdan.

Toril Johannessen (b.1978 in Trondheim, Norway, lives and works in Bergen, Norway) holds a BA and MA from the Bergen National Academy of Arts and was trained at the Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles, CA, USA. She was one of the participating artists in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). Her work has been presented at Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Bergen Art Museum, Bergen, Norway; CSA Space in Vancouver, Canada and INCA, Detroit, MI, USA, among others.

Elmgreen & Dragset is an artist duo consisting of Michael Elmgreen (b.1961 in Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b.1968 in Trondheim, Norway). They have been working together in London, UK and Berlin, Germany since 1995. Presentations of their work include 'The Fourth Plinth', Trafalgar Square, London, UK (2012-13); Performa 11, New York, NY, USA, (2011); 'Celebrity: The One and the Many', ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2011) and ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (2010). In 2009 Elmgreen & Dragset curated the international exhibition within the Nordic and Danish pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, which was awarded with a special mention by the jury for their curatorial work.

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a foundation created by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in autumn 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a key contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.

Bjarne Melgaard and Ann Lislegaard at the 12th Lyon Biennial

Published 2013/09/10

Installation view of 'A New Novel by Bjarne Melgaard', (2012). Courtesy of the Biennale de Lyon


the participation of artists Bjarne Melgaard and Ann Lislegaard
at the 12th Biennale de Lyon: 'Meanwhile… Suddenly, and Then’

Exhibition dates: 12 September 2013–5 January 2014
Professional preview: 10–11 September

Curator: Gunnar B. Kvaran

12th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France

According to the organisers of the 12th Biennale de Lyon, curator Gunnar B. Kvaran has invited artists who 'work in the narrative field and use art to experiment with the modalities and mechanisms of storytelling’. Kvaran states that ‘for some decades now, artists have been more concerned with creating new narrative structures for their stories, whether real or imaginary, and for their experiences, whether major or minor. The starting point is no longer the matter and technique of traditional painting or sculpture, but a concept, an idea or a story, which is then given concrete form. Up to a certain point it can even be said that the originality of the artistic act hinges on the originality of narrative constructions marked by great diversity of materials and innovative forms of spatial organisation’. For the 12th edition the exhibition will include work by 70 artists from 21 different countries that reflect the curatorial theme. Artists among others, include James Richards, Hiraki Sawa, Hannah Weinberger, Tabor Robak, Matthew Barney, Helen Marten, Jeff Koons, Karl Haendel, Dineo SesheeBopape, Ed Atkins, Yoko Ono, Robert Gober, Mary Sibande, Paulo Nimer Pjota and Mette Edvardsen.

In this context Ann Lislegaard will present her new video animation, based on Philip Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheeps?. The video presents two owls, inspired by the replicant owl from the movie Blade Runner, engaged in a monologue consisting of aphorisms. The different fragments of the animation can be viewed as ‘prophecies from the I-Ching or a feminist speaking in tongues’. Lislegaard sees science fiction 'as an experimental take-off point for the invention of new narrative structures’.

Bjarne Melgaard will present new installations from his recent solo exhibition ‘A New Novel’, that shares its title with his latest novel. The installations, created in collaboration with designers and craftspeople, are based on the story of the novel; ‘its protagonist’s tortured infatuation with a doorman and the willing degradations of a surrounding cast of characters, an exploration of the ways in which sex and violence dovetail with love and loneliness’. This work is meant to illustrate his ‘defying of established narrative norms, his overlapping ideas and digressions, confronting reality in all its chaotic splendour’.

For press inquiries, please contact Goldmann Public Relations at

Gunnar B. Kvaran (b.1965 in Reykjavik, Iceland, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) has since 2001 been the Director of the Astrup Fearnly Museum in Oslo. He holds a PhD in Art History from l´Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France. From 1989 to 1997 he served as Director of The Reykjavik Art Museum and was the Director of The Bergen Art Museum in Bergen, Norway, from 1997 to 2001. Kvaran was the commissioner and curator for the Icelandic pavilion at the International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1990.

Ann Lislegaard (b.1962 in Tønsberg, Norway, lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark and New York, NY, USA) holds a MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she also served as a professor from 2004 to 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Tapping of the Fox Sisters’, Marabouparken Contemporary Art Centre, Sundbyberg, Sweden (2010); ‘What if, MOCAD’, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI, USA (2009); ‘2062, Ann Lislegaard’, The Henry Art Museum, Seattle, WA, USA (2009). Her work has been presented at the group exhibitions ‘The Smithson Effect’, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, UT, USA (2011); Busan Biennale 2010, Busan Museum of Art, South Korea (2010); ‘Wall of Sound’, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, New Zealand (2010): 'Power Games’, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary (2010); 'Automatic Cities’, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA (2009); ‘Nyerhvervelser 2007–2008’, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2009), among others.

Bjarne Melgaard (b.1967 in Sydney, Australia, lives and works in New York, NY, USA) studied at the Jan van Eycke Academie, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Rijksacademie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Oslo National Academy of the Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at public institutions such as Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum, Tønsberg, Norway (2012); Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen, Norway; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; de Appel, Amsterdam (2010); Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen (2003); MARTa Herford, Herford, Germany and Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy (2002). In 2011, Melgaard represented Norway at La Biennale di Venezia, with the teaching programme ‘Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS’, commissioned and organised by Office for Contemporary Art Norway, together with the lecture series 'The State of Things'.

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a foundation created by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in autumn 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a key contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.

`Alluvium', a Solo Exhibition by Morten Norbye Halvorsen at Objectif Exhibitions

Published 2013/09/03

Morten Norbye Halvorsen, Still from Vertical Belongings, 2013. Courtesy of the artist


A Solo Exhibition by
Morten Norbye Halvorsen

Curator: Chris Fitzpatrick

14 September–23 October 2013
Opening: Saturday, 14 September / 2–5pm

Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, Belgium

From 14 September to 23 October 2013 Objectif Exhibitions presents 'Alluvium', a solo exhibition by Morten Norbye Halvorsen, aiming to present the artist's diverse practice, consisting of sound, film, sculpture, photography, performance and the internet.

The exhibition comprises of two video projections that alternate on a single screen, surrounded by four speakers that 'fill the basement with visual and auditory images, inquiry, procedures and temporality’.

The first projection is Placer, which is 'set in an alluvial gold field in Finnmark, Norway. Tracking shots of forest foilage, sorted rocks, concave fields and other matter cuiminate with metamorphic dolomites by the Barents Sea. Both the imagery and sound operate as characters, at times, synchronised, at others, independently'. Vertical Belongings developes as a 'sequence of images slides, which morph and advance within set parameters. Two horizontal, one vertical, but all three overlaid with their configurations triggered by sounds forged in Halvorsen’s studio. This procession of dislocated information alternates with Placer on loop-cycling bits of paper, sticks, rubber, copper, mung beans, dripping acid and danceable square waves’.

A third screen is displaying Halvorsen’s project '', 'a remote repository, accessible from anywhere as an ongoing publication, "depot for rebooting and reanimating desktop sedimentation"'.

According to curator Chris Fitzpatrick '"Alluvium" is firmly grounded in nature. Or, perhaps less fixed than that. Erosion is, after all, a complex process of conveyance, which leaves pastoral traces, as clay, silt, sand, or gravel congeal. Water moves as it will, and reshapes the earth in its wake. Yet these currents leave other, more symbolically valuable, traces, gold and platinum ore, gemstones. Value lures other forces, whose prospection causes erosion of another sort, a material and relational choreography, explained away through mythology (by those who remain), and abandoned (by those who don’t) to be orated geologically'.

For press inquiries please contact Objectif Exhibitions at

Morten Norbye Halvorsen (b.1980 in Stavanger, Norway, lives and works in Hundvåg, Norway) is a graduate of Falmouth College of Arts, Cornwall, UK and The Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norway. He participated in the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, in Venice, Italy (2013), which was awarded with a special mention for National Participation. Among other recent exhibitions and performances are 'The Museum Problem', Frutta Gallery, Rome, Italy (2012); 'Run, Comrade, the Old World is Behind You', Kunsthall Oslo (2011); 'A Clock That Runs on Mud', Galeria Stereo, Poznan, Poland (2011); 'More or Less, A Few Pocket Universes', Gallery Augusta (HIAP), Helsinki, Finland (2011); 'Champagne Polka', Gaudel de Stampa, Paris, France (2011); 'Token Took', Chert gallery, Berlin, Germany (2011); 'Clifford Irving Show', Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, Belgium (2010); 'Repetition Island', Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); 'Paper Exhibition', Artists Space, New York, NY, USA (2009) and 'Clifford Irving Show', New Langton Arts, San Francisco, CA, USA (2008).

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a foundation created by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in autumn 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a key contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.