Press Releases : 2010/01

Workshop and Project Organized by Mikkel Astrup

Published 2010/01/28

Bruce Nauman, Run from Fear, Fun from Rear, 1972. Courtesy of Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo, Norway


'On Literarity':

A workshop on Samuel Beckett's Writings
From 11:00 to 16:00

Project: 'Bruce Nauman: Run from Fear, Fun from Rear, (1972)'

Opening: 18:00

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Nedre gate 7, Oslo /

Project Space opening hours: Wed, Fri and Sat / 12–16:00, Thur / 12:00–18:00

About the workshop

As a part of the project 'Columns, Grottos, Niches: The Grammar of Forms – On Art Criticism, Writing, Publishing and Distribution' Mikkel Astrup, a Research Fellow at the University of Oslo in the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, organises a workshop on the prose of Samuel Beckett: In an increasingly plastic life, challenged by sophisticated intellectual control, biochemistry and genetics alike, what are the criteria for a literary subgenre that can do justice to this situation? This workshop will explore this by revisiting the plastic qualities of Samuel Beckett's prose. Beckett's literature is singular in its use of socio-cultural and physical resistances to articulation. His frequent reversals of historical and socio-cultural impact, from signification to psychophysical imprints, were seen as comical obstacles to expression in his own time. In the contemporary context, the interest of his writing might reside in the capacity his techniques have to expand the realm of creative linguistic composition. The discussion will draw on selected texts by Beckett, theoretical texts, literary samples and works of J.M. Coetzee and Bruce Nauman.

This event is free and open to the public. However, it requires registration in advance. To register or for more information on how to obtain preparatory readings, please contact Anne Charlotte Hauen at

About the Speaker

Mikkel Astrup (b. 1973, Oslo, Norway) is Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway. His fields of research and teaching are literary theory, derivatives of psychoanalysis, and writing. Astrup is currently developing a hypothesis on contemporary writing in his doctorate on Samuel Beckett's prose. He is also a freelance writer, publishing with journals and anthologies on Samuel Beckett, Neo-liberalism, politics, and desire.

About the project

As a part of the project 'Columns, Grottos, Niches: The Grammar of Forms – On Art Criticism, Writing, Publishing and Distribution', Astrup's workshop 'On Literarity' is accompanied by a presentation of Bruce Nauman's work Run from Fear, Fun from Rear, 1972. Bruce Nauman conducted several readings of Samuel Beckett's work, perhaps most notoriously the Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk) of 1968, paying homage to the awkward walks of Watt (1945) and Molloy (1951). A comparative reading of the work of the two authors will illuminate how close Beckett came to treat words and meaning as plastic material, broadening the scope for possible definitions of what literarity might be.

About the Artist

Bruce Nauman (b. 1941, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA) has been recognized since the early 1970s as one of the most innovative and provocative of America's contemporary artists. In a rejection of traditional materials, Nauman – who is best known for his sculpture and installation works – employs fiberglass, styrofoam, and neon lighting to create confrontational and visceral viewing experiences. Language also plays a central role as a visual tool, becoming both a provocative signifier and aesthetic object. Nauman's works have been widely shown; in 2009 he was awarded the Golden Lion for the Best National Participation in the U.S. Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale for his exhibition 'Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens'.

About 'The Grammar of Forms'

'Columns, Grottos, Niches: The Grammar of Forms – On Art Criticism, Writing, Publishing and Distribution' is a series public events, workshops and presentations from autumn 2009 to spring of 2010 at OCA's premises at Nedre gate 7, with the aim to look at language, writing, criticism and publishing in relation to contemporary art, exploring its diverse modes of operation and possibilities within historical and contemporary practices. In these public events, writers, artists, critics, publishers and theorists investigate different experiences of and approaches to writing and language, specifically in relation to art. These events have a pedagogical remit, and are accompanied by a series of projects including presentations of artworks and libraries of publications, made available to the public for consultation and reading. Past speakers include Peter Osborne, Ina Blom, Will Bradley, Anne Hilde Neset and Stuart Bailey. Upcoming speakers include Will Bradley and Ecke Bonk.

The exhibition component of 'Columns, Grottos, Niches: The Grammar of Forms' is designed and installed by tenfinger, Brussels, Belgium.

For press inquiries and more information on the project, the lecture or the OCA semesterplan, please contact Marthe Tveitan at