Press Releases : 2019/03

Press release: Frida Orupabo to take part in the 58th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia

Published 2019/03/07

Untitled, 2018, collage with paper pins mounted on aluminium 106 x 80 cm, currently on view in the solo exhibition 'Medicine for a Nightmare' at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo. Photographer: Carl Henrik Tillberg. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake.

Press release: Frida Orupabo to take part in the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

The Biennale Arte 2019 exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times, is curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery, London. The Exhibition will develop from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and will include 79 artists from all over the world.

Frida Orupabo is a Norwegian-Nigerian artist who lives and works in Oslo. A solo exhibition of her digital collages, with photographs from personal archives and found images, is currently on display at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo. Orupabo works closely with the American artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa, whose work she has also included in her exhibition titled 'Medicine for a Nightmare'.

Orupabo has received wide praise for her work that explores themes of race, sexuality, violence, identity and colonialism, and her work has previously been exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, London and the Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Orupabo is educated as a sociologist and works as a social consultant in Oslo alongside her artistic practice. Her work was recently included in the collection of the National Museum of Art in Oslo, in addition to a number of international collections.

Ralph Rugoff has declared: 'May You Live in Interesting Times will no doubt include artworks that reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the "post-war order.” But let us acknowledge at the outset that art does not exercise its forces in the domain of politics. Art cannot stem the rise of nationalist movements and authoritarian governments in different parts of the world, for instance, nor can it alleviate the tragic fate of displaced peoples across the globe (whose numbers now represent almost one percent of the world’s entire population).'

'But in an indirect fashion, perhaps art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times.’ The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. The Exhibition will focus on the work of artists who challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations. Art of this kind grows out of a practice of entertaining multiple perspectives: of holding in mind seemingly contradictory and incompatible notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world. Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualising them. Animated by boundless curiosity and puncturing wit, their work encourages us to look askance at all unquestioned categories, concepts and subjectivities. It invites us to consider multiple alternatives and unfamiliar vantage points, and to discern the ways in which "order” has become the simultaneous presence of diverse orders.'

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) has been responsible for Norway's contribution to the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia since 2001.The lead commissioner of the 2019 Nordic Pavilion will be the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / Finnish National Gallery. The exhibition Weather Report: Forecasting Future is curated by Kiasma’s director Leevi Haapala and curator Piia Oksanen, and includes work by Norwegian artist Ane Graff. The co-commissioners of the other Nordic countries are Moderna Museet’s co-director Ann-Sofi Noring and OCA director Katya García-Antón. OCA will be the lead commissioner of the Nordic Pavilion exhibition in 2021.

The pre-opening of the 58th International Art Exhibition will take place on May 8th, 9th and 10th 2019. In order to get access to the pre-opening you have to register at

For press inquiries about the 58th International Art Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia May You Live In Interesting Times, please contact:
La Biennale di Venezia press office

For inquiries about OCA’s role as co-commissioners in Venice, please contact:

Ingrid Moe, OCA Head of External Relations and Communications

Eirin Torgersen, OCA Communication Officer