Forms of Modern Life is a publication which results from the exhibition of the same title that was held at the Office for Contemporary Art Norway from 9 March to 25 June 2011 as curated by Marta Kuzma and Pablo Lafuente. Forms of Modern Life considers the process by which the graphic form becomes, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a universal, egalitarian form of expression, moved both by a development of formal and technical concerns and by the intention to communicate to wider audiences and heighten art’s political efficacy. The project explores how artists such as Thomas Bewick, Frans Masereel and Albert Jærn in printed form, Hannah Ryggen through her tapestries and Peder Balke and Lars Hertervig in their paintings employed graphic forms to address the world in which they lived, picturing their environment and the cultural and political changes of their time, and trying to intervene in their contexts by combining narration and the vernacular and embracing the role of the artist as a modern, self-reflective subject.
The book, like the exhibition, draws from and expands upon Guttorm Guttormsgaard's archives, which includes publications and printed matter that the artist has gathered from nearly six centuries of history, in an attempt to always select ‘the modern’.
Edited by OCA’s Antonio Cataldo, the book contains an essay by the exhibition curators and an interview with Guttorm Guttormsgaard by Ellef Prestsæter.