Akershus Kunstsenter viser utstilling i Mexico City!

Utstillingen El Olvido Está lleno de Memoría (The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories) åpner i galleri MARSO, Mexico City, onsdag 27. juni. Utstillingen presenterer arbeider av kunstnerne Anders Sletvold Moe, Hanne Friis, Camilla Skibrek og Javier Barrios for det meksikanske publikummet. Utstillingen er kuratert av Rikke Komissar og Monica Holmen, og støttet av OCA.

Under følger pressemelding (på engelsk).Public opening

El Olvido Está lleno de Memoría
(The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories)  

Javier Barrios
Hanne Friis
Camilla Skibrek
Anders Sletvold Moe 

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are
directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence
and leading the individual towards freedom.»
(Albert Einstein, Moral Decay 1937)

In a time and age seemingly more defined by harsh categorisations and differentiating rather than the opposite, it seems logical to focus on shared traits – whether in people, nations or contemporary art for that matter. Humans and art are concepts often subject to such acts; yet they may just as easily elude categorisation by means of their multifaceted nature and shared traits.

Camilla Skibrek, Licking my way through wood
Camilla Skibrek, Licking my way through wood

The exhibition El Olvido Está lleno de Memoría presents works by Norwegian artists Javier Barrios, Hanne Friis, Anders Sletvold Moe and Camilla Skibrek. Recurrent in the pieces on display is an attentiveness towards materiality, and thoroughness in the meticulous processes that lie behind their works. Hours and hours of planning and working have been spent facilitating and making these unique artworks: Pieces of wood have been licked for four hours a day; cochenille lice have been collected and used to dye textiles; a number of shades of black have meticulously mixed and blended; and layer upon layer make up large-scale paintings.

There is also a somewhat sober and quiet presence about the pieces. Thus, it is tempting to say that they might represent something Scandinavian, a certain kind of austerity and coolness.

Another aspect recurrent in the exhibition is an exploration and questioning of history, cultural heritage, identity, time as a phenomenon and traces of human actions. The works on display deal with reciprocal impact among people, cultures and nature, albeit on different levels. Thus they open for questions about what influences nature have on people, and opposite; what traces do humans leave behind? How are people’s identities shaped by culture, and in what ways has history influenced individuals, societies and cultures? To what extent do we share the same traits and history – across borders and nation-states?

With a monumental site-specific wall-painting Anders Sletvold Moe are commenting on MARSO’s localities and the history of the old building. In his research, Sletvold Moe asked for photos of the gallery, and was struck by the pattern in the previous floor – now covered by a refurbished floor due to the earthquake’s destructions on the building. The old pattern now belongs to the past, and his wall-painting is a remembrance of this, a memory of the past.

In the exhibition, Sletvold Moe also presents two smaller paintings from his series Black Letters, which references modernist masters from the art history. Again the idea of remembrance and memory is evident. As a whole, Sletvold Moe’s works are characterised by being abstract and minimalist, yet they exude a certain presence in how they often replicate their surroundings, thus commenting on reciprocal impact between art and architecture, and implicitly also humans and history.

Humankind and questions regarding our history, culture, our relation to nature, and how everything is connected are imbedded in the works of Javier Barrios. In the exhibition he shows a site-specific installation consisting of large-scale paintings, smaller paintings and found-objects. By means of layers of paint thinned with turpentine – applied in a rather uncontrolled process on mylar, a semi-transparent polyester film – his work references how nature itself is out of human’s control. The installation may also trigger associations towards the universe, and how small and seemingly meaningless humans are in the end, time and geography considered. In its complex and multi-faceted nature, Barrios’ installation also reflects the complexity in nature, and also global society today.

Anders Sletvold Moe, detail
Anders Sletvold Moe, detail

The notion of time passing is a topic much contemplated by many, and also manifest in Camilla Skibrek’s small wooden sculpture titled Licking my way through wood. For four hours a day, Monday to Friday, over the course of six months, she literally licked her way through a piece of wood. The traces of her action on the sculpture are traces of the actual process that took place, and also the impact of her action in this limited time. Skibrek’s work brings about reflections on what labour actually is, how it is salaried, and also the gender differences that often occurs in terms of labour. Associations towards routines and rituals are also evident in her piece.

Skibrek also shows two photographs in the exhibition, which in their rather poetic appearance speak of human’s interaction with our surroundings and how we are shaped by the contexts and cultures surrounding us. What holds us back, if anything? What are our ties – for better or worse?

In the monumental ceiling-mounted textile sculptures by Hanne Friis, nature, materiality and time spent come together as a larger whole. Friis works with hand-sewn and hand-dyed textiles, usually coloured with natural materials such as leaves, bark and in the case of the sculptures here: the Mexican cochenille lice – which she began to explore when preparing for this exhibition. Associations to the organic and the amorphous are often triggered when confronted with her work. The relation between body and nature is also important to Friis, where the many shapes and structures of nature remind us of our own physicality. As with us humans, the nature is constantly changing and the term “nature” remains undefined.

Seen as a whole, the pieces included in El Olvido Está Lleno de Memoría (The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories) comment on aspects such as time passing and the marks it leave, and humans’ interactions with the surroundings – aspects we believe are relevant in both a Norwegian as well as a Mexican context. Thus the works can be said to communicate something universal about being human today.

With this exhibition Akershus Kunstsenter presents what we believe are some of the most interesting and significant contemporary voices of the Norwegian art scene today.

Javier Barrios, sketch
Javier Barrios, sketch

***

The exhibition is curated by Rikke Komissar and Monica Holmen, Akershus Kunstsenter Norway.

Thanks to Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) for generous support.
Thanks to MARSO for collaboration on this project.  

Javier Barrios (b. 1979, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) received his diploma from The Academy of Fine Art, Oslo and from School of Visual Arts in New York. His work has been exhibited in several exhibitions throughout Europe and the US, including Kunstnernes Hus, Trafo Kunsthall, LYNX Gallery, Outlet Gallery, Muskegon Museum of Art, Triumph and Disaster Gallery, Schaufenster Gallery, Rod Bianco Gallery and Galleri K. Barrios attended residencies at ISCP in New York and Galeria MARSO in Mexico City. He is also editor of VECTOR Productions. In 2012 Akershus Kunstsenter presented Javier Barrios and his solo exhibition Black Matter.

Anders Sletvold Moe (b. 1978 in Norway, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) is MFA graduate from Malmö Art Academy, Malmö, Sweden. Sletvold Moe has made a name for himself with abstract and minimalist site-specific projects, often hailing from the modernist tradition with a strict attention to detail. Sletvold Moe has several acclaimed exhibitions in his portfolio. He has showed at Høstutstillingen [the Annual Autumn Exhibition Norway], had a solo exhibition at the Vigeland Museum, and was part of NN-A NN-A NN-A New Norwegian Abstraction shown at the Astrup Fearnely Museum in 2015. Sletvold Moe has done several public art projects, and is represented by Elastic Gallery, Stockholm. In 2016 Akershus Kunstsenter presented Anders Sletvold Moe and his solo exhibition Openings.

Camilla Skibrek (b. 1984 in Norway, lives and works in Oslo) trained The Mountain School of Arts – Los Angeles, Academy of Fine Arts, Bergen, and the Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo. Skibrek has shown several exhibitions, among others are solo show at Akershus Kunstsenter, Galleri NoPlace, Oslo, Charlottenburg Kunsthall, Sverige, DOX Center for Contemporary Art, Praha, and Tag Team Studio, Bergen. She has received several public stipends, and contributed a commissioned piece at Oslo International Acting Festival.

Hanne Friis (b. 1972 in Norway, lives and works in Oslo, Norway) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Trondheim, Norway. Over the past years she has exhibited extensively across Europe, among exhibtions are duo show Disclosing The Uncanny with Iraqi artist Athar at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, and solo shows at Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo (2016) and Gustavsberg Konsthall, Gustavsberg, Sweden (2010). Among group shows are Soft Monuments, KODE Art Museum, Bergen (2015); Vi lever på en stjerne, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (2014); Attention: Craft!, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm (2014); Tusen tråder, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum (2013); Sculpture Biennial, Vigeland Museum, Oslo (2013). Friis has done several public art projects, among others are Sentralen, Oslo (Sparebankstiftelsen DNB) and NMBU, Ås. Her work is also aquired by National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture, Norway; Oslo municipality collection; KODE Bergen; Nordenfjeldske Museum of Arts and Crafts, Trondheim; Northern Norway Art Museum. Hanne Friis had a solo exhibition at Akershus Kunstsenter in May 2017.