12 December

The most memorable art experiences of 2021, according to artist Knut Åsdam.

Dora García, Si pudiera desear algo (If I Could Wish for Something), 2021. Still from video. Photo: Gisela Castillo.

Dora Garcia, If I Could Wish for Something, Fotogalleriet, Oslo

Dora Garcia’s exhibition at Fotogalleriet, If I Could Wish for Something, possessed a very special kind of meaningful excess. To me, the film Si pudiera desear algo (2021) made a particularly strong impression. Based on footage shot by proxy of feminist protest rallies against the handling and fetishisation, by media and authorities, of murders of women in Mexico, Garcia turns the trans- woman known as “the witch from texcoco” and the protest rallies themselves into main protagonists. Strong and direct in its political portrayal of events, the film is also a celebration of resistance and deviation.

Lucy Raven, Ready Mix, 2021. Stillbilde fra video.

Lucy Raven, Ready Mix, Dia Chelsea, New York City

In Ready Mix (2021), one half of Lucy Raven’s exhibition at Dia Chelsea, issues of place and usage from the late 1990s are revisited in an overwhelming but precise formalism. My reaction probably came from an experiential deficit more than anything else: I have spent the last few years increasingly fragmenting my work to the point of making it difficult to create a piece as such. But here I was met with an extremely holistic work, a kind of update of Minimalist aesthetics yet without devolving into meaningless formalism – excessive, yet clear. The impressive visuality and integrated rhythmic musicality nevertheless revealed an impoverishment of the earth, the landscape, and how we interpret it.

Sanjey Sureshkumar, Tigermelk, 2021. Car with custom made car audio system, HD film shown on car stereo display, 12 min, loop. Photo:
Snorre Aun Sætereng.

BA degree show, Nordland School of Arts and Film, Lofoten, curated by Camilla Fagerli

The exhibition that made the strongest impression on me this year, was the degree show of the BA graduates at the Nordland School of Arts and Film. A complete contrast to Lucy Raven’s exhibition, it took place in an old dilapidated villa on top of a hill in Skårungen in Lofoten. Iggy Augunset, August Strand Iversen, Håkon Midtsundstad, Thomas Lafuente, Sanjey Sureshkumar, Lise Ulvedahl Carlsen, and Ellen Vikström used film, performance, installation, and sound in ways that I experienced as acutely in touch with their time. Lower exhibition budgets are difficult to find, but it reminded me of why I work in this field at all. Thank you!

Knut Åsdam is an artist working in the expanded field of new narrative film, as well as with sculpture, installation art, and photography. He runs the Oblique Institute, an organisation for the production and discussion of moving images. Åsdam has had extensive presentations at the Venice Biennale, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, MoMA PS1, and various film festivals and cinemas. He is currently working on a five-year film project from Oslo. Åsdam is a professor at Nordland School of Arts and Film.

For this year’s contributions to the Advent Calendar, see here.