Nordic News
Week Ending 12 October

From this week's Nordic edition: Visual arts budget increase in Norway, Raija Koli as FRAME's new director, Ministry rejects OCA's plea for funding of Munch Project at Venice Biennale 2013.

Power Ekroth. Photo: Petter Lehto.

This week, Norway’s culture minister Hadia Tajik presented the 2013 cultural budget which contained an increase of 889.3 million kroner—the most going towards visual arts, the budget for which will increase approximately ten percent, totaling 441.4 million kroner aligning with the parliament’s support for visual arts expressed in the May White Paper. The Norwegian culture budget has almost doubled after the coalition government took power in 2005 and now totals 9.95 billion. Original article in Norwegian (08.10.12).

Up until the opening of the 7th Momentum Biennial in Moss in June 2013, curators Power Ekroth and Erlend Hammer will document their process on their blog; one may now read their diary on Nordic art, curating, personal observations and peripheral issues. In contrast to Documenta’s curatorial decision to release their artist list on the exhibition’s opening day, Ekroth does not want her process to be closed, she explains in an interview with Kunstkritikk. Hammer and Ekroth have contrasting curatorial methods and will follow through with independent processes co-existing; they will not cooperate until they meet in Moss to install the final exhibition. While Ekroth believes that a curatorial concept possesses an independent value, Hammer stresses that he usually works with the same artists, integrating a few new faces with the intent to expand upon the group he works with in the future. Original article in Norwegian (08.10.12).

The newly restored FRAME Finnish Foundation responsible for Finland’s contribution to Venice’s Nordic Pavilion in 2013—among other responsibilities—has employed director Raija Koli. Previously, Koli has been a researcher and manufacturer in the field of performing arts and urban events at the Swedish Theater in Helsinki, the Helsinki Festival and The Finnish Institute in London. Koli will assume FRAME’s director position in early 2013. The Foundation’s mission is to strengthen the Finnish visual arts position, promote international collaboration between artists and art institutions and serve as an information center for visual arts. Original article in Norwegian (09.10.12).

Lene Berg, Kopfkino, 2012. Film still.

Central to Lene Berg’s exhibition opening this week at Heine Onstad Kunstsenter is a new feature film Kopfkino, but the exhibition also acts as a “mid-career survey” including works such as 33 Minutes (1999) and Stalin by Picasso (2008). Berg explores stories and visual representation strategies of the past. In an interview with Kunstkritikk, Berg describes the film’s characters, “The eight main characters are women who work or who have worked with others to stage sexual fantasies, either as slaves or in dominant/passive roles. In the film, they tell one another stories and discuss experiences in a staged frame. Most of them work in so-called S&M studios and fetish studios—some working alone.” Original article in Norwegian (10.10.12).

Juan A. Gaitán, based in Berlin and Mexico City, has been appointed curator of the 2014 Berlin Biennale. From 2009-11, Gaitán worked at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. He has acted as external curator at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in Vancouver and for the last few years, he has been associated with the curator program at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Gaitán most recent exhibition Material Information is on display at Permanenten Vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum in Bergen. Original article in Danish (11.10.12).

Edvard Munch, Rialtobroen i Venezia, 1926.Photo: Blomqvist Kunsthandel.

Despite the fact that it was expressed in the May White Paper that the Ministry unambiguously supports the Office of Contemporary Art Norway’s (OCA) international outreach activities, the new Minister of Culture Hadia Tajik presented the 2013 culture budget rejecting OCA’s request of 2.5 million towards Norwegian representation in Venice 2013. OCA Director Marta Kuzma works with the Munch Project at Venice Biennale 2013 which is also led by Angela Vettese—president of the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa. Kuzma explains plans to include works by Edvard Munch celebrating the artist’s 150th birthday, alongside contemporary artists working with themes central to Munch’s socio-cultural situation, focusing on inquiries into freedom. The Ministry of Culture’s and the Foreign Ministry’s denial of OCA’s plea for funds—approximately 2.5 to 3 million—is an example of history repeating itself. After World War II, Norwegian authorities hesitated for several years before bringing Edvard Munch to Venice in 1954. Most likely, OCA funding was denied because the Ministry wants to see changes; in the past, the Ministry has been dissatisfied with how OCA handled the Venice Biennale, and OCA has had financial problems. Yet, Kunstkritikk editor Jonas Ekeberg argues that OCA is one of the most important organizations in the Norwegian art scene and must be used to strengthen Norway’s presence in Venice. Original article in Norwegian (10.10.12).

This week’s critiques are Stian Gabrielsen on Annette and Caroline Kierulf’s Nightwork in the Garden II at Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo; Martin Högström on Felix Gmelin’s T is for Toe at Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm; and Tommy Olsson on the novel A New Novel by Bjarne Melgaard.