mandag 29. oktober 2012

Dagfin Kjølsrud at the Kunsthall in Kristiansand

Born in 1930 and with an intens working period untill his much too early death in 1974. Dagfin Kjølsrud has left a bit of an embarrasing scar with the people of his own town. Not much appreciated then, too much struggling and when the attention came it was too little, too late. Keep wondering if he would have been a grand old man now in his eighties, if he had had the sense to move to Oslo, or to stay in Kopenhagen.

The writer Gunvald Opstad does a tour with school children as a part of the 'Kulturelle Skolesekken'. Here he gives them a crash course in the history of sculpture. Someone from Milo gets all the attention: where did the arms go???

Here Kjølsruds 'Eventyrfortelleren' is being presented. Looks a bit different than the sculptures of the great storyteller H.C.Andersen (here in Central Park). In fact, the sculptures by Kjølsrud do remind one more of the works of Daumier in its caricature ways.

Mister Opstad is also a Storyteller, and keeps the attention of kids and grown-ups. Here with 'Slaktescene'. The abstractive ways of portraying the human also reminds me of Rodin and his monument to Balzac.

'Drektig Dverggeit' is a very charming piece. When someone once teased Kjølsrud with its similarities with a certain goat by Picasso, he got a fist in his solar plexus. The two goats are of course very different. Kølsrud has clearly gone another direction in his portrayal of the animal, where the abstraction of the surface has been a theme. About the goat of Picasso, one can read that the artist used different tools from the scrap heap where a wicker basket form the rib cage and two ceramic jugs the utters. Goats are anyway seemingly a favourite object for artists to portray. I don't blame them. They are fabulous animals. Rauschenberg assembled a famous goat. This one by Malen Pierson is a more recent portrayal of that dear animal.

This, 'Farlig dyr', is really one of my favourites! Perfect cubist sculpture. Fairly intellectually put together. The rusty metal and the welded joints bear witness of craftmanship. It is an earlier piece than the goat, the butcher or the storyteller. The piece stirs the imagination directly on the level of interpretation. Also an interesting thought: what if he had chosen this path?

Getting a better view of 'Slaktescene', one of the allegedly most important and strongest works of Kjølsrud.

Full of humour, 'Tø min plass', or 'Dibs on that seat', triggers the emphatic sense. Easy for kids to understand the sense of competition, and a clear portrayal of a cubist study. We settled for the scene of 'Dibs' ,and not necessarily the cubism when they made their own attempt of sculpturing.

Here is 'Tø min plass' portrayed by one of the schools visiting.

They also made an attempt to make a cubist sculpture. Next time I will bring the satay-sticks!! Only makes you respect the sculptor even more!

søndag 14. oktober 2012

The storyteller

What is a story anyway? In his essay The Storyteller: Reflections on Nikolai Leskóv, Walter Benjamin points to the changing role of the Storyteller through time. He explores the differences between the everchanging stories and the fixed novels, and what this has done to an also ever changing and more modern society. Food for thought, and a good read.

On friday we experienced several storytellers in one day:

We brought some people from the city planning office to take a look at Game of Life in Kunsthallen. Cecilie Nissen tells a story of the change of focus from naturalistic to more abstraction into a gridform. In the end one ends up with the grids loosening up into chaos and pure lines or dots. Here we enjoy the more playful work of Pirolt though, in stark contrast to the grids of Tehrani in the background.

Storytelling is a process where at one point the teller and the listener end up looking at things together. Here before Tehrani's work.

Dots tell a story too....

Here at galleri Bi-Z and the works of HM The Queen Sonja. Most of these works were sold out allready at the opening.

Here juxtaposed with the works of Nupen, her teacher. The techniques of The Queen can be traced to this artist. I would characterize her style as definitely more modest than those of her teacher, and still quite searching.

Now here is another story at Agder Kunstnersenter

Bjørn Aurebekk, leader of the board, tells a story as an introduction to the exhibition 'Rewind' by Grete Swahn. 

One storyteller meets the other: The artist listening to what is being told about her stories. Do they agree?

Atle, the musician, opens the exhibition with his work, played on an instrument: a mix between a steelguitar and a fishingrod. The work of art is here visual as well as audible. Just as interesting as the music itself is the instrument it is played on. The instrument tells its own story.

The power of stories: Jonas Alaska at Kilden

Anyone with a guitar and the ability to rhyme with a nice voice will probably make me believe that the moon is made of cheddar cheese. Thank heaven that few dictators know how to make a ballad.

fredag 12. oktober 2012

Innlegg i kunstplandebatten i Kristiansand (fvn 08.10.12)

Kristiansands ordfører Grundekjøn vil (Fvn 2.10.12) gjerne garantere at en Sørlending får utsmykke trapperommet i Kristiansands nye rådhus.

Denne utstillingsplassen blir gjenstand for en lukket konkurranse hvor fire kunstnere (bl.a. Sørlandske Jan Freuchen) skal feide om æren og oppdraget. I tillegg vil ordføreren at motivet skal fastsettes; det må trekkes inn elementer av brannhistorien til Kristiansand. Det er også prekært for Grundekjøn at det allerede nå fastsettes eksplisitt hvilken 30 år eldre Sørlandskunst (i oppslag hos kommunen) som skal få utsmykke bygget i fremtiden. Hans protester mot kunstplanen er absolutt ikke noe 'kommunalt tullball', da det ifølge ham har gitt mulighet til å bringe inn disse tre elementene om den Sørlandske identitet inn i debatten.

Ordføreren virker redelig i sin argumentasjon og i hans oppgave å fremme byens og innbyggernes sak. Men har han rett når det gjelder Kristiansanderes og Sørlendingers 'identitet'? For hva er det som er så spesielt med Kristiansand annet enn at det er en havneby som er fullstendig åpen, et gjennomtrekksted, en energibunt og et knutepunkt for alle slags mennesker, impulser, inntrykk og uttrykksmåter.

Hva er mer naturlig enn at en kunstner utenbysfra får utsmykke vårt nye rådhus? Det er jo en del av vår Kristiansanderidentitet å hente inn krefter nettopp utenfra. Også når det gjelder det at motivet ved trapperommet skal fastlegges allerede før kunstneren har blitt utvalgt, er interessant. Men denne holdningen gir lite spillerom til en kunstner for å leke seg med nettopp dette; motiver, historie, uttrykk, inntrykk osv. Byen er jo vant til å ta en sjanse, til å la kreativiteten råde litt, å la seg bli overrasket.

Kristiansanderen og Sørlendingen er blitt vant til både figurativ og non-figurativ kunst de siste tiårene. Det tar litt tid noen ganger, men bra kunst kan vi jo godt venne oss til. Til slutt, det er alltids lov å håpe, men kan det garanteres at man finner representativ toppkunst fra de siste 30 år i kommunens depot? Derfor bør den også absolutt kartlegges, for å finne ut om toppkunsten fra den gang ble oversett. Kunst som tåler tidens tann blir ofte anskaffet av dem som har vært ute og sett en del kunst, de som tør å ta en sjanse og som kjenner igjen et kunstnerisk varig uttrykk.

Vi må absolutt respektere den kunstneriske historien vår, men i tillegg kan vi jo oppføre oss som Kristiansandere; nemlig tenke visjonært og strekke oss litt lenger enn nesa er lang.

Just what is it htat makes today's homes so similar, so bland? (2012) Lasse Årikstad

mandag 8. oktober 2012

Game of Life, Kristiansand Kunsthall

1st of September 2012 Christiansand Kunstforening became Kristiansand Kunsthall. That is quite a big step, and a change that will define many of the artistic and curatic choices that will be made in the future. Kristiansand is a still growing city and the focus will inevitably move from an inward to a more open outwardlooking profile. Only exciting news! Here some of my own shots from the exhibition. More photos, and definitely more professional photos, can be found on this link.

Game of Life: Etter Rutenettet. Curated by Jan Freuchen and Sigurd Tenningen
(a selection of works only)

Olaf Isaachsen painted motives of the city in ruins after the fire of 1892 (oil on canvas). Pupil of Courbet, but quite an impressionist style, and according to the curators at the start of a journey of abstraction in the 20th century artworld.

Here we dive right into it, Not Yet Titled (2012) by Else Marie Jakobsen, well known weaver here, Ann Cathrin November Høibo and Tori Vrånes. Installation standing before Beirut (2000) by Kjell Mardon Gunvaldsen.

Regel 30 (2008) by Kristoffer Myskja. An analogue machine. From a set of rules, complex and seemingly random patterns are produced. One of the elementary cellular automaton rules introduced by Stephen Wolfram in 1983 (Wolfram 1983, 2002). It specifies the next color in a cell, depending on its color and its immediate neighbors. Its rule outcomes are encoded in the binary representation 30=00011110_2. This rule is illustrated above together with the evolution of a single black cell it produces after 15 steps (Wolfram 2002, p. 55).

The Moen (Terje Moen), Diverse tegninger (2012). Triggering the sometimes ambivalent feelings of coming back to ones birthplace... He does it beautifully!

Gridlock (2012), Dirkjan van der Linde. Dutch artist. I like it. His other works are even better. Check out his website here.

This work by Erik Pirolt is one of the great and fun features of this exhibition, according to my own  taste. Paradisteleskopet (2012) is a hanging livingmachine, for the occasion with an accompanying seagull wearing headphones. What I found so charming with this installation is its friendly, humorous and welcome atmosphere. The Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout has also been busy with the cities and living for many years, but his approach is more that of a problemsolver, creating new problems as he goes. The solution of Pirolt is a happy, dreamy solution. I like that.

Sorry for the askew photographing of Display Unit (center) 5 by Øystein Aasan. Here you can find his portfolio. I really enjoy his modesty. Clean cut aesthetic and I also think he is extremely stubborn. I like that.

An Incomplete Account of Past Sensations (2012) by André Tehrani. Aceton and pencil on paper, map based on Wikipedia´s list of riots in the 20th century. Tehrani's website here.

Finally, Anngjerd Rustand, Landskap med tekst (2012). Pencil, paper, copper. The unstructured lines fascinate me. They carry their own power. I do not understand why she insisted on bringing in a written message between the pencilwork. I enjoy extremely though the forceful statement of the intwined lines, both copper and on paper\wall.

There are still some days left of the exhibition. About Game of Life and the road to abstraction, not only in art, but also in science. Even if this theme, how art meets science and cityplanning in abstraction, might be more an idea of the curators than specifically the artists that were invited: as a statement it works for me. I can enjoy the the suggestion of a change of imaginary focus in such a well built up exhibition.