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Lights On: Norsk Samtidskunst

Gunner B. Kvaran & Hanne Beate Ueland

The situation and conditions for Norwegian contemporary art have undergone great changes – Not only in relation to the artwork as a creative production, but also in relation to ’the Norwegian artworld’. It has become completely natural for young Norwegian artist to observe what is happening internationally, but also to participate and influence the international art scene.

Eirin Støen, Black Cloud #1 (dog with bird), 2008, Courtesy of the artist.
Stian Ådlandsvik, Some Remarks on Discardedness, 2008, Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo.
Ingvild Langgård, The Beast, 2008, Courtesy of the artist.

Most artist work from post-conceptual premises and realize their artistic ideas through sculptures, architecture/installations, videos, sound works, photographs and paintings. Most artists in the exhibition work with a narrative pictorial language, often including text references and pictograms firmly rooted in everyday memories and popular culture. Some reflect over the appropriation of pictures, objects and art-historical references, others focus on perception and the physicality of objects. Another tendency is to explore the metaphysical and mystical realm. Yet in spite of the copious variety and forms of expression, in almost all the artist one finds a critical closeness to society and a will to create meaningful, socially relevant art.

Håvard Homstvedt, You will hardly know, 2007, Courtesy of the artist, Galleri Riis, Oslo.
Ida Ekblad, Political Song for Jessica Simpson to Sing, 2007, Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo.
Lello/Arnell (Jørgen Craig Lello & Tobias Arnell), The Oracle, 2008, Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo.

Lights On – Norsk samtidskunst includes ‘artist statements’ and articles written by young Norwegian artists, curators and critics: Power Ekroth, Erlend Hammer, Trude Iversen, Kjetil Røed, Leif Magne Tangen and Line Ulekleiv. In addition to these authors, it presents a general overview of ‘how young Norwegian artists survive’: Ingrid Pettersen elucidates the intricacies of stipends, aid schemes and subsidies in relation to young Norwegian contemporary artists, and Ida Sannes Hansen presents an overview of Norwegian contemporary art and the commercial galleries involved in it.