1857 presents Painters at Paris Internationale:
Mikael Øye Hegnar, Inga Sund Hofset, Arvid Pettersen, Elida Runeson. Curated by Ane Hjort Guttu.
The painter (P), the interviewer (I), various extras
A shopping centre. People going back and forth with shopping bags, pop music coming from the shops, intense lighting, advertising etc. The camera pans across the scene towards the glass elevator in the middle of the space, which it then enters. The elevator descends a long long way, eventually stopping below ground and opening onto a dark corridor. The camera passes along the corridor until it reaches a large, brightly lit painter’s studio. There are canvases of various sizes leaning against the wall, a work table with tubes of paint, brushes etc., and a window looking out onto a wood. The painter and the interviewer are in the middle of a conversation, during which the painter fetches out various canvases. I is looking at the pictures and asking P questions.
P (holding up a picture): First I took a sponge and gave the canvas a wash of blue paint thinned with turpentine. Ultramarine, straight from the tube. Banal in a way. I did it quickly to avoid thinking too much about it. Because once it’s done, it’s done, so to speak.
I: How do you mean?
P: Because my next move had to be a response to the blue surface. So I put some black fields down at the bottom. I felt it needed it. But suddenly it looked like black earth and a blue sky. I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t think of it. So I quickly added some red blotches in the middle, so no one could mistake it for a landscape.
I: What’s the problem with a landscape?
P: Well, that’s not what I wanted. Unfortunately, the red blotch looks false. Somehow free, but ultimately contrived, with feigned reckless strokes. It’s the worst thing I can think of. When something looks false. Unless the falseness is intentional, of course. Deliberately fawning. Then it can actually be interesting. But that wasn’t the case here. So I decided to paint a black rectangle over the red patch. After all, it’s better if it looks amateurish than if it looks deliberately reckless. “Reckless”. Anyway, the rectangle wasn’t quite right either.
I: Why not?
P: It just didn’t work. It was neither free nor vital, spontaneous or anything. The only thing it did was hide an error.
(They are interrupted by a frantic knocking on the door. Irritated, the painter goes to the door and opens it, but closes it again immediately. We hear steps receding into the distance. I and P resume their conversation.)
I: Okay, so what did you do with the picture then?
P: I started a new one, this one here (holding up another canvas). This time I started with a few green lines to one side. That looked alright. So I carried on with yellow, extended the green and yellow towards the middle, so that half the picture is yellowy-green and the rest still white. Hm.
I: What were you thinking of when you did that?
P: I was trying to think of autumn, and the mistakes you make in the autumn.
I: Is that what the picture’s about?
P: No, my pictures aren’t “about” anything. Anyway, then I added a small black blob over on the side there, on the white. Because I didn’t want it to look like I had a kind of fetish about the white surface. I wanted to show that it wasn’t something that had to be preserved, you know.
I: So you like the blob?
P: Well, it’s probably the most successful bit of the picture. The blob is political, while the rest of the picture is more psychological.
I: In what way is the blob political?
P: It challenges the aesthetic convention – the untouched canvas.
I: Aha. So not political in the sense of current affairs, but something more symbolic, as if you were saying, we need to challenge conventions in the way this blob challenges the conventions of the canvas?
P: The canvas is as much a part of the world as everything else. This blob is a player in the world. Hence it’s not symbolic.
I: Okay. But did you plan to leave the picture at that?
P: Well, it was tempting. Because here at least I had one highly successful element. But I don’t like the feeling of being “afraid” of a picture. In other words, of not daring to carry on because you’re afraid of destroying it. That’s why I added a red corner. I tried to do something “wrong” that would end up being right even so. Because, where the art of painting’s concerned, it’s a bit crazy to paint a corner. And what happened was the red corner began to compete with the black blob. They were competing to be crazier than each other. And that negated the political aspect of the black blob. So the red corner was TOTALLY WRONG. I should have kept it for another picture. Sometimes you can be afraid of being afraid, and that’s what I was. Which unfortunately just adds up to double fear.
I: So now you’ve destroyed two pictures.
P: Yes, but that’s how I work. They always get destroyed in the end.
(End of scene.)
About the curator
Ane Hjort Guttu (b. 1971) is an artist living in Oslo. She works in a variety of media, but has in recent years mainly concentrated on film and video works, ranging from investigative documentary to poetic fiction. Most recent solo exhibitions include "eating or opening a window or just walking dully along", Bergen International Festival Exhibition 2015, Bergen Kunsthall and "Time Passes", South London Gallery, UK, 2015. Recent projects and exhibitions include "Identity", National Art Museum of Ukraine (NAMU), Ukraine, 2016; "The 8th Climate – The 11th Gwangju biennale" South Korea, 2016; "Back to the Sandbox", Reykjavik Art Museum/Stavanger Kunsthall, 2016; "Playing By The Rules", The Royal Standard, Liverpool, UK, 2016. Her films have been screened in Kunstverein München, Germany; Beerschouwburg, Brussels; International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Images Festival, Toronto, Canada; Nordic Panorama, Sweden, Doc Fortnight, MoMA New York; Gothenburg Film Festival, Sweden, CPH:Dox; Denmark, Kasseler Dokfest and DocPoint Helsinki, among others.
Guttu is also active as a curator and writer, and she is a professor at The Academy of Fine Art, Oslo.
About the artists
Arvid Pettersen (b.1943) lives and works in Bergen, Norway. He is an established figure in Norwegian Painting. He is a former professor at the The Academy of Fine Art, Oslo. Recent solo exhibitions include Galleri Christinegaard, Bergen, Norway; Galleri IU Contemporary, Bryne, Norway; Galleri Giga, Stord, Norway; and Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo. Recent group exhibitions include "Real Deal", Christiansands Kunstforening, Kristiansand, Norway; "North meets West", Musée National Du Mali, Bamako, Mali; “Bormida Progetto”, Monesiglio, Italiy.
Mikael Øye Hegnar (b. 1984) received his MFA from The Academy of Fine Art, Oslo, in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions includes: “Neolithic Graffiti”, QB Gallery, Oslo (2016); “Blotto“ Galleri BOA, Oslo; “Øy” (2015), Elephant Kunsthall, Lillehammer, Norway (2014); “Mikael Hegnar”, Galleri LNM, Oslo (2014) and “Mikael og Satan bygger slott”, Tegnerforbundet; Oslo (2013). He is currently a part of the “Drawingbiennale 2016: SKISSEN”. Upcoming exhibitions include solo exhibitions at Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo and Kristiansand Kunsthall, Kristiansand, Norway. Hegnar lives and works in Oslo, Norway.
Inga Sund Hofset (b. 1983) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. She received her MFA from The Academy of Fine Art, Oslo, in 2016. Recent exhibitions include: The MFA Graduation Show at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2016); “Menneskeberget” at Munch´s studio Ekely, Oslo (2015); “Art on Hove” at the Hove Festival in Arendal, Norway (2014); and “Summer Dolldrums” at Kunsthall Oslo (2013). Upcoming exhibitions include Kvit Galleri, Copenhagen; Akershus Kunstnersenter, Lillestrøm, Norway and Elephant Kunsthall, Lillehammer, Norway.
Elida Runeson (b. 1979, Malmö, Sweden) lives and works in Berlin and Oslo. She received her MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland in 2008. Recent exhibitions includes ”Elida Runeson and Lina Berglund – a collaboration”, tête, Berlin; ”Paintings”, Galleri LNM, Oslo; ”Öppningar mot det frånvarande”, TSSK, Trondheim; ”While Sleep of Real”, Kungstensgatan27, Stockholm and ”SnooZE”, Detroit, Stockholm.
October 19–23, 2016
51 Avenue d’Iéna
Opening (by personal invitation only):
Tuesday, October 18
Wednesday, October 19 to Saturday, October 22
Sunday, October 23
Nearest Metro Stations:
Charles de Gaulle Etoile, line 1, 2, 6
Kléber, line 6
Exhibition text by Ane Hjort Guttu. Translation by Peter Cripps
Installation photo: Aurélien Mole
The presentation is supported by OCA