Public Art

Lofoten International Art Festival 2019

Well now. Here’s one for the diary for many an Art North reader, I’m sure, but you don’t have long. LIAF, (Lofoten International Art Festival), is a migratory biennial in the archipelago of Lofoten in the Arctic Circle and is Norway’s longest running visual arts biennial, originating in 1991. Organised by the North Norwegian Art Centre, this year the festival will take place in Svolvær, a harbour town on the island of Austvågøy with 5,000 inhabitants, and will open on 30 August and run until 29 September 2019. The timing’s a bit tight, I know, but if it weren’t for the fact that it coincides with the launch of issue 3 of Art North, I’d be considering it myself.

LIAF has firmly established itself as an arena for international art, with a vision of the wider world and a particular focus on our own northern region. The biennial has no permanent form and each edition re-establishes itself in Lofoten exploring new modes of discovering the potentialities of art. LIAF 2019 will be presented across four venues in Svolvær and will present an expansive public programme titled High Tides, kicking off during the opening weekend, and including a major weekender in September: The Kelp Congress.

Trygve Luktvasslimo , artist-in-residence, LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Trygve Luktvasslimo, artist-in-residence, LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

The Kelp Congress (in fact all things Kelp) get Art North’s Editorial Assistant, Lar Magregor rather excited, as anyone who attended her Kelp event in Ullapool for the Scottish Wildlife Trust last weekend will testify. LIAF’s Kelp Congress is set to take place between 20-22 September, but Ms MacGregor will not be going. Nonetheless, attendees in Norway will be focussing on the lesser explored artistic and cultural dimensions related to kelp and other macroalgae, with the event encouraging interest in the consideration of the performative, narrative, conceptual, and material approaches towards kelp. Throughout The Kelp Congress, seaweed will be promoted as a protagonist and collaborator within artistic and curatorial ways of making, and as a partner for cultural response within current and future ecological and environmental discussions.

Additional events include the Tides Residency. As the organisers note, “the tide follows the rhythm of the moon, not the sun.” Well, this much we knew (bit of a no brainer really) but a connection is here made with the manner in which the LIAF year has gone through its own cycle – “the artists-in-residence have come and gone, like the tide,” it says in the literature I have here, and “their works are linked to various local communities and can now all be experienced in the LIAF exhibition in Svolvær.” Included is the work in the village Digermulen of that group of practitioners known as Futurefarmers (I used to follow their work closely but seem to have lost touch with their output over recent years – Note to Self: reengage with FutureFarmers). Again, the literature tells me that they started at LIAF with an exploration of wind with the construction of a portable windmill, and throughout this year they expanded this to include a larger windmill and printing press.

Futurefarmers , Wind Theatre, outdoor sculpture for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Futurefarmers, Wind Theatre, outdoor sculpture for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Futurefarmers , Wind Theatre, outdoor sculpture for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Futurefarmers, Wind Theatre, outdoor sculpture for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Meanwhile in Valberg, the artist Trygve Luktvasslimo wrote, shot and edited his upcoming film Shallow Water Blackout, taking place in and around the intertidal zone (see trailer below). The artist duo João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira immersed themselves in the tiny island community of Skrova, where their work centered around cod and migration in a wide perspective, and the long, white beach in Ramberg provided a stunning backdrop to artist Signe Lidén's 28-meter long sounding canvas, erected in the intertidal zone where she recorded the sound of the tide.

Signe Lidén , The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner. on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Signe Lidén, The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner. on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Signe Lidén , The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Signe Lidén, The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Signe Lidén , The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Signe Lidén, The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

To go on would probably overdo it, but there’s plenty here to capture the imagination, allow for a reimagining of such a beautiful location through contemporary art interventions, and to generally enthral on so many levels. Indeed, the opening weekend includes a programme of performances, screenings and artist talks, too (check out the website for details).

Getting there is pretty tricky at short notice, I know, seeing as LIAF occurs on that cluster of islands located on the Northern Coast of Norway, just above the Arctic Circle. Since 1999, LIAF has presented works by international artists in a local and site-specific context, however, and by all accounts it’s a real draw.

Signe Lidén , The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Signe Lidén, The Tidal Sense, sounding canvas for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Since 2009, the festival has been run by the North Norwegian Art Center (NNKS) and LIAF’s Artistic Advisory Board. LIAF and NNKS receive operational support from the Arts Council Norway, the counties of Finnmark, Troms and Nordland, and the municipality of Vågan. The Lofoten archipelago, though lying within the Arctic Circle, experiences one of the world’s largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude and is known for its distinctive scenery with mountains, peaks, open sea and sheltered bays and beaches.

Above: The featurette Shallow Water Breakout by Trygve Luktvasslimo is based on the legend of Amelia and Steven, two children who committed mutiny on board luxury cruise vessel The World.

Curated by Hilde Methi, Neal Cahoon, Karolin Tampere and Torill Østby Haaland, the roll call of participating artists is pretty long: Anna Boberg, Michaela Casková, Devil’s Apron (Kåre Grundvåg and Trond Ansten), Futurefarmers (Amy Franceschini and Lode Vranken), Signe Johannessen, Toril Johannessen, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Jackie Karuti, Damla Kilickiran, Signe Lidén, Trygve Luktvasslimo, Tricia Middleton, Soundcamp, Kateřina Šedá, Morten Torgersrud, Paola Torres Núñez del Prado and João Pedro Vale & Nuno Alexandre Ferreira, Bob L. Sturm, David Grubbs and Susan Howe, Diana Deutsch, Elatu Nessa, Éliane Radigue, Green Music (Francesco Cavaliere and Tomoko Sauvage), Heike Vester, Laurie Spiegel, Pauline Oliveros & Ione, Tomoko Sauvage, Cecilia Vicuña (amongst others).

Futurefarmers , Wind Theatre, outdoor sculpture for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.

Futurefarmers, Wind Theatre, outdoor sculpture for LIAF 2019. Photographer: Dan Mariner on commission for Bodø Kommune as part of their “European Capital of Culture 2024 Candidate application”.


LOFOTEN INTERNATIONAL ART FESTIVAL 2019
30 AUGUST– 29 SEPTEMBER 2019

www.liaf.no

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Bonavista Biennale 2019

Geodesic, geological, aquatic and structural are terms that describe some of the artworks in Bonavista Biennale 2019. Nomad, Afronaut, cheerleader and storyteller describe the artists behind the work. This year’s event is a stimulating floe of ideas.
— Catherine Beaudette, Founder and Curator

Bonavista Biennale 2019 - FLOE runs until September 15, 2019 on the east coast of Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province. The month-long contemporary art exhibition features works by 21 artists from Newfoundland, Labrador, other parts of Canada and the U.S. Visitors follow a 100-kilometre loop along the coast of the Bonavista Peninsula, encountering artworks at more than 20 indoor and outdoor sites including abandoned fishery buildings, historic structures, heritage houses and the landscape.

Meghan Price ,  New Balance 4 , 2017. Structure design and craft using recycled materials

Meghan Price, New Balance 4, 2017. Structure design and craft using recycled materials

This year’s lineup includes up-and-coming Indigenous artists such as Jordan Bennett, Meagan Musseau and Mark Igloliorte, and senior artists at the height of their careers, including Ian Carr-Harris, Thaddeus Holownia, Paulette Phillips and Governor General’s Award-winner Wanda Koop.In addition to Beaudette, 2019 curators are David Diviney, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Matthew Hills, Director and Curator at Grenfell Art Gallery, Memorial University in Newfoundland. U.S. artists include Anna Hepler, Bob Blumer, Sean Patrick O’Brien and Maria M. Campos-Pons, who curated this year’s Havana Biennial.  

Jordan-Bennett ,  Pi’tawe’k , 2019, Photo: Brian Ricks

Jordan-Bennett, Pi’tawe’k, 2019, Photo: Brian Ricks

The island of Newfoundland sits in its own time zone, a six-hour ferry ride from mainland Canada. It is strategically located on migratory and trade routes that have for centuries linked the cultures and commodities of mainland North America and Europe. The province’s colonial history and economy were rooted in the cod fishery, owned and operated by English, French, Portuguese and other fishing and mercantile companies at different periods over 500 years. Originally inhabited by the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu and Inuit peoples, Newfoundland is now largely populated by the descendants of the British and Europeans who came to work in the fishery, as well as a smaller Indigenous population. 

After the 1992 collapse of Newfoundland’s cod stock, the bottom fell out of the fishing-based economy. Suddenly jobless, many people, especially younger islanders, moved to the mainland to find work. Coastal communities were particularly hard-hit. The Bonavista Peninsula, a rural area, is a case in point: Once populated with thriving fishing communities, it was left with empty houses, a diminished and aging population, and poor prospects for its future. Now, the Peninsula is a place in transition, like so many rural areas around the world where environmental and economic factors are permanently changing a way of life. 

Click on Map for details of venues.

Click on Map for details of venues.

Cultural initiatives such as the Bonavista Biennale are contributing to the rise of “off-centres” as desirable, viable places to live, thrive and create—sparking new economic opportunities, commodities and population growth. The idea of bringing artists to the Peninsula as a form of economic renewal and social change began in 2012 with 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, founded by Catherine Beaudette. Once a saltbox house built in 1881, now a gallery, museum and artist residence, 2 Rooms was created to attract new people to the Bonavista Peninsula. In 2017, the idea expanded to bring a greater number of artists and engage more communities in a large-scale event.

This historical, geographical and cultural context is both unique and central to the Bonavista Biennale, informing themes and concepts, the choice of exhibition sites and the visitor experience. While the ideas and issues that engage Biennale artists and audiences have local origin and relevance, they are also of global interest and concern—issues such as the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change, the decline of rural communities, the effects of colonization and the erosion of cultural traditions. 

The second iteration of the Bonavista Biennale, FLOE (re)considers the history of exchange and dialogue throughout the broader North Atlantic seaboard, while acknowledging the histories and cultures of the Indigenous peoples of the province. Tracing this north-south passage—with its fluid borders—Biennale artists will present artworks that resonate with distinct qualities of place as they investigate this past and look to its future possibilities.The word “floe” can be defined, of course, as “a large area of ice floating in the sea.” In considering possible themes for the 2019 Biennale, this was one that the curators kept coming back to. Beyond capturing the imagination, “floe” connects the Biennale to a certain place in the world, responding directly to Newfoundland’s special geographic position. It also implies movement, relating to the examination of the history of dialogue and exchange. These multiple readings allow for different points of entry into the work being exhibited in 2019.

The inaugural 2017 Biennale tested the potential for an on-going, rural-based, national art event—unique in Atlantic Canada and significant within the Canadian cultural landscape. It delivered tangible, measurable economic, social and cultural benefits to the area and its residents. Bonavista Biennale 2019 builds on this initial success, continuing to give Biennale-goers—artists, visitors and local communities—new ways to see, experience and engage with the world.

Until September 15, 2019
bonavistabiennale.com

Tomorrow, Art North’s Contributing Editor (N. America), Risa Horowitz, will report on her visit to the Biennale, with a further update to appear in our winter edition of the magazine.

Kevin MacNeil's Coll Beach Sutra

Kevin MacNeil’s Coll Beach Sutra, appearing in the current issue of Art North magazine, is a text that was originally commissioned as part of a participatory artwork and digital anthology project by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. Paterson’s project, titled First There is a Mountain, is touring twenty-five high profile coastal art venues around the UK, and has involved the creation of an array of curiously shaped ‘buckets and spades’ with which the public are invited to ‘build mountains of sand, playing out the world’s natural geography against a series of tidal times.’ Each ‘bucket’ is a scale model of one of five mountains: Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Shasta (N. America), Mount Fuji (Asia), Stromboli (Europe), and Uluru (Oceania) – each of which is nested together in a set. For further information about the project, visit: www.firstthereisamountain.com.

Katie Paterson ,  First There is A Mountain  event at   Mostyn, Llandudno (West Shore Beach), 19 May 2019 (Photo credit: Lin Cummins)

Katie Paterson, First There is A Mountain event at Mostyn, Llandudno (West Shore Beach), 19 May 2019 (Photo credit: Lin Cummins)

Upcoming dates for Paterson’s First There is A Mountain, include: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums (Ballroom Beach); The Pier Arts Centre, Orkney (Waulkmill Bay); An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (Coll Beach); Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, North Uist (Baile Sear Beach); ATLAS Arts, Isle of Skye (Glenbrittle Beach); and Comar, Isle of Mull (Calgary Beach). A full its of venues can be found on the project website. The project began its tour at the Whitstable Biennale, Kent on Leysdown Beach, Isle of Sheppey in March, and continues its round-Britain tour, ending at Three Shells Beach near the Focal Point Gallery, Essex on 27 October.

Coll-Beach-Sutra-by-Kevin-MacNeill.jpg

Taking place each Sunday over the thirty-two week period of British Summer Time, each venue is staging events on their local sandy beach, with the artwork growing to form a time-based topographical map that connects the Earth’s oldest rocks with the UK’s geological landscape, and celebrating the local, national and international. Twenty-five new pieces of writing (of which Kevin MacNeil’s is one example), have been commissioned to correspond to each beach location. First There is a Mountain brings together celebrated authors, poets, geologists, earth scientists, ecologists, technologists, and art writers, and each text creatively responds to Paterson’s project. The diverse writings connect with each locality, relating the artwork to place, its people, history and wider geological context. MacNeil’s Coll Beach Sutra relates to Coll Beach, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis – Kevin MacNeil is a novelist, poet and playwright born and raised in the Outer Hebrides.

osloBIENNALEN set to Break New Ground

As Oslo looks towards the opening of two new museums in 2020 – the Munch Museum and the National Museum – a new arts initiative, osloBIENNALEN, is already bringing a range of diverse artistic projects to the city’s public spaces, inviting residents and visitors alike to rethink and explore a city that is undergoing rapid transformation. osloBIENNALEN is no ordinary biennial presentation, it will have a different time frame to the usual biennial format, unfolding over the next five years with an evolving programme of art in public spaces.

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It is perhaps not surprising that a new way of envisaging a biennial has come out of Norway: the country's social democratic policy includes a longstanding tradition of placing works of art in public spaces and providing universal free access to art and culture, with the city of Oslo particularly committed to supporting art initiatives. Responding to the dynamic and changing nature of Oslo’s public spaces, the projects the are being rolled out will have varying tempos, rhythms and life-spans, offering a new way for how we encounter art in the public space.

osloBIENNALEN : Opening weekend party. (Photo: Inger Marie, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Inger Marie)

osloBIENNALEN: Opening weekend party. (Photo: Inger Marie, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Inger Marie)

Twenty-six projects by locally and internationally based artists are set to open over the course of 2019, and more are set to be announced at regular intervals over the coming years.  An initial set of sixteen projects were this weekend revealed to the city’s visual arts audience in a series of interventions across the municipality. Free, accessible, and often unexpected, art in public space plays quite a different role to art in museums, and osloBIENNALEN First Edition 2019–2024, sets out to explore the unusual contexts and questions it presents.

Proposing a new biennial model, co-curators Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk note in their curatorial statement: “The works pose questions about the timeframes and situations in which they operate, contexts that overflow conventional, institutional time/spaces. How are such works produced and presented? How do they engage with audiences, or enter an art collection? What kind of curatorial framework supports these works and their timeframes, which may stretch indefinitely beyond the one-off event? How might this framework be designed or constituted?”

Curators, Per Gunnar & Eva González-Sancho Bodero  during osloBIENNALEN’s opening weekend (Photo: Niklas Hart , courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

Curators, Per Gunnar & Eva González-Sancho Bodero during osloBIENNALEN’s opening weekend (Photo: Niklas Hart , courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

Over the past weekend, visitors have already begun to discover a range of projects encompassing sculpture, text works, experiences, performances, painting, sound, public outreach and workshops, and work by the following artists is to be included: Mikaela Assolent (FR), Benjamin Bardinet (FR), Julien Bismuth (FR), Carole Douillard (FR), Ed D’Souza (UK), Mette Edvardsen (NO), Jan Freuchen, Sigurd Tenningen and Jonas Høgli Major (NO), Gaylen Gerber (US), Hlynur Hallsson (IS), Rose Hammer, Marianne Heier (NO), Michelangelo Miccolis (IT/ MX), Mônica Nador and Bruno Oliveira (BR), Michael Ross (US), Lisa Tan (US/SE) and Øystein Wyller Odden (NO).

Of particular note from the UK, Ed D'Souza’s contribution is based on a full-sized, 3D photographic record of a crashed Hindustan Ambassador’s car found in Delhi, recreated in the Grünerløkka neighbourhood at a local workshop run by Oslo furniture maker Eddie King. Grünerløkka is considered one of Oslo’s chicest areas, known for its street art, bars, dance clubs and cafés, not to mention its vintage fashion outlets, and weekend markets flanked by small parks and cool industrial concert venues.

Ed D’Souza  (left) with Oslo Vice-Mayor and Eddie-King (Photo: Niklas Hart, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

Ed D’Souza (left) with Oslo Vice-Mayor and Eddie-King (Photo: Niklas Hart, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

D’Souza’s Migrant Car ‘went live’ on 25 May and will be on view in Oslo until end of August. Ed D’Souza (aka Robert E. D’Souza, b.1969) is an artist, designer and Professor of Critical Practice at Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton, although based in London. He is known for his temporal, site-specific and participatory/collaborative art and design projects, many of which connect to his own Indian heritage. His work explores critical practices that engage with a variety of production processes and producers and is supported by his critical writings around social, political and cultural change. Recent projects have been shown in art institutions, biennials and public spaces in China, India, Spain and the UK.

Ed D’ouza ’s ‘Migrant Car’ (Photo: Niklas Hart, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

Ed D’ouza’s ‘Migrant Car’ (Photo: Niklas Hart, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

For osloBIENNALEN’s First Edition, D’Souza is co-producing a series of projects with students from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, OsloMet, and Eddie King’s Workshop, too. The car sculpture will be visible to a street audience passing by the workshop’s expansive window. The sculpture that once was a British-Indian car has now continued its journey, migrating from India to Oslo – a city that wants to get rid of cars from its streets! After moving around Oslo’s car-free zone, the Migrant Car will travel north to  another place and reality: namely, the Norwegian town of Kirkenes. When it arrives at that destination, the collective Pikene på Broen will take care of it, perhaps moving it across or along the border with Russia.

Ed D’Souza ’s ‘Migrant-Car’ during construction (Photo: Niklas-Hart, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

Ed D’Souza’s ‘Migrant-Car’ during construction (Photo: Niklas-Hart, courtesy osloBIENNALEN, © Niklas-Hart)

Over the course of the next five years, the expanding programme for the years ahead will be announced at regular intervals as the biennial moves forward in time. Initiated and financed by the City of Oslo’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, osloBIENNALEN First Edition 2019-2024 opened on 25 May 2019 and runs until 2024. The biennial is the result of OSLO PILOT, a two-year experimental and research-based project that laid the groundwork for the biennial curated by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk.

As part of the municipality of Oslo’s commitment to art in public spaces, osloBIENNALEN is central to the cultural agency in Oslo striving to ensure that professional contemporary art forms an integral part of the municipality’s buildings and outdoor spaces to the benefit of the general public. By supporting the arts in their various forms, the overall goal is to increase the interest in, commitment to, and reflection on art and its importance to society. Indeed, one effect of the biennial is that it can concentrate and highlight Oslo’s existing art dynamic public spaces – one more giant leap in Oslo’s long tradition of supporting significant art projects in the public realm for the benefit of the wider population.

The underlining mind-set here is one that is based on the democratic and egalitarian ideals that remain at the heart of many initiatives in the city and Norway more generally. The current art scheme ensures that 0.5% of funds invested in the Oslo municipality are earmarked for art, which makes it possible for the city to maintain an ambitious agenda in terms of art in the public spaces overall. osloBIENNALEN, it is therefore hoped, will attract international interest and attention, with the main objective of the biennial being to strengthen all of the arts in Oslo, while also providing local, national and international visibility to Oslo as a city that supports art. Strengthening the arts in Oslo is as important as the visibility of Oslo as a centre for art. The biennial, therefore, rather than appearing as an isolated entity, will operate as yet one more integral part of the art environment of Oslo in its totality.


In Issue 3 (autumn/fall issue) of Art North Miina Eskola will be examining the osloBIENNALEN initiative in much greater detail, so watch out for our special international report in the print magazine, and her online updates. If you have thoughts on this initiative or have photographs of your own of art from the streets of Oslo, please contact Miina directly here.