El Olvido Está lleno de Memoría (The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories) Javier Barrios Hanne Friis Camilla Skibrek Anders Sletvold Moe
Curated by Rikke Komissar and Monica Holmen
[Albert Einstein, Moral Decay (first published 1937)]
With the exhibition The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories we wish to be bold and to dare ask the big questions. Hopefully some realisations on what it means to be human, our place in the world, and how we got there might arise. Or perhaps we are left with new, yet even more intriguing questions.
Background: How and Why Akershus Kunstsenter looks towards Mexico, and with this project we aim to infiltrate and engage in the local art scene on different levels. Our intention with the exhibition The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories is to challenge ourselves as an institution and as curators, and to contribute to and take part in artistic exchange and dialogue. We aim to promote Norwegian artists and their work, and by working with artists who we have previously collaborated with, we wish to bring Akershus Kunstsenter and our outlooks to Mexico. To be able to present what we believe to be interesting artists, and to engage in professional exchange with other institutions is something find extremely rewarding. A collaboration that unfolds on several levels brings forth new impulses and knowledge. Because we strongly believe that an expanded world is good for everyone, and that new acquaintances leads to constructive and fruitful consequences. “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom."
About the Exhibition & Curatorial Concept The exhibition The Forgetfulness is Full of Memories presents works by Javier Barrios, Hanne Friis, Anders Sletvold Moe og Camilla Skibrek. They are all parts of the Norwegian art scene, but does that make them representative for Norwegian contemporary art? Let us leave the answer to that for now. To put together an exhibition in Mexico presenting Norwegian artists can easily fall into a presentation of “Norwegian art”. However, to categorise contemporary art in this fashion, is rather difficult and not very fruitful. Art cannot easily be sorted by nationality. The valuation and rating of art is always a choice that is partly objective based on professional criteria, but it is also a individual matter of opinion – informed by taste, emotions and cultural preferences. Our choices in this context have been guided by our own individual taste, combined with an assessment where we regard the chosen artists as solid and relevant on so many levels. Together they will form the base for an exhibition in which we believe new audiences can be reached – no matter the context or nation it is presented. This being said, several of the works will direct themselves towards Oaxaca and the Mexican audience. For instances, Anders Sletvold Moe will comment on Mexican art history, while Javier Barrios will draw upon Mexican history, migration, and also his own background as Norwegian-Mexican. Camilla Skibrek touches upon universal questions regarding time, nature and presence, while Hanne Friis evokes associations to the organic, the bodily and the amorphous in her work. An exploration of and a questioning of history and art history, cultural heritage, identity, humans’ place in the world and traces of our actions, runs through the works. Thus there’s a core to be traced in the exhibition, represented by the different works in how they on different levels deal with reciprocal impact between people, cultures and nature.
What influence does nature have on people, and opposite; what traces do we leave behind? How is people’s identity shaped by culture, and how has history influenced individuals, societies and cultures? How do we create and construct the history, and to what extent do we share the same history? These are questions we wish to shed a light on through this exhibition. With universal questions and issues that we believe most people can recognize, we aim to facilitate connections between the Norwegian and the Mexican art scene. Because when all is said and done, there’s no escaping that many artists share an approach to art as a constant exploration of the world and our relations with it. And this is something we believe many can relate to. Questions related to whether it is even possible to join in a common understanding of contemporary art, or if the perception of art is dependent of nationality and the individual viewer’s cultural “baggage” are also issues we aim to touch upon. Asking such big questions regarding origin and human’s place and relations in the world might seem pompous. However, we believe it is intriguing and engaging to dare to ask these questions. Perhaps some realisations on what it means to be human, our place in the world, and how we got there might arise, or at least some new perspectives. Or maybe we are left with new, yet even more intriguing questions – which wouldn’t be so bad.
Because art is not so much about answers; rather it is about daring to ask the challenging questions, thus opening up for new histories and tales.
Monica Holmen and Rikke Komissar Akershus Kunstsenter