Exhibition Review: "Norwegian Sculpture Biennale"

Sara R. Yazdani, ArtForum, November 1, 2015

Art Belongs to Those Who See It
Nobels gate 32
October 19 – January 31

Essential to the latest iteration of the Norwegian Sculpture Biennale, “Art Belongs to Those Who See It,” is the mutability of the works. In a vibrant juxtaposition with the historical sculptures of Gustav Vigeland in this museum, the twenty-eight pieces on view by thirty-three artists create a vulnerable realm of steel, wood, concrete, textiles, rubber, and electrical signals, among other materials. For instance, in the main room of the institution, Steffen Håndlykken and Ingrid Lønningdal’s Projections, 2015—four painted concrete curtains installed on a wooden framework—creates an alliance with Vigeland’s sculptures while dividing the museum space and projecting nothing but the works’ analog and abstract form.

Matter is ambiguous throughout the show. See Omar Emanuel Johnsen and Magnhild Øen Nordahl’s four sculptural loudspeakers (Trialog, 2013), which offer a unique soundscape. In this room, visitors hear seven different chords that take turns overlapping with one another in a diatonic relationship. Meanwhile, Eamon O’Kane’s installation The Wood Archive, 2015, presents an array of small wooden objects that underline the temporality and social memory of natural substance. Nature is transformed, stored, and structured in an archive, reminding us of modern relations between art and memory.

Outside the museum, in central Oslo, Matias Faldbakken and Leander Djønne’s Void to Void, 2014–15, features large blasting mats—the kind used to demolish parts of the Governmental Quarter due to the damage of the July 22, 2011 bombings—placed on top of one another in a stack. Overall, the bienniale investigates the past, via histories embedded in and through objects’ materiality, to understand the present.

- Sara R. Yazdani