Does Oslo Need a Biennial for Art-in-Public-Space?

KOROs’ lecture series Critical Issues in Public Art

Does Oslo Need a Biennial for Art-in-Public-Space?

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 7 pm
Kristian Augusts Gate 23, 8th Floor 

The two curators for the Oslo Pilot project, Eva González-Sancho and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk, occupy the format Critical Issues in Public Art. The topic for discussion is the proposal to establish a public art biennial in Oslo. González-Sancho and Eeg-Tverbakk have been appointed as the curatorial team of the pilot project for an art biennial in Oslo, a project both owned and founded by the City of Oslo Agency for Cultural Affairs. The project aims to investigate the role of art in public space through collaborations with different professionals in the art field and other disciplines. The Curators’ first response has been to conceive the genesis and crux of the project – named Oslo Pilot – as an active, experimental and research-based initiative to define the potential characteristics of a periodic, art-in-public-space rendez-vous in the city of Oslo.

The preliminary Oslo-pilot project is backed by a budget of 2 million Norwegian kroner granted by the City of Oslo, and Public Art Norway (KORO) has contributed 500,000. Additional funds will be allocated to the project annually. Staging a municipal project on such a scale has been made possible by the new art scheme called Kunstordningen within the City of Oslo, which stipulates that 0.5% of the municipality’s total investment budgets must be earmarked for artistic production within all municipal construction projects, and this applies to buildings and outdoor spaces alike.

Eva González-Sancho is an independent curator. She graduated with a fine arts degree from The Art Department at ISLAP-ERG (Graphic Research and Liberal Arts Institute) in Brussels and also has an MA in Science and Technology “Exhibition Trades,” specializing in contemporary art from Rennes 2 University, France. She was director and curator at Frac Bourgogne (Dijon, FR) from 2003 to 2011 and at the Art Projects Office Etablissement d’en face Projects (Brussels, BE) from 1998 to 2003, while teaching the History of Exhibitions at Metz University from 2001 to 2004. Eva has been responsible for over fifty exhibitions at different art centres and locations, which include the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF) 2013, the exhibition by Dora García: Where do characters go when the story is over? (CGAC, Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporáneo, Spain, 2009), the Armando Andrade Tudela exhibition: Hier, Aujourd’hui, Demain, Aujourd’hui, Demain, Hier, Aujourd’hui (2010), and the Rita McBride & Koenraad Dedobbeleer exhibition: TIGHT, REPEATING BOREDOM (2008) at Frac Bourgogne. She has also worked with artists including Guillaume Leblon, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Lara Almarcegui, Jonas Dahlberg, Katrin Sigurdardottir and Matthew Buckingham, and has also implemented and directed various artists’ residency programs in France.

Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk graduated from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg. He is currently a freelance curator with 20 years experience at a number of art institutions and in art projects in public space. From 1995 to 1998 he was director of the Otto Plonk gallery in Bergen. The following year, he worked as exhibition manager at NIFCA (Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art) in Helsinki. Eeg-Tverbakk was deputy director of the Kunstnernes Hus from 2000-1. His freelance assignments include curating the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF) in 1999, and the 2004 Nordic Art Biennial Momentum. From 2003 to 2005, he was project manager for Kunst i Nordland – Artistic Interruptions, a site-specific, international art project initiated by the county of Nordland. Then, from 2005 to 2009, he was a research fellow at the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo (KHiO). He was also director at Kunsthall Oslo for two years. Eeg-Tverbakk has been responsible for a number of exhibitions and projects and has worked with artists such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Olafur Eliasson, Matias Faldbakken, Marianne Heier, Aleksandra Mir, Marjetica Potrc, Eva Rothschild and Knut Åsdam. He has held positions as director, project manager, producer and curator, and currently carries out a number of positions and roles in the Norwegian art scene.

KORO (Public Art Norway) initiates dialogues, workshops and publications to stimulate debate about topical issues within its field. Our lecture series Critical Issues in Public Art investigates the conditions that apply to art in the public realm. Debates concerning art in the public realm often evolve into political debates about fundamental principles. We consider it both relevant and essential to encourage discussion about, and reflection on, issues that affect us as well as other individuals and institutions in our field. The lectures are open, but the main audience is professional practitioners in the field of contemporary art: artists, curators, producers, architects, planners, researchers and students, among others.

Image: From Nathan Coley’s project at Bergen Kunsthall; Thoughts from Above, 2009 curated by Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk Photo: Thor Brødreskift.