NORSK NATUR. Toril Johannessen and Tue Greenfort
17 September 2016–15 January 2017
The Museum of Contemporary Art
What does nature mean to you? Is it a place for recreation, or meditation? Is it somewhere you can relax, get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Or is it something you measure your strength against, that lets you confront your fears?
A hike to Arne Næss’ cabin
For this exhibition, Toril Johannessen and Tue Greenfort started out by hiking to the mountain cabin of the philosopher Arne Næss on Hallingskarvet. One of their topics of conversation was Næss’ ecosophy – which views all life as valuable and the world as a single holistic entity. In NORSK NATUR, the artists extend this perspective, treating the exhibition as an ecosystem in which the artworks are organisms.
Voyage of discovery
Stepping into the exhibition we enter a world where everything is interconnected. The site-specific, relational work Åpne/lukke (Open/Close) encompasses the other works like an ecosystem. Here the artists invite us to open the doors of the former bank building and to embark on a voyage of discovery from one room to the next. The works we encounter converse with each other about themes such as energy and balance in ecosystems.
A collaborative project
The exhibition is a collaboration between two artists who first met in 2012 at dOCUMENTA (13), where both were invited to exhibit. Arranged in Kassel, Germany, every fifth year, documenta is one of the world’s most prestigious contemporary art events.
Norwegian nature in the museum
The works in the exhibition are multi-faceted and bring together an array of narratives. Similar themes recur in different works. Contemporary art relates to contemporary times, to our current politics and problems. When we approach it with openness and curiosity it helps us to see the world in new ways. What will Norwegian nature mean to you when you come looking for it in the museum?
About Toril Johannessen (b. 1978 in Norway)
Lives and works in Bergen. Often uses scientific methods. Her work covers a broad range of themes – from impossible energy systems to alternative methods of measuring time, optical illusions, spatial disorientation and linguistic misunderstandings. Combining research data with the history of science and her own investigations, she explores the influence and conceptual horizons of modern science with humour and insight.
About Tue Greenfort (b. 1973 in Denmark)
Lives and works in Berlin. Interests include the intersection between public and private spheres, nature and culture. His art deals with the history of ecology, the environment and social relations, and the human subject. From this perspective, he explores economic and scientific production, and how people choose to define themselves in relation to the outside world.
Activities at the exhibition
Be sure to visit the exhibition’s two activity rooms: the jellyfish workshop and the library. In the jellyfish workshop you can create your own jellyfish lamp. You can take pictures of your creation and post them on Instagram under the hashtag #manetlampe, then hang the lamp in the library. In the library, you can also take a break from the digital world and delve into the literature on eco-philosophy and ecology. Here you can read about urban subcultures that engage with nature – how to cultivate your own garden and grow your own vegetables – and escape into literature with a science-fictional twist.