Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade

21 February – 22 March 2009
Opening reception and catalogue launch: Friday 20 February 2009, 7 p.m.
Special performance by Magnus Monfeldt: Friday 20 February 2009, 8 p.m.

Trapped in Amber curators in conversation with the artists: Sunday 21 February 2009, 3 p.m.

Artists: Daniel Garcia Andujar (ESP), Hamdi Attia (EGY/USA), Bodil Furu (NO), Assefa Gebrekidan (ETH), Iman Issa (EGY/USA), Mahmoud Khaled (EGY), Magnus Monfeldt (SWE/NDL), and Harwood/Wright/Yokokoji (UK)

Curated by: Bassam El Baroni and Helga-Marie Nordby

The exhibition is part of the project Africa in Oslo initiated by The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, which also involves Stenersen Museum, Oslo Museum: International Cultural Centre and Museum, Oslo Fine Art Society and Kunstnernes hus (more info below)

Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade is an exhibition that draws on Oslo’s art history, specifically the city’s tradition of northern European ‘Angst’ demonstrated in the oeuvres of such pivotal figures as Edvard Munch. The exhibition aims to test the limits of cultural industry stereotypes by creating a contemporary comparative to the phenomenon of Fin de siècle angst-ridden artistic production. Through the works of the invited artists, Trapped in Amber considers angst’s possible post-continental existence today in contemporary artistic formats. Of particular interest is the way angst can live on and express itself in a different world and age, experiencing different problems and in the midst of new cultural, socio-economic, and information dynamics.

Most narratives written by the cannon on the Fin de siècle symbolists and expressionists, point out that these artists aimed at capturing and portraying some sort of universal angst, a border-crossing scream of human emotional intensity; the metaphors are plentiful. Universality back then seems to have lacked a common cultural denominator, and to have been defined mostly in relation to nature, spirituality, and in some cases creative egotism. If the Fin de siècle artists reflected what was to them the ‘universal angst’ of their time, what kind of images, cultural processes, critical perspectives, or icons, if any, can reflect and be involved with a ‘universal angst’ in today’s world? How can one engage with terms such as “Universal” and “Angst” in a narrative of the here and now? Trapped in Amber aims to engineer a critical and spatial context where the works articulate different trajectories cutting through the main issues of angst and/or universality.

The global financial crisis is taking its toll on many, another ‘great depression’ but this time born of hyper-deregulation, the resurgence of political and social ideologies that were quite hastily labeled ‘dead’, and a decade marking the deterioration of the world’s intercultural relationships. Perhaps the world is currently trapped in an amber traffic light switched on by a past epoch, still not able to make substantial moves forward on the socio-cultural and political levels despite great technological advances. Perhaps, the cultural economy we function in is verging on the archaic because our ideologies are too old to develop potent discourses and our post-ideological frames of mind are nothing but the pretty and fresh looking amber resin that encases old and untouched problems. In light of these metaphorical realizations, Trapped in Amber seeks to traverse between the very early modernist years, in which the art of Edvard Munch reached its peak, and the social, intellectual, and political conditions in which art has existed during the first decade of the 21st century.

One of the ways this traversing takes effect is through the introduction of a series of collectively rendered exhibition props that were co-created by the participating artists, the curators, and UKS staff. Visible throughout the exhibition, ‘the Frieze of life’ is a collective amalgam of imagery that was created by gathering images found on the World Wide Web. The participating artists contributed a number of images that were considered relative to the idea of a present day ‘Frieze of Life’; the images were then reconfigured into digital collages that reference the abundant hanging style of grand salon exhibitions. Elsewhere, visitors can take a seat on the specially redesigned circular pouf sofa, reminiscent of the sofa used in Munch’s Berlin solo show at the Equitable Palast (1892-1893), but with fabrics created by each of the exhibition’s artists.

Trapped in Amber attempts to construct a contemporary parallel to the Fin de siècle’s output on art, the artist, society, and politics. This could be a relational equation that senses some of the possible links and separators between this and that era, or it could be a pseudo-parallel that stimulates schemas, tactics, and discussions.  But ultimately, it is through setting up this spot where past and present are inseparable that latent frictions are activated.

Africa in Oslo:
Maputo: A Tale of One City
Berry Bickle, Ângela Ferreira, Pompílio Hilário Gemuce, Rafael Mouzinho, Emeka Okereke, Lourenço Dinis Pinto, Mauro Pinto
Kuratorer: Bisi Silva, Daniella van Dijk-Wennberg og Marianne Hultman
Part 1 opens 6 p.m. Oslo Museum; International Cultural Centre and Museum, Tøyenbekken 5
The exhibition opens at 6 p.m. by Ambassador Pedro Comissário from the Embassy
of The Republic of Mozambique in the Nordic countries and the Norwegian Ambassador in Maputo Tove Bruvik Westberg
Part 2 opens 7 p.m.  Oslo Fine Art Society, Rådhusgaten 19

Hypocrisy: the site specificity of morality
Georges Adéagbo, Birgir Andrésson, Olaf Breuning, El Parche,
Marianne Heier, Gunilla Klingberg, Moshekwa Langa, Steve McQueen,
George Osodi, Wilfredo Prieto, Pascale Marthine Tayou
Curators: Stina Högkvist and Koyo Kouoh
Opens 6 p.m.
National Museum – Museum of Contemporary, Bankplassen 4

Beauty and Pleasure in South African Contemporary Art
Dineo Bopape, Andries Botha, Frances Goodman, Kay Hassan, Nicholas Hlobo, Lawrence Lemaoana, Langa Magwa, Senzeni Marasela, Nandipha Mntambo, Ahti Patra Ruga, Berni Searle, Nontsikeleo Veleko
Curator: Selene Wendt
Opens 6 p.m.
Stenersenmuseet, Munkedamsveien 15

Looking Inside Out
Kader Attia, Dora Dhouib, Hala Elkoussy, Mounir Fatmi, Chourouk
Hriech, Bouchra Khalili, Nicène Kossentini, Driss Ouadahi, Younès
Rahmoun, Hans Hamid Rasmussen og Batoul Shimi
Curators: Maaretta Jaukkuri and Cristina Ricupero
Opens 6 p.m.
Kunstnernes Hus,Wergelandsveien 17

Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade
Daniel Garcia Andujar, Hamdi Attia, Bodil Furu, Assefa Gebrekidan, Iman Issa, Mahmoud Khaled, Magnus Monfeldt, Harwood/Wright/Yokokoji
Curators: Bassam El Baroni and Helga-Marie Nordby
Performance by Magnus Monfeldt 8 p.m.
Artist talk 21/02 3 p.m.
Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Lakkegata 55d

Offshore: George Osodi
Public Art Norway (KORO)
6-16 February 5 p.m.-10 a.m. in Vaterlandsparken and in Bjørvika

Africa in Oslo is supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Fritt ord

UKS – Unge Kunstneres Samfund/Young Artists Society
Lakkegata 55d
0187 Oslo
e-mail: <mailto:info@uks.no>info@uks.no
Web: <http://www.uks.no>www.uks.no

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