Speaking on Art

The List Magazine
Introducing: Trondheim Open Biennial 2018
The French novelist George Sand once said that “the artist’s vocation is sending light into the human heart”. For this to happen, art must be seen, experienced and, when possible, find its way into personal collections to be treasured. Trondheim Open aims to facilitate those exact opportunities in Trøndelag.

Words – Jennifer Wold
Photos – Kristine Wathne

The art community, for many, is shrouded in mystique. Museums and galleries are the vessels through which most people experience art. Seldom does the public engage with artists in their private creative spaces, but when given the chance it is an enlightening experience into their world and their work.

Since 2011 Trondheim Open has been bringing the Trøndelag community into studio spaces for workshops and viewings, giving greater visibility to projects big and small across various venues. This year’s biennial event is different from past incarnations as it has expanded from a three-day event to ten days of art across the city and region. 

The opportunity to grow as much as they have this year is due largely to exceptional support from the Norwegian Cultural Fund, Trondheim Municipality, Trøndelag county council, The Relief Fund for Visual Artists (BKH) and The Fritt Ord Foundation. “We were able to apply for funding and stipends to support the artists creating installations for the event. This is important to us because this is their work,”  emphasises project leader Thea Meinert. 

Thea and festival coordinator Randi Heitmann Hjort are proud to be seeing how this ambitious programme is coming together. How ambitious is it? “We have four major studio collectives and 14 individual studios participating this year, in addition to many artist-initiated projects which will be presented through the festival,” says Thea proudly. 

Randi quickly estimates the number of artists participating at over 100, welcoming not only their peers but the local public to join in on the exhibitions, workshops, discussions and events surrounding this year’s them of dissemination and art language. She is keen on the start of the event as it will plant the theme in people’s minds to carry forward throughout the ten days. 

“The panel debate at the opening is going to introduce the theme of Dissemination,” reveals Randi. “We’ll discuss art language and how we talk and communicate about art, even when people do not realise they are doing so.” 

Torhid Aukan

Trøndelag’s Centre for Contemporary Art (TSSK) is hosting the festival opening and is sure to be an exciting evening. The full programme is available at trondheimopen.org soon.

Trondheim Open’s headquarters during the festival is at Kjøpmannsgata 36-38, otherwise known as Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst (k.u.k. for short) or Kjøpmannsgata Youth Art Centre. It is the building which the renowned artist Kjell Erik Killi Olsen purchased and is renovating as a way to give back to his home city in the form of brand-new art house. During Trondheim Open it will be filled with exhibitions, presentations of art projects, an art fair, and more. It is sure to be a beautiful edition to the city and one that both women are openly excited about. As for their excitement for the festival, they point out there is a whole team of people building it, and it’s clear there is a lot of passion and determination going into this project.

Anne Mari Hagerup

The diversity inside this festival is not only evident in the locations being used, but in the exhibitions and events themselves. “There is something for everyone to enjoy. We even have the art critics coming because their voices are important too,” Randi acknowledges, knowing that the critics often are left out, and that shouldn’t be so. They add value to the community as a voice of observation which provides more than opinion. They often bring to the art world constructive criticism, history telling, and contextualisation of artists and their work.

Although no one on the team can pick a favourite out of the programme, there are a few events which can highlight some of the range and what can be expected. Artists Arnfinn Killingtveit & Øyvind Brandtsegg are producing an installation called Metaverk which is all about sound. Metaverk is a project by TEKS – Trondheim Electronic Arts and is explained as “An exhibition which consists of several separate audible entities, each with its characteristics and expressions. The sum of these creates a holistic and dynamic sound environment; a kind of abstract sonic fauna whose expression is influenced by all that is around it.” It requires one to participate passively and actively. It is free to attend and will open on during the festival on 1 November, remaining open until 11 November.

Gregus Petter Sutton

At Cinemateket there will be a dinner and film showing by Kantinekino, that will be screening PAARA – A movie by Goutam Ghosh and Jason Havneraas. In their words this is about “A ninety-year-old, absent-minded magician looking back on his life, unable to distinguish between memories of magic and memories of reality.” 

Kantinekino is a screening programme by artists Lena Katrine Sokki and Tobias Liljedahl, which focuses on showing work by young, unestablished artists, accompanying every screening with a meal chosen by the invited artist. There are only 30 seats available, and the tickets which cover the screening and dinner are 200 NOK. Be sure to book your spot early.

There is an exciting space hidden in Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst centre. It is a vaulted cellar, and this was chosen for the exhibition curated by punktet visningsrom. Former and current art history students from NTNU wanted a practical way to use their education to promote talented local, young artists. They knew that they had to keep it manageable and sustainable, and from that the idea to use different locations as hosts venues came to be. In their words “the point of the project focuses on how each exhibition hall participates in shaping the individual artistic expression and thus becomes a point of intersection between theory and practice, contemporary and past, art and place.” The beautiful cellar space should bring a distinct and memorable atmosphere.

With an entire programme filled with gems like these and most days starting at 11:00 and ending at 23:00, there is plenty of time for all interested to participate and support local arts. Trondheim Open, the artists and studios are waiting to welcome you into the vibrant art community of Trøndelag. 

The List Magazine
Gregus Petter Sutton

27 October – 04 November

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