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Oslo Biennale – From private to public

Announcing osloBIENNALEN, the new format for a biennial in public space that will unroll over five years from 2019-2024, starting on May 24, 2019 in Oslo.

by Sukanya Garg May 24, 2019

Art in public space is different than art in a museum. It is free and accessible. It is often unexpected: a performance, a sculpture, a mural, a sound. Its surroundings are constantly changing and evolving. People can love it or react against it, perhaps passing by without even noticing it—or maybe it becomes an iconic symbol of the community.

It is because of this difference that public space demands a different way of working with art and artists. What if the art world moved away from traditional event-based biennials to a more diverse and questioning way of working? The osloBIENNALEN First Edition 2019–2024 aims to do just that and sets out to explore new formats and much more.

osloBIENNALEN team Image Credit: Courtesy of osloBIENNALEN

On May 25, 2019, the osloBIENNALE introduced an evolving programme of art in public space and spheres that will unfold over five years. Over the course of 2019, 26 projects by Oslo, and internationally-based participants will be introduced. The expanding programme for the years ahead will be announced at regular intervals as the biennial moves forward in time.

On the opening weekend, residents and visitors to Oslo were able to experience different projects by: Mikaela Assolent (FR), Benjamin Bardinet (FR), Julien Bismuth (FR), Anna Daniell (NO), Carole Douillard (FR), Ed D’Souza (UK), Mette Edvardsen (NO), Jan Freuchen, Sigurd Tenningen and Jonas Høgli Major (NO), Gaylen Gerber (US), Marianne Heier (NO), Hlynur Hallsson (IS), Michelangelo Miccolis (IT/MX); Mônica Nadorand Bruno Oliveira (BR), Rose Hammer (Dora García (ES), Per-Oskar Leu (NO), Viktoria Durnak(NO), Nora Joung (NO)), Michael Ross (US), Belén Santillán (EC), Øystein Wyller Odden (NO), and Lisa Tan (US/SE).

Mette Edvardsen’s ongoing project 'Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine' which will be part of the biennial’s 2019 opening program, Photo by- Silvano Magnone Image Credit: Dan Mariner, copyright OsloBiennale

On May 26, 2019, an introductory seminar was held to present a series of forthcoming symposia, talks and public programmes. A second set of projects will be launched from October 18, 2019, featuring confirmed works by Adrián Balseca (EC), Marcelo Cidade (BR), Jonas Dahlberg (SE), Edith Dekyndt (BE), Tomáš Džado? (CZ), Javier Izquierdo (EC), Graziela Kunsch (BR), and Knut Åsdam (NO).

Ole G. Slyngstadli, Executive Director, osloBIENNALEN, says: “The City of Oslo has a long-standing tradition of supporting art in public space and it is one of our priorities to find new ways of connecting the arts and the general public. The curatorial vision of this first edition sets the premise for a five-year programme evolving through a series of collaborations with artists and partner organisations, inviting you to rethink and explore Oslo’s public spaces through the production and display of works of art.”

Marianne Heier, 'And Their Spirits Live On', which will be performed at the former Museum for Contemporary Art as part of the biennial’s 2019 opening programme Image Credit: Lia Ronchi copyright OsloBiennalen

osloBIENNALEN is curated by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk, the curatorial team behind OSLO PILOT, a two-year experimental and research-based project that laid the groundwork for the biennial.

As described by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk:“osloBIENNALEN will encompass both new and pre-existing works of art with varying tempos, rhythms and life-spans that go beyond established expectations of what is ephemeral, durational and permanent. Giving time, space and freedom for artists to work, we offer a framework to rethink the parameters of art production, display, collecting and mediation, thereby aiming at influencing cultural policies.”

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About Author

Sukanya Garg

Sukanya Garg

Garg is an artist and writer with a Masters degree in Public Policy from Duke University, USA. She has been involved in research, planning and execution of gallery exhibitions and external projects in collaboration with curators. Her writing has been published in several art magazines, journals and as part of curatorial notes and catalogues, and her work has been showcased in multiple exhibitions.

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