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Alt du kan bære, Gallery VI, VII

Exhibition title: Alt du kan baere

Artists: Ida Ekblad, Institutt for Degenerert Kunst, Eli Marie Johnsen, Anders Nordby, Klara Semb, Eirik Sæther, Unn Sønju, Arild Tveito

Venue: VI, VII, Oslo

Curated by: Ida Ekblad and Eirik Sæther

Date: April 12 – May 26, 2013

Press Release:

The starting point for this exhibition, organized by Ida Ekblad and Eirik Sæther, was a trip to the folk museum, where the fabric of many folk outfits are weighed down by the increasingly elaborate embellishments that adorn them.. Historically, the more heavy and ornamented they became, the more gorgeous, and so heavily ornamented were they, with silver to ward off evil in some cases, that Drakt, the traditional norwegian word for folk costume or dress, meant “all you can carry at one time.”

The title of this exhibition in contemporary Norwegian means, ‘all you can carry,’ physically, as in, the load that you can walk away with, how much you can stow and carry away with you in your arms; the thief’s spoils, but it can also mean ‘how much you can tolerate’ both physically and emotionally; how much the body can bear before breaking down.

This first part is addressed by Untitled, 2008, Institutt for Degenerert Kunst’s video surveillance of an upscale boutique being robbed by thieves who toss as much merchandise into plastic sacks as possible before being captured; the latter then echoed in multiple eyes (the great eye figure dressed in chains in Skattefuten [The Taxman], 1980 and the many more in Frøya, 1976, a winged twine and wall-hung textile—both by Eli Marie Johnsen [b.1926] that suggest the haunting qualities of existential baggage.

Takeaway texts written by critic Peter Amdam and fashion historian Ida Eritsland, do something to touch upon this. Amdam presents the surplus of life, as a paradox, writing: ‘how to maintain absolute rebellion, absolute life, absolute contempt, and absolute thought when falling?’ while watercolor paintings of weeds by Anders Nordby punctuate the space in serial pastel pinks and greens.

The gallery ceiling is pink for this exhibition, but it always has been; the black soot chimney and all available nooks, hollows, depressions and holes have been examined, and considered as places for carrying more.