To mark World AIDS Day on 1 December, Atelier Kunstnerforbundet's resident artist Corentin JPM Leven exhibits his new work “THIS POSTCARD HAS BEEN PRINTED USING HIV POSITIVE BLOOD.” in Kunstnerforbundet.
Kunstnerforbundet wishes to mark World AIDS Day in commemoration of the historical events that have run parallel and intertwined with the many lives that have been part of the institution and the art scene in Norway. The acknowledgement of World AIDS Day at Kunstnerforbundet is co-curated by Håkon Lillegraven and Martina Petrelli of Atelier Kunstnerforbundet.
Corentin JPM Leven's installation in the Skylight hall presents an ordinary printer, printing postcards with the artist's HIV-positive blood during Kunstnerforbundet's opening hours for one day. The postcard's text addresses stigma, labels, and medical information that still shape the life of seropositive people today – both in Norway and internationally. The postcards are free to take by the visitors, as Leven aims to confront the fear and misinformation about the virus.
There is a long tradition of works made by seropositive people using their own blood to confront stigma – and Leven often uses this approach for his work on stage. Postcards, pamphlets, zines and other self-published printed matters have historically played a role in activism and preventive work across countries against the discrimination towards HIV/AIDS.
Corentin JPM Leven (b. 1993) is a French-Norwegian artist living in Oslo. He is trained in scenography at the Norwegian Theatre Academy in Fredrikstad, and later diversified his practice as multidisciplinary after graduating in 2015. Leven's artistic practice merges movement and scenic architecture. In 2020, he debuted as a director and performer with the performance "+-" which had its premiere at Black Box teater in Oslo. Leven's work is deeply connected to the heritage and history of the Queer Community. Drawing on personal experiences, he delves into a number of issues related to LGBTIQA+ identity, the LGBTIQA+ body, LGBTIQA+ society and LGBTIQA+ history. Leven's main focus is to explore the space between memory and monument. He received a work grant in scenography in 2019, and a work grant in acting for 2023-2024, both from Arts and Culture Norway.
Through Atelier Kunstnerforbundet's visiting program, Corentin JPM Leven has been in conversation with Julius Matre, Heidi Dalene, Lars Sture, Ann Mirjam Vaikla, and Ana María Bresciani.
Today, approximately 4,200 people live with HIV in Norway of a total of 7,125 cases since the registration of the diagnosis began in the country. Over 98% of seropositive people currently make use of daily medication that allows them to have no symptoms and prevents the transmission of the virus. With stigma playing a major role amongst a complexity of factors, it is reported that HIV-positive people around the world suffer a lower quality of life than the rest of the population. Globally, it is estimated that 39 million people are currently living with the virus, with a yearly rate of 1.3 million new cases, 43% of these being women. This represents a 38% decrease since 2010, and a 59% decrease from the Global AIDS Crisis peak in 1995. In 2022, 630.000 people died from AIDS-related causes, compared to 2 million in 2004 – the highest number of deaths measured by UNAIDS.