Fremfor ligger fremtiden

Fremfor ligger fremtiden


Magdalena Kotkowska

Karianne Stensland

Sille Storihle

Erika Stöckel

Nikhil Vettukattil

De Naive


June 2 - July 3, 2022

The exhibition Fremfor ligger fremtiden (Ahead Lies the Future) is a meeting between a newly established studio collective and a 112-year-old art institution. Circulation and cycles, confrontation, power structures, and infrastructure are the mainstays of a complex dialogue between over 729 artworks spanning several decades.

It was a mixture of collective effort, luck, vision, will and a dozen constructive meetings that culminated in what is today the Atelier Kunstnerforbundet (AKF). During the project, 287 m2 was converted from a rental space to a studio collective for artists, a network of art enthusiasts, development programs, and groundbreaking work in the mediation of art. The idea of using the entire building in Kjeld Stubs gate 3 for both dissemination and art production is not new. The intention can be traced back to the initiators of Kunstnerforbundet in 1910. The dream became a reality in 2018.

The artists at the core of the studio program today are Magdalena Kotkowska, Karianne Stensland, Sille Storihle, Erika Stöckel, and Nikhil Vettukattil. In the exhibition Fremfor ligger fremtiden these five artists present sculptural interventions and installations, video works, and drawings that in various ways ask questions about artistic processes and production. The works unfold in the architecture of Kunstnerforbundet and are at the same time forced into the art historical framework that constitutes both the exhibition concept and the institution.

The list of artworks (available in the gallery) describes the resident artists' work, or scroll further down this page.

Read more about their practices here.

Through AKF, Kunstnerforbundet has had the opportunity to carry out an extensive clean-up project which, among other things, has resulted in a collection of old artworks owned by Kunstnerforbundet. The collection, or, rather, the gathering of artworks, consists of lost property, estates of deceased artists, acquired works, and gifts. Over time, these items have been temporarily stored under stairs, in the attic, in cabinets, shelves, and closets. Gradually, the collection has become so large that it goes beyond Kunstnerforbundet’s original mandate and objective: to make space for new art that stimulates engagement and insight into the present. Kunstnerforbundet is not a museum – our task is to mediate and sell contemporary art by living artists.

The collection gives an insight into what was forgotten, filed away, or ended up in an institutional squeeze. The mapping offers a historical perspective on a random and unintentional Norwegian art public. Artist practices and stories that have partly been left out of the art history and forgotten by the present are woven into our stories, as a sudden appeal to the here and now. The material forms a starting point for several various potential readings and interpretations that relate to the role and function of the institution.

When we now choose to present works in the same price category as in the popular ‘100 kroner’ exhibition – a format that emerged in the first year of the existence of Kunstnerforbundet – the intention is that through the exhibition, but also by any sale, the artworks are finally put into circulation after a long period in the until-now hidden collection of Kunstnerforbundet.

The work of mapping and presenting the collection has been a major task for an institution with limited resources. Kunstnerforbundet makes reservations that errors may have occurred in making the list of works. Titles are either taken from the artwork itself or given along the way to keep an overview. Most of the artworks are damaged and several lack a signature and background information. Many works have been returned and others have been preserved. Some works have been donated to other art institutions (please see the list of artworks, available in the gallery) and over 175 pieces have already been sold to public and private collections (see overview at the back of the catalogue). The project has an investigative approach, and we encourage anyone with relevant input to the information that makes up this list of works to get in touch.

In addition to the collection and the resident artists' new productions, the exhibition consists of an extensive project in collaboration with the artist group De Naive. During the first two weeks of the exhibition, the audience is invited to a guided minibus tour where Kunstnerforbundet functions as a tourist office.

Read more about their project here.

Atelier Kunstnerforbundet receives financial support from Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, Talent Norge, and Fritt Ord. The program has also received support from The Relief Fund for Visual Artists, the Arts Council Norway Aspirant Scheme, and the Oslo Municipality's Innovation Scheme.

Read more about Atelier Kunstnerforbundet here.

Magdalena Kotkowska, Impasse (2022)

With the body, impulses, lived life and presence, Magdalena Kotkowska shapes her works. She believes the works are recognizable memories she has not previously encountered. Kotkowska's works are allowed to exist in space, in the same way that she is allowed to exist in space, and by this, the works and the artist follow each other through life. In dialogue with seven sculptures from Kunstnerforbundet’s collection, Kotkowska has created a universe consisting of aluminium, epoxy, steel, and painting on silk.

Magdalena Kotkowska, (b. 1984 Wrocław, Poland). Visual artist living and working in Oslo.

The work is supported by Atelier Kunstnerforbundet.

→ Read more about Magdalena Kotkowska.

Sille Storihle, Gruppekritikken (The Group Crit) (2022)

By means of a LARP (live-action-roleplaying-games) as a method, Sille Storihle invites us into the intimate world of the group critique. With an interest in dynamics and power structures in educational situations, Storihle designed a role-playing game as part of a workshop for students at Nordland School of Art and Film (Nordland Kunst- og Filmhøgskole) in Kabelvåg, Lofoten. The material recorded by students playing as a character has resulted in a film where fictional works of art and artist practices are intertwined with real and universal issues and basic mechanisms of conversation. Storihle's work raises key questions related to how conflicts and agreements can arise. The conversation opens the vulnerable and seemingly random aspects of dialogue and reminds us that the discourse even in close meetings is always culturally conditioned.

Students/actors: Emilie Aagensen, Arjun David Acharya, Ingeborg Augunset, David Haugaard Bohl Andersen, Lise Ulvedahl Carlsen, Rebekka Christophersen, Emil Engesnes, Gustav Oliver Gunvaldsen, Ali H. M. Jabaly, Thomas Lafuente, Haakon Midtsundstad, Simen Anthony Samuelsen, Sanjey Sureshkumar, Amalie Magdalena With Vedelsby, Ellen Vikström.

Length: 72 min

Concept, game design and production: Sille Storihle

Editing: Katrin Ebersohn

Sille Storihle (b. 1985 Tromsø, Norway). Visual artist living and working in Oslo.

The project is supported by Nordland School of Art and Film, Arts Council Norway, Atelier Kunstnerforbundet, and Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale.

Nikhil Vettukattil, Circulation (fluidics 0 gate II) (2022)

Pulsating through the spaces of Kunstnerforbundet, Nikhil Vettukattil's work consists of plastic tubes, mineral oil, and fake blood. Using a circulation pump, the liquid is transported around the exhibition space, sometimes interwoven with existing infrastructure and electrical equipment. The work relates to medical and digital technology, financial flows, illness, hospitalization, and data processing. The title refers to the use of fluid logic as an alternative to the digital technology we use today, where liquid is used for computation instead of electronics.

Nikhil Vettukattil (b. 1990, Bengaluru, India). Visual artist living and working in Oslo.

The work is supported by Atelier Kunstnerforbundet.

→ Read more about Nikhil Vettukattil.

Karianne Stensland

Filmen som ikke har noen tittel (The film that has no title) (2022)

An abandoned barn that was built by my grandfather in Stensland in Steigen in 1962.
A thunderstorm in the summer of 2014.
A storm in the winter of 2022.
Light therapy and conversations with psychologist Janne Ekeberg Amundsen in 2015.
Edited in the eagerness to tie time together.

Skulpturene jeg drømmer om
 (The sculptures I dream of) (2022)

The drawings represent the longing to create large sculptures.
The longing to create the damned masterpiece.

Karianne Stensland (b. 1969, Bodø). Visual artist living and working in Oslo.

The work is supported by Atelier Kunstnerforbundet.

→ Read more about Karianne Stensland.

Erika Stöckel, I'm sculpting like a god (2022)

In the studio, the sculptures are located on floors, shelves and benches. They are added one by one, and I regard them as my family. The shapes relate to the body, but they exist as their own individuals, with new siblings and relatives added.

By chance, I found a 100-year-old book written by a Danish woman who spent a year in the small village my family comes from. The woman lives together with a Sámi family and describes in detail their golden skin, how the sense of smell works, and how the Sámi women move gracefully in the lávvu. I found it absurd to read about a place and culture I know well, described through an external gaze. At the same time, I came across a photo archive from Kiruna with studio portraits of Sámi people, photographed in front of a forest background, often with a wooden log as a prop.

I immersed myself in these thoughts – I had meetings with anthropologists, and read more about the history of photography. The anthropologist and the photographer are colleagues. The idea of the photograph or the academic text as the real. In both of their practices there is a distance, and it is in this distance that there is power, exotification and colonization: the distance between the observer and the object, between the anthropologist's field of study and their notes, between the photographer's camera and their object, between me and Sápmi.

At the same time, I worked in the studio with the sculptures and expanded the family. The sculpture cracks, I drop it on the floor or mash it with my hands. It's frustration and anger. The sculpture is both a representation of a feeling and a result of my own violence.

I ask myself now, who am I in this family constellation. I am an anthropologist, I am a photographer and my field of study is my own family. It is also the distance between me and the sculpture. I sculpt like a god.

Erika Stöckel (b. 1989, Kiruna, Sweden). Visual artist living and working in Oslo.

The project is supported by Atelier Kunstnerforbundet.

→ Read more about Erika Stöckel.

De Naive, Contemporary Tour (2022)

De Naive with Anja Carr, Christopher Helberg and Vilde Tuv.

Contemporary Tour is an extension of De Naive's work with public spaces as performative landscapes. During the first two weeks of the exhibition, De Naive invites the audience for a guided minibus tour, with Kunstnerforbundet functioning as a tourist office. The work allows for parallel meanings - a bus ride, a work of art, a taxi, a pink Popples, a meeting place, a polluter, a confession, and possibly group therapy. Through the tension between the pathetic and the useless, De Naive look for the potential to expose the vulnerable, embarrassing, and profound.

Concept: De Naive - dance artists Harald Beharie, Julie Moviken and Charlott Utzig 

Minibus sculpture design: Visual artist Anja Carr

Composer and musician: Vilde Tuv

Photo and editing: Christopher Helberg

Curators of the discursive program: Louis Schou-Hansen and Inés Belli

Supported by: Arts Council Norway; Scenekunst dans, Visuell kunst, Bestillingsverk, Scenekunstfaglig tiltak, Fond for lyd og bilde. Fond for utøvende kunstnere, Oslo Municipality.

De Naive is an artist group consisting of Harald Beharie, Julie Moviken and Charlott Utzig.

→ Please see the event page for Contemporary Tour with more info about the project, discursive program and tickets.

Impasse (2022) — Magdalena Kotkowska
Impasse (2022) — Magdalena Kotkowska
Impasse (2022) — Magdalena Kotkowska
Impasse (2022) — Magdalena Kotkowska
(fluidics 0 gate II) (2022) — Nikhil Vettukattil
(fluidics 0 gate II) (2022) — Nikhil Vettukattil
(fluidics 0 gate II) (2022) — Nikhil Vettukattil
(fluidics 0 gate II) (2022) — Nikhil Vettukattil
"Filmen som ikke har noen tittel" og "Skulpturene jeg drømmer om" (2022) — Karianne Stensland
"Filmen som ikke har noen tittel" og "Skulpturene jeg drømmer om" (2022) — Karianne Stensland
I'm sculpting like a god (2022) — Erika Stöckel
I'm sculpting like a god (2022) — Erika Stöckel
I'm sculpting like a god (2022) — Erika Stöckel
I'm sculpting like a god (2022) — Erika Stöckel
Gruppekritikken (2022) — Sille Storihle
Gruppekritikken (2022) — Sille Storihle
Gruppekritikken (2022) — Sille Storihle
Gruppekritikken (2022) — Sille Storihle

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