16.06. - 03.08.2014
Curated by Malin Barth
For art to be effective it needs to venture beyond traditional art spaces and interact with other social and political spaces. Be it the Armed Forces, our Parliament, key news media or for that matter North Korea. Contemporary art is usually confined to exclusive venues addressing small and homogenous groups.
Morten Traavik mainly operates in public spaces outside art's traditional venues by creating situations and new formats for contemporary art. He addresses a complex global reality more than posing with action based methods. His art can be described as an intricate network of processes, often in the form of grand social-political investigations spanning several years. New perspectives and approaches to the contemporary, combined with critical questioning and critical reflection ought to always be appreciated. Contemporary art can be an instrumental in reaching this goal as it is consistently in Morten Traavik's art. He highlights disparity and corruption, makes us unpleasantly aware as observers and participants - thereby also making us accomplices. The particular privilege of contemporary art is that it makes no statement but introduces questions and ambiguities. He is not involved in campaigns for public awareness. He makes influential works that spur reflection and discussion.
The exhibition UKUNST (UN-ART) at 3,14 presents mixed genres of comprehensive works, installations, objects, videos and staged works from 2010 to today. New performative works have been introduced in the days leading up to the opening and at the opening. Several of the works have formerly been presented in venues outside of the art circle, imbuing these works with more layers of meaning than what would generally be available within the framework of art institutions.
Traavik belongs to a long and highly respected international art tradition. Exemplified by the introduction of conceptual art and the Fluxus movement during the 1960s and early 1970s, or Traavik's own formative years at the end of the 1990s when socially and politically charged art regained its relevance; particularly with the massive focus it received at Documenta11 in 2002. Artistically Traavik belongs to a tradition with several other highly recognized international artists who apply similar strategies to confront the viewers with a harsh and brutal reality. In many ways his works give references to the Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, famous for his provocative performances like “Paying $60” where illegal immigrants from Africa were paid to bleach their hair as a comment to the demand for assimilation. Or as in the work of Måns Wrange, The Good Rumor Project, a social experiment intended to counteract the most frequent negative consequences of bad reputation by establishing a systematical series of spreading “good” rumors, and tracing their development. There is no lack of examples within contemporary art of calculated shocks and provocations, but approaching the untouchable seems to be a particular unique characteristic in Traavik's oeuvre.
The exhibition title UKUNST (UN-ART) has many levels of understanding. Perhaps most importantly Traavik's exhibition expresses what art critic and curator Lucy Lippard emphasized in 1973: “the most exciting art might still be buried in social energies not yet recognized as art."
MORTEN TRAAVIK (f.l971)is a theatre and film director, artist and writer, with degrees from GITIS Moscow and Dramatiska Instituttet. Stockholm and has directed or played on numerous Norwegian and international theatres. His exhibitions have been shown in many countries, among these in the USA, Russia, North-Korea, Afghanistan and Angola. His groundbreaking projects have been noticed and debated far beyond Norway's borders in projects like Miss Landmine (2008), Pimp My Aid Worker (2010) as well as in a series of cultural co-operations with North-Korean artists and cultural authorities, in 2010 Traavik was the Norwegian Armed Forces' first and only artist-in-residence His literary debut is the travellogue Djevelen er en fallen engel (The Devil is a Fallen Angel) (Aschehoug 2013) and this autumn he plays the character of Chief of Defence in the TV drama Okkupert (Occupied).
- SEPARATISM (2014) Remix of Borderlines (2011-12) Authentic border posts from the Norwegian-Russian (ex-Soviet Union) border. Previously shown in Kirkenes and Oslo, Norway and Murmansk, Russia.
- YES/NO (2010-11) Two Centurion battle tanks of 50 tonnes each, on loan from Sweden’s Museum of Military History. Previously censored in 2010 and then shown in Oslo, Norway the following year.
- THE PROMISED LAND (2012) 226 Norwegian soldiers from Border Guards Regiment South Varanger, 30 civilians from Kirkenes area, North Korean mass gymnastics instructors, images from the Barents region. Previously shown in Kirkenes 2012.
- YES, WE LOVE THIS COUNTRY (2012) Documentary, 48 min. NRK State Television. Director: Vivi Stenberg. English subtitles
- THE HOLY TRINITY (2014) Remix of Body Armour (2010-11) Silicon shell on replica models of AK-47 (Kalashnikov, Soviet/Russia), M-60 machine gun (USA) and Mauser C-96 semi-automatic pistol (Germany). Previously shown in Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden.
- THE WHISTLEBLOWERS (2014) Music video for Laibach. www.laibach.org
- GIFT/SHOP (2014) Mixed media and merchandise. New work.
- UKUNST (2014) Performance: Human billboards, Roma people. New work.
- SEPARATISM (2014) - Authentic border posts from the Norwegian-Russian (ex-Soviet Union) border, installed in “byparken” and "Nordnesparken" from 19.05 - 16.06.14