Natalie Hope O’Donnell, Exhibition Complex – from studio to gallery, and everything in between
+ One Work Only: Jon Benjamin Tallerås
at Khartoum Contemporary Art Center
Attempting to answer the question of “why exhibit?” this talk examines different approaches to presenting contemporary art, drawing on the offsite programme Munchmuseet on the Move in Oslo, as well as some of the arguments contained in the PhD thesis Space as Curatorial Practice – the Exhibition as a Spatial Construct (2016), which looked at exhibition at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter curated by Ole Henrik Moe, Harald Szeemann and Sverre Fehn. Aspects covered in the talk include the difference between the space of the studio and the space(s) of exhibiting; staging an exhibition as an act of hospitality; the idea of an on-going programme; mediatory materials, documentation and post-scripts.
Natalie Hope O’Donnell is Senior Curator at the Munch Museum in Oslo, where she curates Munchmuseet on the Move. Her educational background includes a BA in Modern History and Politics from the University of Oxford, an MA Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, and a PhD from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Recent publications include a catalogue text for the Catherine Opie exhibition at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and reviews of the Istanbul and Gothenburg biennials and LIAF for Billedkunst. O’Donnell chairs the Norwegian Association of Curators, and retains an interest in curating as a spatial process, queer performative art practices and the exhibition as a cultural text.
Jon Benjamin Tallerås
One Work Only presenting Jon Benjamin Tallerås
Footnotes is an audio-guide through the urban landscape of eastern Oslo, leading listeners from the Munch Museum at Tøyen to Galleri Oslo in Schweigaards gate. Via his own commentary recorded on-site, Tallerås takes listeners on an intimate tour of some of his favoured spots in the area. Highlighting idiosyncrasies, anecdotes and places used in earlier works, this is a highly personal audio-guide, and one that can be seen as an ode to the city of Oslo.
Tallerås draws attention to the different languages that operate in the urban landscape, some acting as navigational tools for the blind, like the markings at pedestrian crossings and metal plates in the pavement, while others communicate to construction and maintenance workers where a job needs doing. Tallerås’s background from the graffiti scene also enables him to recognise different tags, translating some of the terms that are incomprehensible to most people moving through the city.
Footnotes is also a journey through a soundscape: school pupils singing, kids playing football, someone whistling, old men chatting, sirens wailing. The different cadences, accents and inflections heard on the soundtrack indicate that this is a culturally and linguistically diverse neighbourhood.
The sound piece also acts as a time capsule: a fleeting moment captured on tape. The audio-guide had to be re-recorded several times as the city changed over the summer: suddenly the Galleri GAD shipping containers were gone from outside the Munch Museum, the gate into one of the back gardens was abruptly locked after being open for years, and the local council refurbished the mural at Enerhaugen. The city is constantly being altered, particularly this area, which has been the site of recent gentrification, boosted by the so-called Tøyenløftet, an injection of state and municipal funds over five years in return for the Munch Museum moving from Tøyen. Instead of trying to keep up with the changes, together we decided that the soundtrack should exist as it was. That way, it became a celebration of details that had disappeared from the urban landscape. – Text by Natalie Hope O’Donnell