press release

For many years Sørlandet Art Museum has wanted to create a larger exhibition of contemporary Norwegian drawings. This is because it seems that an ever increasing number of artists are using drawing as a medium, either exclusively, or as one of several media. We dare to claim that the quantity of drawings is matched by a high level of artistic achievement.

One important basis for the exhibition is the museum’s own holdings. In addition, we have loaned works from private individuals, galleries and artists. Several works have never been presented in an art museum before.

Many more artists could have been included in the exhibition; it is simply a matter of being limited by practical realities. Notwithstanding, we believe that the selected artists are amongst those who are creating contemporary Norwegian drawings of critical importance.

Most of the artists are in their thirties, for instance Martin Skauen, Andreas Tellefsen, Trond Hugo Haugen, Ane Graff, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Jan Freuchen and Kim Hiorthøy. It is perhaps also this young generation who has most of all embraced drawing as a medium. A number of more well-established artists are also participating: Bjarne Melgaard, Vanessa Baird, Ole Jørgen Ness, Mette Stausland and Leonard Rickhard. Despite age differences, we believe all these artists’ use of drawing is highly relevant for seeing how contemporary art is developing.

Our ambition has not been to point out various tendencies or directions within contemporary drawing. The artworks we present are too close to our own time for such an approach, moreover, the field seems to be moving in many different directions. It would therefore be far too ambitious a project to ‘map the terrain’ of contemporary Norwegian drawing, yet we hope the exhibition will provide a picture of the breadth and variation within the field. Having said this, we still choose to present different approaches to drawing. Where it has seemed natural, we have chosen to compare works by different artists with regard to formal, conceptual or motif-related similarities, as a structuring element for our public.

In choosing to present contemporary drawers in this way, we have not availed ourselves of any particular art historical backdrop. This can be a project further down the road. Our mode of presentation is due to having encountered a boom in drawing amongst the practitioners of art. Just as interesting is how the drawing media have increasingly captured the attention of art institutions and, not least, the public. This prompts some interesting questions: Why do so many artists choose to draw? Why has drawing apparently gained new relevance in art institutions and in the art public’s eye?

Answers to these questions are legion and their premises are complex. Yet were we to give our own answer, it would have to do with how the wider art scene has developed in recent decades. Much attention has been devoted to costly installations and videos. Perhaps drawing is so warmly welcomed because it represents an alternative to the megalomania which has sporadically dominated the art scene. Perhaps we enjoy standing in front of a little drawing because we can so easily understand what the artist has done, because the scale and technique are fathomable. Perhaps it has to do with a romantic approach to art, for when encountering all these lines, we feel we are actually meeting the artist, not the engineer or the architect.

We will not give any answers, and we hope the exhibition prompts many questions.

Participating Artist’s: Marius Amdam Marit Victoria Wulff Andreassen Sofie Berntsen Vanessa Baird Gardar Eide Einarsson Kristin Evensen Jan Freuchen Espen Friberg Ane Graff Trond Hugo Haugen Kim Hiorthøy Ane Mette Hol Marianne Lund Sverre Malling Bjarne Melgaard Ole Jørgen Ness Hege Nyborg Leonard Rickhard Martin Skauen Kjetil Skøien Kari Stiansen Mette Stausland Andreas Tellefsen

The exhibition is produced by Sørlandet Art Museum.

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Künstler: Marius Amdam, Marit Victoria Wulff Andreassen, Sofie Berntsen, Vanessa Baird, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Kristin Evensen, Jan Freuchen, Espen Friberg, Ane Graff, Trond Hugo Haugen, Kim Hiorthoy, Ane Mette Hol, Marianne Lund, Sverre Malling, Bjarne Melgaard, Ole Jorgen Ness, Hege Nyborg, Leonard Rickhard, Martin Skauen, Kjetil Skoien, Kari Stiansen, Mette Stausland, Andreas Tellefsen