press release

Using an exploratory and playful approach, Norwegian artist Snorre Ytterstad (b. 1969) creates art that is humorous, serious and thought-provoking all at once. Found objects and modified gadgets are common elements in his work. This exhibition presents a broad range of Ytterstad’s creations, focusing in particular on his output from the 2000s. It is one of a series of shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art that look at notable Norwegian contemporary artists. The exhibition presents installations and sculptures.

Snorre Ytterstad’s universe seems at first sight rather mundane and simple, but on closer inspection it reveals a complexity of form and content. Ytterstad often uses everyday objects like ballpoint pens, nails and coins. By placing these familiar objects in unusual contexts, where they are alienated from their intended functions, they emerge in a new light, often producing whole new chains of associations. Ytterstad is fascinated by the range of meanings that language and words can take on depending on the context they appear in. The titles of his works often function on many levels and can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

Seeing the world in a new way, by shifting perspective or presenting it in a slightly new light, is an important aspect of Ytterstad’s work. This is reinforced by the fact that the viewer often has to move around his installations to grasp them in their entirety. Sometimes one even has to go searching for them. Either the everyday objects that Ytterstad presents don’t initially look like works of art, or they are so small and tucked away in such unassuming places that they are hard to spot.

One of the main themes of the exhibition is “space”. Both the physical space – the room – the work is set in, takes possession of, and thereby modifies, or other kinds of space, such as our inner world. Outer space also plays a part in Ytterstad’s world, as illustrated by many of his work titles and his frequent use of the circle as motif. Another crucial aspect of Ytterstad’s work is concealment. He uses wires that are all but invisible and constructs hidden spaces inside his sculptures.

Many of his works have political overtones, and can be read as criticisms of modern society and its capitalist system. He uses familiar symbols, like the Norwegian one-krone coin, to put his message across. In his use of found objects and high quality craftsmanship, Ytterstad can be compared to major Norwegian artists such as Jon Gundersen and Børre Larsen.

Born in Bodø, Snorre Ytterstad now lives and works in Oslo. He trained at Kabelvåg Art College (1990–92), the West Norwegian Art Academy, Bergen (1992–95) and the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo (1995–96). He has had several solo exhibitions including at Bodø Art Society (1994) and Satelliti, Galleria Kari Kenetti, Helsinki (2001). In addition, Ytterstad has participated in numerous group exhibitions including at UKS Biennial, Henie Onstad Art Centre (1998) and “Modellmakerne” (The Model Makers), Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2000).

The exhibition is curated by Randi Godø.

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Snorre Ytterstad
Kurator: Randi Godo