The first time I visited the artist Tone Wolff Kalstad at her studio, she described the feeling of coming home to Sogn og Fjordane as a physical experience. Every time she takes the nine-hour bus ride from Oslo, there is a turn at Lærdal where the typical western landscape appears for the first time. She explained that when the bus rounds that turn, her knees start to tingle and the pieces inside of her start to fall into place.
I was in New York in 2012 with a group of artists from Stavanger. When Norwegian artist Margrethe Aanestad became acquainted with the American artist Andrea Ray who lived and worked in a small apartment in Manhattan, they discussed where they found inspiration and what they did when facing a creative block. The solution for Aanestad was to get outside and walk in nature, to climb a hill and look out as far as possible. Ray's counter to this was that if she needed space, she just closed her eyes.
In the summer of 2018, the artist Gunnhild Torgersen introduced me to the small book Les Lieux de Marguerite Duras (The places of Marguerite Duras). The book delves into the role of different places in the life and the art of the author and filmmaker Marguerite Duras. Here, the concept of place unfolds both as something concrete such as a physical location you may have visited, and as a memory that can be awakened through a smell or made visible through art. In the book, Hanne Ørstavik writes in the preface that she thinks that we as humans also serve as places for one another. That a space is created in a relationship between two people, and that this is in fact a specific place of its own.
In the novel Vestlandet, Erlend O. Nødtvedt depicts two friends who embark on a road trip to find "the real Western Norway." At the same time, there is a struggle against the centralized power that will erode the true Western Norway, or more simply "kill Western Norway". An image forms of a Western Norwegian landscape and culture characterized by eternal rainfall and struggle against the elements (as well as against government officials).
The annual Vestlandustillingen exhibition shows artists who are affiliated with Western Norway. They must have been born there, have lived there, or in some other way have a strong relationship that gives them a sense of connection to the place. It made me think about what Western Norway really is and what such an association entails. Starting from the 35 selected artists' works, We Are The Places questions the elements that comprise a place, the relationship between society and place, and how we define them and are defined by them.
The group exhibition will tour Western Norway, following its traditional format. Additionally, seven artists have been invited to produce site-specific works that will be on view only in the locations for which they were created. The exhibition also includes a publication that serves as an expanded viewing space for six of the participating artists and which includes an in-depth essay in which art is woven into a contemporary analysis of Western Norway as both concept and place.
– Curator Marte Danielsen Jølbo, December 2018
Vestlandsutstillingen is an annual touring exhibition, showing new works by artists with a connection to the West Coast of Norway.
Participating artists in 2019, groupshow:
Anette Gellein, Arild Våge Berge, Åse Løvgren & Stine Gonsholt, Aurora Solberg, Gunnhild Torgersen, Hilde Frantzen, Elin Brissman, Ida Madsen Følling, Johanne Hestvold, Kenneth Varpe, Maiken Stene, Margrethe Aanestad, Natasja Askelund, Ole Martin Lund Bø, Per Christian Brown, Roddy Bell, Siv Bugge Vatne, Stian Ådlandsvik, Tor-Finn Malum Fitje, Trond Hugo Haugen, Yngve Mathisen
Site specific works:
Azar Alsharif (Kunsthall Stavanger), Hans Edward Hammonds (Haugesund Billedgalleri),
Ingrid Lønningdal (Kunstgarasjen), Jiska Huizing (all galleries), Lillian Tørlen (Kunstmuseet KUBE), Solveig Landa (Kunsthuset Kabuso), Tone Wolff Kalstad (Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum)
Agnes Btffn, Anna Ihle, Bjørn-Henrik Lybeck, Endre Aalrust, Kent Fonn Skåre, Kristin Velle-George
Marte Danielsen Jølbo
About the curator
Marte Danielsen Jølbo is a curator, writer and editor. She is co-founder of Another Space, a project space and publishing platform for art and architecture that she runs together with architect Nicola Markhus. Jølbo is also co-founder and editor of the web journal Contemporary Art Stavanger (CAS). Jølbo has been the curator of several exhibitions and interdisciplinary art projects, and is the author and editor of a variety of essays and art publications. In 2012 Jølbo received the Curatorial Fellowship from the Stavanger Municipality Culture Department, and she has recently attended curatorial programs such as Curatorial Program for Research: Mexico, OCA’s curatorial residency at ISCP, New York and KORO’s Curatorial practice + public space. Jølbo holds an MA in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication from the University of Copenhagen, and a BA in Comparative Literature.
Vestlandsutstillingen is the oldest regional exhibition in Norway, and was first shown at the Bergen Art Association in 1922. Since its inception, it has existed as a juried group exhibition with open submission. The jury initially consisted of five artists who were chosen by the counties’ artist organizations. However, since 1998, the participating artists are chosen by 1-3 invited curators. The purpose of the exhibition is to arrange an annual showcase of works by artists who are affiliated with Western Norway. The exhibition highlights contemporary art of the highest quality that represents the artistic expression in the region to the rest of the country.