Marte Eknæs’ sculpture Air Body (2019) is the first artistic project that is part of the program Kunsthall 2025, where artists are invited to produce new works in response to Kunsthall Stavanger’s building and its Centennial in 2025. In the years leading up to the celebrations, the building is going through multiple renovations, which the artists are also invited to react to.
Air Body has been installed in the staircase leading up to the kunsthall’s attic, which has not been in use since the building opened in 1925. The sculpture, which has been custom-built by a boat fender producer in colors commonly used in safety markings, is meant to evoke thinking around the building as a system or a body. The sculpture is an object with great flexibility; without air it takes up minimal space, and when inflated it pushes into the architecture of the space.
The stairways and other in-between spaces and areas outside of the galleries at Kunsthall Stavanger are decentered vessels that have a functional role shared with the majority of institutional buildings. Eknæs believes that the relationship between the art object, the architecture and the viewer is different in these areas of the building. placing this inflatable object here, she encourages us to experience the stairways in a different way than only as a passage. Air Body asks us to consider the structural choices that make up an art institution, and how they impact us as visitors and viewers.
Air Body is part of Eknæs’ ongoing, transdisciplinary platform Forms of Flexibility (FOF), which will also be the source for a larger site-specific exhibition by Eknæs at Kunsthall Stavanger in the spring of 2020. FOF is a web-based, transdisciplinary initiative founded by Eknæs in response to our contemporary, flexible time. It brings together formal investigations and research from the fields of art, architecture, public space and the natural sphere. During the exhibition, a trailer for Forms of Flexibility will be on view on Kunsthall Stavanger’s website.
The Kunsthall 2025 artistic projects are curated by Assistant Curator Kristina Ketola Bore.
MARTE EKNÆS lives and works in Stange, Norway and Berlin, Germany. Her practice is largely context based, and she often works collaboratively and cross-disciplinary. Exhibitions include Kunsthall Oslo; Between Bridges, London; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn; Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; What Pipeline; Detroit; and Trondheim Kunstmuseum. Some of her recent projects are Materie, a permanent work at Vollebekk skole, commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs, Oslo (2017) and the video People Mover (2017, with Swiss animator and filmmaker Michael Amstad), which has been shown at UKS, Oslo; Grüner Salon / Volksbühne, Berlin; and The Kitchen, New York.
She has an ongoing collaboration with Brazilian artist Nicolau Vergueiro with the acronym M.A.N. They were recently part of Munchmuseet On the Move, with Open 24 Hours (2016-2018) for the construction site of the new Munch Museum, and their curatorial project on the work of late graphic designer Bea Feitler has so far been exhibited at Between Bridges, Berlin (2017); UKS, Oslo (2017); and Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2019). Eknæs’ current projects can be visited at http://formsofflexibility.space/
The artist would like to thank Arts Council Norway, Michael Amstad, Zaza Bircken, Michele Di Menna, Ingrid Halland, Timo Hinze, Oscar Powell, all the contributors to FOF and everyone at Kunsthall Stavanger.