Joar Nango The Festival Exhibition 2020 Due to the critical situation in connection with the coronavirus and the Government’s ongoing measures to limit infection, Bergen Kunsthall has decided to postpone the festival exhibition with Joar Nango to September 2020. In May Nango will contribute to the Bergen International Festival’s official digital programme with a specially produced series of videos on architecture. The series will introduce themes central to the coming exhibition, offer insight into Nango’s working context in Northern Norway and discuss his working methods and theoretical perspectives.

Joar Nango is the Festival Artist of 2020 at Bergen Kunsthall. Nango initially trained as an architect, and his work addresses themes such as indigenous identity and decolonialization, often with a point of departure in the built environment. His artistic production includes site-specific installations, sculpture, photography, architectural structures, social projects, clothing, publications and theory. The works transgress borders between design, architecture, philosophy and visual art.

In the Festival Exhibition, Nango will continue his exploration of Sami architectural history and traditional construction techniques to address wider issues of politics and space. The works in the exhibition will be produced together with collaborators from different artistic or academic backgrounds – often made during the installation process on-site. This involves a political approach which questions normative ideas of what belongs where. In contrast to the regulatory structures of an art system, in which exhibitions are usually planned in detail and produced ahead of the actual event, Nango is interested in a social process of creating places and situations in which possibilities for improvisation, collective action and direct negotiations with the local context become an important part of the project, and start the project in fact often in advance of the exhibition period.

The exhibition will be Nango’s biggest to date and use the whole of Bergen Kunsthall’s galleries with an integrated sculptural installation and architectural elements that activate the spaces in different ways. The architecture will be developed on site and made with materials that Nango collects through different systems of circulation, from recycling stations and found in nature. Some objects will be brought to Bergen over a six-month period, such as a small building that Nango calls girjegumpi. It has been made and stored snowed-in at Jokkmokk, and will be given a new function at Bergen Kunsthall as a theoretical framework for a series of seminars and discussions. The building itself is inspired by the Sami gumpi, a simple herder’s hut with windows facing all points of the compass, mounted on sleigh runners. Nango’s girjegumpi has been made as a nomadic library and in the exhibition forms an architectural construction, a sculpture and a ‘spatialization’ of ideas around indigenous architecture and Sami architectural history – a spatialization of history and theory that is characteristic of Nango’s practice as a whole.

Nango’s van, which was last used in the project European Everything at documenta 14 in 2017, will also be a central element in the Festival Exhibition. The physical infrastructure, and the travel itinerary between Bergen and Tromsø, form a geographical line between two site-specific landing points in the project. For European Everything he drove the same van from Tromsø to Athens – through the length of Europe – in an excursion in which themes of migration, relocation and the nomadic became a concrete experience.

For a large-scale a projection screen, Nango makes use of dried halibut stomachs that are sewn together. The technique, called skievvar in the coastal Sami tradition, is a way of making transparent windows in outhouses and simple buildings. Nango first discovered the technique in old written accounts from the nineteenth century, and the process is a good example of the way he works with the coupling of the linguistic and theoretical with the physical, material, tactile and improvised. Knowledge of indigenous identity is activated both through a research-based contextualization of history and an actual trying-out of craft-based knowledge. Such trying-out is done in direct encounters with contemporary urban situations where the ‘white cube’ of contemporary art constitutes just one of many spaces with which Nango’s art is in constant negotiation. In the Sami tradition, knowledge is maintained and transferred through duodji and craftsmanship. The way people treat and handle their available resources is a central element in this knowledge. In Nango’s projects spaces are made in which various kinds of knowledge are activated and fused together.

The Festival Exhibition
Bergen Kunsthall´s flagship exhibition, established in 1953. Each Summer, we present a large-scale exhibition with new work by a Norwegian artist, in connection with the Bergen International Festival (Festspillene i Bergen). The exhibition is considered the most important solo presentation for a Norwegian artist in their home country and creates a national debate about the state of the art, similarly to the Turner Prize in the UK.

Recent Festival Artists at Bergen Kunsthall include Marianne Heske (1993), Olav Christopher Jenssen (2000), Bjarne Melgaard (2003), AK Dolven (2004), Elmgreen & Dragset (2005), Børre Sæthre (2007), Marianne Heier (2012), Gardar Eide Einarsson (2013), Fredrik Vaerslev (2016), Ane Hjort Guttu (2015), Mari Slaattelid (2019) and Joar Nango (2020) among others.

4 September – 8 November

In parallel with the Festival Exhibition, Bergen Kunsthall present a ‘mini-retrospective’ exhibition by the architecture collective Fellesskapsprosjektet å Fortette Byen (FFB) featuring objects and archive material produced over the past decade. The collective is an ongoing collaborative practice by Joar Nango, together with Håvard Arnhoff and Eystein Talleraas, and was established in 2010. FFB (meaning ‘the collective project for a denser concentration of the city’) works with temporary and event-based projects and installa¬tions in public space. The projects explore the boundaries between the individual’s activity space and the common property of the community. Among FFB’s latest projects is Odelsgut og fantefølge, a much-discussed public artwork in Kvam, Inn¬lan¬det County that includes parts from a ‘muck spreader and copper work made in collaboration with the Romanian coppersmith Lajos Gabor.

Joar Nango:
Post-Capitalist Architecture-TV #1 – 3
Sat 23 May 16:00, Part 1
Mon 25 May 08:00, Part 2
Tue 2 Jun 21:00, Part 3

In May and June Joar Nango presented a three-part TV series on “architecture after the fall of capitalism”. The TV series was made especially for the online streaming format, and contained three new short films, conceptualized and written by Joar Nango and directed by Nango in collaboration with the Sámi filmmaker Ken Are Bongo.

Post-Capitalist Architecture-TV was produced by Bergen Kunsthall and Joar Nango as part of the official festival programme for the Bergen International Festival. The 2020 edition of the festival (May 20 - June 3) could not be held as planned and took place in an alternative online form from 20 May – 3 June.
The TV-series will is available to stream online on Vimeo, and

In connection with the exhibition Bergen Kunsthall is publishing a book with Joar Nango which will provide the first survey of his work, with new texts by Mathias Danbolt, Dimitris Dalakoglou, Candice Hopkins and Sigbjørn Skåden.

An important element in Joar Nango’s exhibition project will be a series of public events with interviews, lectures, films, food and music. A complete programme for the period September – November will be announced later.

Partners, speakers and participating artists include Arkitektforening, Avant Joik (Maja Ratkje, Katarina Barruk, Matti Aikio), Blank Blank, Ken Are Bongo, Maret Ravdna Buljo, Carte Blanche, Cinemateket, Raven Chacon, Mathias Danbolt, Dimitris Dalakoglou, Bergen Festivals, FFB (Joar Nango, Håvard Arnhoff and Eystein Talleraas), Candice Hopkins, Tone Huse, Insomnia, Alexander Rishaug, Katarina Spiik Skum, Stray Dog Productions and others.

The Festival Exhibition 2020 is supported by Kulturrådet, Sametinget, Bergesenstiftelsen, H. Westfal-Larsen og Hustru Anna Westfal-Larsen’s Almen-nyttige Fond, Norske Kunstforeninger.

Bergen Kunsthall is supported by the Department of Culture, Bergen City Council, Vestland County Council, Fritt Ord and Sparebanken Vest.

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