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Featuring the artists Nairy Baghramian, Ane Hjort Guttu and Bojan Sarcevic, the exhibition Looking is Political at Bergen Kunsthall presented three artists who combine a formalist idiom with a critical investigative gaze and political commitment. The three artists are all preoccupied with the categories form, ornamentation and sculpture as tools for the creation of potent visual statements. The exhibition reflected on the idea of ‘looking’, and on how the artistic gaze always involves a potential for telling us something else about the world.
Following the exhibition, Bergen Kunsthall also produced this catalogue, including an essay by the curators Solveig Øvstbø and Steinar Sekkingstad, reflecting upon how Looking is political can be seen as an argument in a discussion of political art. Presenting the work of these three artists together challenged the strong dichotomy between political art and the formalist concept of art. So-called political art is also characterized by a certain political iconography. But the political in an artwork need not exist exclusively at the iconographic level. Art is also political by virtue of the way it constitutes the world and the viewer. The exhibition wanted to contribute to an erasure of this boundary, where one aspect does not preclude the other, but can instead lead to a more liberated, dialectical position where the formal characteristics too have their own political potential.
In addition to the curators’ essay that sheds light on the thoughts behind the exhibition, the catalogue includes illustrations of several artworks by the three artists.
Published by: Bergen Kunsthall, 2009
Editors: Solveig Øvstebø, Steinar Sekkingstad
Artists: Nairy Baghramian, Ane Hjort Guttu, Bojan Sarcevic
Texts: Solveig Øvstebø, Steinar Sekkingstad
Design: Ole Martin Lund Bø
Soft-cover: 21 × 14 cm
Price: EURO 19 / NOK 150