Kurt Johannessen is this autumn’s first exhibitor in NO.5. For close on thirty years he has worked to extend the avant-garde tradition of the 1960s in art, and has related to more or less existentialist issues by way of performances, land art, video, photography, drawings and textual and visual book formats.

With a quiet simplicity in his artistic expression he challenges the viewer to see his or her surroundings anew. Or as the philo¬sopher Øyvind Kvalnes has put it: “Kurt Johannessen’s art is in Socratic fashion capable of making the individual stop and think. It can counteract the tunnel vision where we are caught in habits and routines that lock us into just one view of existence.”

For the exhibition in NO.5 Johannessen has produced three new video works, and will also be showing a selection of drawings from the project “1-2000 Circles” which was begun on 27th January 1999. Both the videos and the drawings express Johannessen’s distinctive lyrical and minimalistic attitude, inasmuch as the subjects in the works mentioned are associated respectively with blue balloons and small threads that dance in the wind, as well as freehand-drawn pencil circles each of which repre¬sents its own day throughout a period of 5.5 years. In the familiar Johannessen style – and quite in keeping with conceptual art in general – the intentional aspects of the projects are not necessarily given in advance, and it is only in the encounter with the public that the works take form and find their true meaning. As an extension of this, during the exhibition period Johannessen will also present two performances, “Tenth Speech” and “Blue 10”. In addition he will have a hair collection office in connection with his ongoing project “The Hair Collection”, the purpose of which is to collect hairs from as many individuals as possible in the world. The project was begun on 25th March 2009 and will run for a period of seven years.

Johannessen (b. 1960) originally comes from Dale in Hordaland, but lives and works in Bergen. He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, Listaháskóli Íslands, Reykjavik, and Vestlandets Kunstakademi, Bergen. His work has been purchased by among other institutions Bergen Art Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Norwegian Cultural Council. Solo exhibitions in recent years include Galleri Giga, Stord (2008), Bergen Art Museum and Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (both 2007), and he has also participated in a number of group and collective exhibitions in Norway and abroad.

Kurt Johannessen has produced over 150 different performances and held around 400 presentations, both nationally and internationally. During the exhibition period in NO.5 he will mount the following performances:

Sunday 5th September, 12 noon: “Tenth Speech”

Sunday 12th September 12 noon: “Blue 10”

The performances last a minimum of 60 minutes, and visitors can come and go as they like.

Sunday 19th Sept. 12 noon – 5 pm:
“The Hair Collection”
Hair collection office

Kurt Johannessen