Welcome to this stream of the conversation between Axel Wieder, director of Bergen Kunsthall, and Joar Nango on the occasion of the opening of the Festival Exhibition.
The Festival Exhibition 2020 at Bergen Kunsthall presents Norwegian-Sámi artist Joar Nango. Initially trained as an architect, Joar Nango constructs his projects as laboratories, investigating traditions and experiences from his cultural background, characterized by flexibility, pragmatism and adaptation to nature. The exhibition is less a finished product than an arena for a social process of creating places and situations with possibilities for improvisation, collective action and direct negotiations with the local context.
Architecture and the built environment are seen in relation to the culture and power dynamics that govern them, and as a starting point for making changes. The exhibition includes several of Nango’s ongoing collaborative projects, such as The Sami Architecture Library (Girjegumpi), a sculpture made out of car parts from his architecture collective FFB’s van, and the Post-Capitalist Architecture TV series, produced in advance of the Festival Exhibtion in collaboration with Ken Are Bongo. The project also includes a series of events, among others: concerts with Avant Joik and Raven Chacon, as well as a performance by Carte Blanche. A new book will be published on the occasion of the exhibition, with contributions by Mathias Danbolt, Dimitris Dalakoglou, Candice Hopkins, Sigbjørn Skåden and Axel Wieder.
The Bergen International Festival Exhibition is one of Norway´s most important exhibitions of contemporary art and is considered the most prestigious exhibition commission for a Norwegian artist in his or her home country. The festival Exhibition has been shown at Bergen Kunsthall since 1953, selected and organised by Bergen Kunsthall.
Joar was born in Alta in 1979 and lives and works in Tromsø. He trained as an architect at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU in Trondheim, Bergen School of Architecture (BAS) in Bergen and Weissensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin. He co-founded the architectural collective Felleskapsprosjektet å Fortette Byen (FFB), together with Eystein Talleraas and Håvard Arnhoff, in 2010, which was nominated by Norsk Form as Young Architects of the Year in 2012. Currently Nango is a faculty member of the Summer Institute, a post-graduate research programme at Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (Canada).
Nango had solo exhibitions at The SAW Gallery (Ottawa), Western Front (Vancouver), Barents Spektakel (with Tanya Busse, Kirkenes), Bildmuseet (with FFB, Umeå), Sámi dáiddaguovddáš / Sámi Centre for contemporary Art SDG (Karasjok), Knipsu (Bergen) and others. He participated in group exhibitions at, among others, OCA – Office for Contemporary Art Norway (Oslo), Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), Dronning Sonjas Kunststall (Oslo), the Natio¬nal Museum – Architecture (Oslo), Sydhavn Station (Copenhagen), Tromsø Kunstforening and the Norwegian Sculpture Biennale 2013 (Oslo). In 2017 he presen¬ted the project “European Everything” at Documenta14 (Athens and Kassel), and in 2018 he was profile artists of the Festival of North Norway. In Norway he has gained attention with his public art project for the Kvam Municipality in Gudbrandsdalen over the past year, developed with the FFB (Fellesskapsprosjektet å Fortette Byen), and concluded in 2019. In collaboration with Tanya Busse, Nango was also one of the artists in the group exhibition “On Circulation” at Bergen Kunsthall in 2018, where they contributed a presentation of their ongoing collaborative project The Nomadic Library.
Axel Wieder, a curator and writer, is the director of Bergen Kunsthall and co-curator of the current Festival Exhibition. Before taking up the position in Bergen he was director of Index – the Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm (2014–2018). He has been Head of Programme and Curator of Exhibitions at Arnolfini Center of Contemporary Arts in Bristol, artistic director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and in 2010 he worked as Visiting Curator at Ludlow 38, Goethe-Institut New York. Wieder studied art history and cultural theory at the University of Cologne and the Humboldt University in Berlin. In 1999 he was one of the founders of the specialized bookshop and presentation platform Pro qm in Berlin. He has held lecturing posts at various universities and art academies, including the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, lectured internationally, and published numerous books and contributions to catalogues, anthologies and magazines, such as Texte zur Kunst, Frieze, Mousse, and Spike.