Trude Schjelderup Iversen, Kim West, debate panel and questions

A seminar in the wake of Marianne Heier’s Festival Exhibition. With Marianne Heier, Ingrid Hjertaker, Ranjit Hoskote, Trude Schjelderup Iversen, Kim West.

Venue: Bergen Public Library – the Auditorium

Platform is Bergen Kunsthall’s series of lectures, presentations and debates. This autumn’s series will take place at the Bergen Public Library during the period when Bergen Kunsthall’s own building is being refurbished.

Marianne Heier’s Festival Exhibition “Surplus”, which was concluded in July, had the character of a contribution to a debate, or a call for discussions of themes such as value, criticism and economics. The remains of the trawler Vima were placed outside Bergen Kunsthall. Seeing the installation was unavoi¬dable for all Bergen residents and tourists in the proximity of the idyllic city park in the summer months.

The conspicuous position in public space was an important element in the artist’s wish to appear in a wider public context with an incitement to further discussion at several levels. As a new stage in the dialogic development of the project we present a seminar that looks back on the exhibition and some of the reactions that arose in its wake. The seminar is an attempt to break down the traditional dynamics of the exhibition format, where the exhibition as postulate is answered by public discussion, criticism from the expert milieux and coverage in the media, but where it is rare to return to the exhibition and look at it again in the light of these reactions. To what extent can such a project contribute to public debate beyond the traditional art-critical discourse? What is the potential of art to engage in criticism with the artwork as language, and to make an impact in the larger public forum?

The title of Heier’s exhibition made use of the concept of ‘surplus.’ The complexity of the concept is exploited in the exhibition to shed light on different value systems set up in opposition to one another, and thereby also on the dialectic between scarcity and surplus.

A central element in the exhibition was the story of Vima, a trawler built in 1977, first registered in Bergen, and later sold to Russian owners. When Vima was sent to the breaker’s yard in Trondheim in 2011, she had been seized for illegal fishing and had incurred such large fines that it was no longer profitable to ope¬rate her. The story of Vima shows how an economic logic makes the trawler unseaworthy, while the ship itself should have been refitted for further use. The account doesn’t quite balance.