Oslo, the northern European city, has been named one of the top ten cities in Europe to visit by Lonely Planet in 2018 for its ‘innovative architecture and unmissable museums alongside cool bars, bistros, and cafes’ just received a new attraction: the osloBIENNALEN.
Officially opened on May 25, 2019, the first edition of this art event which is not really a biennial because it will last for five years embraces the compact city in Norway. While the construction of the new National Museum is underway (to open in 2020), the City of Oslo, Agency of Cultural Affairs, initiated and financed this first osloBIENNALEN.
Curators Eva Gonzales-Sanchez Badero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk researched and experimented for two years under the OSLO PILOT. The result is this long-term program that takes are in public space in a different direction.
Completely free to the public, it will raise awareness for the arts – and Oslo is no stranger to it as there are more than 20,000 works of art accessible for view and contemplation in city squares, schools, fire stations, garden, and so forth.
The first set of projects at the osloBIENNALEN that was unveiled in May consists of sculptures, concerts, performances, readings, and workshops. They are deliberately set in unusual contexts to attract viewers and bring art closer to those who may previously not have been in contact with it.
Based on democratic and egalitarian ideals are at the heart of the installations and the curation of the project. Oslo’s municipality and its buildings as well as the outdoor space benefit from the increased public interest in professional contemporary art.
For example, ‘The Viewers’, a performance art piece by French artist Carole Douillard, where a group of performance suddenly stand still in one of 11 locations before moving on, draw the attention of the visitors to the fact that Oslo as a city has a lot to offer and has been named one of the European cities with the highest quality of life.
The Northern capital that is a trade hub and lives from the maritime industry is also quite quickly growing with an influx of migrants and immigrants. British artist Ed D’Souza picked up this trend in his art piece ‘Migrant Car’.
The wooden life-size model of a Hindustan Ambassador car which has long been discontinued but is still a popular model in India is painted and decorated with prints of car crashes. It appears in different locations throughout the city. It had particular significance on the opening weekend when it was placed in Oslo’s city center that will soon be car-free.
The osloBIENNALEN will highlight the existing art dynamics of the city and increase the general interest. The second set of projects will be launched in October 2019 and subsequent artworks are planned for the following years.
Source: photos are courtesy of osloBIENNALEN