EXHIBITIONS CURATED BY ERLEND HAMMER
The Parliamentary elections are more important than art.
from In Defence of Eye Candy, Erlend Hammer, 2009
Two years ago Erlend Hammer started to plan a project he wanted to present at Hordaland Art Centre. He wanted to create the impression that he was curating a solo exhibition with a young Norwegian artist, but in reality the access to the exhibition room would be sold to the company Clear Channel for them to display city furniture with advertising.
Curated by Erlend Hammer leaves the exhibition space at Hordaland Art Centre empty. Clear Channel turned down the offer, and Hammer did not wish to make a run-of-the-mill exhibition.
Hammer writes in the accompanying text In Defence of Eye Candy: “The only reason why artists feel the need to take part in the public realm is that this is where the money is.”
It is important to art institutions like Hordaland Art Centre to remind one self and others that we play an active role in how art is communicated, but also produced, in Norway. By supporting projects like this we would like to open up an important discussion. A discussion which up until now has been kept behind closed doors, fearing that by opening up those doors we will pull the financial rug away from underneath our feet.
Further Hammer writes: “The system is constructed so that if we want to do cultural production we are also forced to enter into the system that is created to make sure that cultural production exists. If this happens to be a system that we don’t want to take part in, we are either forced to drop out, or make art that is free to produce.”
Hordaland Art Centre wants to participate in the art field, among other by being good collaborators to our partners. We also want to communicate our production to a wide audience. Just like everyone else in this field we would like to define our own methods and artistic goals. Said with the largest platitude we would like to be masters of our own production.
So, we need to take a closer look at what an art centre is and what position artists have, as well as how we participate in public. For, we must demand participation. What the goal of that participation is, is another discussion. The goal needs to be defined by each and every participant, artist, curator and institution alike.
Curator, writer and art historian Erlend Hammer participates in a variety of ways on the Norwegian contemporary art scene. November 2008 he terminated his art critic career by publishing his Collected Criticisms spanning his three years as an art critic, and curated the exhibition Holiday in Arcadia at Lydgalleriet in Bergen, the gallery he co-founded in 2005. April 2009 he curated the show Bunnies, It Must Be Bunnies at Lautom Contemporary in Oslo, and there are strong indications that he in the future might start his own gallery.