Curatorial statement

Prosjekt 2021

Curatorial statement

 Bilde av kurator Mishi Foltyn. Foto: Per Stian Monsås

Curator Mishi Foltyn. Photo: Per Stian Monsås

Prosjekt 2021 Is an initiative that introduces commissioned temporary public artwork to Trondheim midbtyen in spring-summer 2021. By weaving the experience of locally-produced contemporary art into the everyday, art bridges the distance of these pandemic times. It brings us together, in our own ways, at our own pace, and in our own time. Here, at the very heart of the city, five artworks by six artists using a diverse range of approaches and formats become part of the landscape of our city over the summer; weaving in, through, and between the different ways each of us experience the city. 

These pandemic times have meant we have all had to become more flexible, the cultural community as well. This initiative, headed by NTNU department of health and Trondheim kommune, positions artistic work within the conditions of our immediate environment, the conditions that we all face and navigate within our day to day lives. It takes as its foundational approach the very role of art within our communities – as a space for expression, an invitation for dialogue and exchange, and a way to take part in the experience of our times through multiple forms of expression. It brings us close, creating intimate spaces for collective experience and it pushes our inner thoughts into global movements, patterns, and most of all, change.

But what is art? What does it do? What does it look like? In Prosjekt 2021, it looks like six artists from five different countries from across the globe, each telling their own narrative, forming connections in material across space and time, between you and me, between us. It looks like socially-engaged art that brings together the public and the artist within a specific context, film broadcast over public space or accessed through intimate and personal means, connections to real sites, people and histories. It tells the stories of stones, of soap, of water, and of people. We can imagine what someone might be feeling, looking at, experiencing, over time and in different places. It creates intimate connections and explores what is meaningful to you, to me or to someone we may not even know. It comments on our situation, asking how we make sense of things and what the future will look like. It gives us hope. And it positions us as active players in our future.

Public art has exploded into global contemporary art discourse, especially in how artworks symbolise the values of the times and what role(s) they play within the development of social discourse worldwide. They are, after all, symbols of how we feel, connect to, and approach our lives. The meanings of artworks in public space shift over time. And this conversation is active here as well. Trondheim boasts a large collection of public artwork and Norway a strong national strategy for art in public space. Skulpturlandskap Nordland (curated by Maaretta Jaukkuri) is still one of the brightest shining examples of beautiful and meaningful mediation between art and the environment, featuring some of the world’s – and Norway’s – most prominent artists. 

At Prosjekt 2021, we build resonance: between you, me, us and the world. These works bring to life the experiences of those making them, reaching out to the public as invitations for connection. They access different contexts, conditions, and invite the public to a moment of interaction, of contemplation, that is necessary as we move from what was into a different kind of reality. Their diversity brings us strength. In a world full of different and conflicting experiences, diversity expands our ability to empathise across borders. It allows us to feel, to see, and to think differently. And perhaps this is what is most needed now.

I am proud to present Ana Dunjic, Tobias Liljedahl, Qianhui Qian, Pål Bøyesen, Anne Helga Henning, and Anna Ida Pezzot as Prosjekt 2021’s selected artists. Their works are hopeful yet pointed, site-specific to our Trondheim yet reaching out and connecting to the world. They are critical, adding important voices to the discussion of how we are through artistic media. They occupy our public space and insert themselves in our lives with joy and humour. They give us something special to take part in and ask us to imagine differently the places we know so well. So this summer, on your own terms, alone or with friends, come spend a little time with us.